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October 10, 2005

Understanding the three major forms of journalism (Chapter 6)

Journalism is broken down into to three major forms in The Elements of Journalism. The forms are original investigative reporting, interpretative reporting, and reporting on investigations. Although these forms may appear similar, they are different.

In the book original investigative journalism is defined as journalism that "involves reporters themselves uncovering and documenting activities that have been previously unknown to the public." This is an example of the press being a "watchdog" protecting the public. I am a normal citizen with no political or large corporation connections. I depend on journalists, who have the means to find the information, to keep me informed on higher institutions.

After reading the example of the man who posed as a Ku Klux Klan member to investigate, I thought of Morgan Spurlock who visited Seton Hill last week. Spurlock directs and stars in the show 30 days, in which he lives lifestyles different from his own. Based on these thirty days he informs the public of how it is being a member of a certain gender, religion, economic group, etc. Spurlock is doing a type of original investigative reporting.

The second form of journalism is interpretative reporting. Chris Ulicne gives an excellent reflection on this type of jouranlism on his blog. The difference between this form and the prior one is that interpretive reporting is continuation of the former. In the first the reporting is original, but in interpretive reporting the original report is expanded upon or made more comprehensive and complete. I think the comments we post on others blogs could be an example of this. As a commenter we look at the article or information formed by another person, and then we look into the issue and provide more detailed resources or research.

Finally, is reporting on investigations. This form of reporting refers to journalists who report on "the discovery or leak of information from an official investigation already under way or in preparation by others, usually government agencies." I believe one example of this would be the President making a statement on television about something that happened, and then a journalist looks into what the President said and creates a more comprehensive report about it.

Posted by JennaOBrocto at October 10, 2005 4:35 PM


You forgot my favorite form of journalism... yellow journalism. Aw, it's swell. Back when I was a reporter, we used to have a saying: "When someone gives us lemons, we make yellow journalism." Feel free to use that. It looks great on bumper stickers.

Posted by: Michael Dell at October 11, 2005 3:19 AM

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