Journalism genres

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The term "journalism genres" refers to various journalism styles, fields or separate genres, in writing accounts of events.

Newspapers and periodicals often contain features (see Feature style) written by journalists, many of whom specialize in this form of in-depth journalistic writing.

Feature articles are usually longer forms of writing; more attention is paid to style than in straight news reports. They are often combined with photographs, drawings or other "art." They may also be highlighted by typographic effects or colors.

Writing features can be more demanding than writing straight news stories, because while a journalist must apply the same amount of effort to accurately gather and report the facts of the story, he or she must also find a creative and interesting way to write it. The lead (or first two paragraphs of the story; see Nut graph) must grab the reader's attention and yet accurately embody the ideas of the article.

In the last half of the 20th Century, the line between straight news reporting and feature writing became blurred. Journalists and publications today experiment with different approaches to writing. Tom Wolfe, Gay Talese, Hunter S. Thompson are some of these examples. Urban and alternative weekly newspapers go even further in blurring the distinction, and many magazines include more features than straight news.

Some television news shows experimented with alternative formats, and many TV shows that claimed to be news shows were not considered as such by traditional critics, because their content and methods do not adhere to accepted journalistic standards. National Public Radio, on the other hand, is considered a good example of mixing straight news reporting, features, and combinations of the two, usually meeting standards of high quality. Other US public radio news organizations have achieved similar results. A majority of newspapers still maintain a clear distinction between news and features, as do most television and radio news organizations.

Ambush journalism[edit]

Ambush journalism refers to aggressive tactics practiced by journalists to suddenly confront and question people who otherwise do not wish to speak to a journalist. The practice has particularly been applied by television journalists, on news shows like The O'Reilly Factor [1] and 60 Minutes[citation needed] and by Geraldo Rivera and other local television reporters conducting investigations.

The practice has been sharply criticized by journalists and others as being highly unethical and sensational, while others defend it as the only way to attempt to provide those subject to it an opportunity to comment for a report. This can usually be discerned by the level of physical aggression the journalist displays and in the time allowed for an uninterrupted answer.

Celebrity or people journalism[edit]

Another area of journalism that grew in stature in the 20th Century is 'celebrity' or 'people' journalism, which focuses on the personal lives of people, primarily celebrities, including movie and stage actors, musical artists, models and photographers, other notable people in the entertainment industry, as well as people who seek attention, such as politicians, and people thrust into the attention of the public, such as people who do something newsworthy.

Once the province of newspaper gossip columnists and gossip magazines, celebrity journalism has become the focus of national tabloid newspapers like the National Enquirer, magazines like People and Us Weekly, syndicated television shows like Entertainment Tonight, Inside Edition, The Insider, Access Hollywood, and Extra, cable networks like E!, A&E Network and The Biography Channel, and numerous other television productions and thousands of websites. Most other news media provide some coverage of celebrities and people.

In recent years, the media has reported on members of various Royal Families in much the same way as it reports on celebrities, though not always the same as actors or politicians. News coverage of Royalty has been more focused on glimpses of the lives of members of Royal Families. Sources that report on Royalty this way include The Telegraph, The Daily Mail—and publications that report exclusively on royalty, such as Royal Central.

Celebrity journalism differs from feature writing, in that it focuses on people who are either already famous or are especially attractive—and often covers celebrities obsessively, to the point of using unethical behavior to provide coverage. Paparazzi, photographers who follow celebrities incessantly to obtain potentially embarrassing photographs, have come to characterize celebrity journalism.


Main article: Churnalism

Churnalism is a form of journalism that is a combination of articles from press releases, wire stories and other unoriginal material.

Convergence journalism[edit]

An emerging form of journalism, which combines different forms of journalism, such as print, photographic and video, into one piece or group of pieces. Convergence journalism can be found in the likes of CNN and many other news sites.

Gonzo journalism[edit]

Main article: Gonzo journalism

Gonzo journalism is a type of journalism popularized by the American writer Hunter S. Thompson, author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 and The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved, among other stories and books. Gonzo journalism is characterized by its punchy style, rough language, and ostensible disregard for conventional journalistic writing forms and customs. More importantly, the traditional objectivity of the journalist is given up through immersion into the story itself, as in New Journalism, and the reportage is taken from a first-hand, participatory perspective, sometimes using an author surrogate such as Thompson's Raoul Duke. Gonzo journalism attempts to present a multi-disciplinary perspective on a particular story, drawing from popular culture, sports, political, philosophical and literary sources. Gonzo journalism has been styled eclectic or untraditional. It remains a feature of popular magazines such as Rolling Stone magazine. It has a good deal in common with new journalism and on-line journalism (see above). A modern example of gonzo journalism would be Robert Young Pelton in his "The World's Most Dangerous Places" series for or Kevin Sites in the Yahoo sponsored series on war zones called "In The Hot Zone"

Investigative journalism[edit]

Investigative journalism is a primary source of information.[2][3][4][5] Investigative journalism often focuses on investigating and exposing unethical, immoral, and illegal behavior by individuals, businesses and government agencies, can be complicated, time-consuming and expensive—requiring teams of journalists, months of research, interviews (sometimes repeated interviews) with numerous people, long-distance travel, computers to analyze public-record databases, or use of the company's legal staff to secure documents under freedom of information laws.

Because of its high costs and inherently confrontational nature, this kind of reporting is often the first to suffer from budget cutbacks or interference from outside the news department. Investigative reporting done poorly can also expose journalists and media organizations to negative reaction from the subjects of investigations and the public, and accusations of gotcha journalism. When conducted correctly it can bring the attention of the public and government to problems and conditions that the public deem must be addressed, and can win awards and recognition to the journalists involved and the media outlet that did the reporting.

New journalism[edit]

Main article: New Journalism

New Journalism was the name given to a style of 1960s and 1970s news writing and journalism that used literary techniques deemed unconventional at the time. The term was codified with its current meaning by Tom Wolfe in a 1973 collection of journalism articles.

It is typified by using certain devices of literary fiction, such as conversational speech, first-person point of view, recording everyday details and telling the story using scenes. Though it seems undisciplined at first, new journalism maintains elements of reporting including strict adherence to factual accuracy and the writer being the primary source. To get "inside the head" of a character, the journalist asks the subject what they were thinking or how they felt.

Because of its unorthodox style, new journalism is typically employed in feature writing or book-length reporting projects.

Many new journalists are also writers of fiction and prose. In addition to Wolfe, writers whose work has fallen under the title "new journalism" include Norman Mailer, Hunter S. Thompson, Joan Didion, Truman Capote, George Plimpton and Gay Talese.

Science journalism[edit]

Main article: Science journalism

Science journalists must understand and interpret very detailed, technical and sometimes jargon-laden information and render it into interesting reports that are comprehensible to consumers of news media.

Scientific journalists also must choose which developments in science merit news coverage, as well as cover disputes within the scientific community with a balance of fairness to both sides but also with a devotion to the facts. Science journalism has frequently been criticized for exaggerating the degree of dissent within the scientific community on topics such as global warming,[6] and for conveying speculation as fact.[7]

Sports journalism[edit]

Main article: Sports journalism

Sports covers many aspects of human athletic competition, and is an integral part of most journalism products, including newspapers, magazines, and radio and television news broadcasts. While some critics don't consider sports journalism true journalism, the prominence of sports in Western culture has justified the attention of journalists to not just the competitive events in sports, but also to athletes and the business of sports.

Sports journalism in the United States has traditionally been written in a looser, more creative and more opinionated tone than traditional journalistic writing; the emphasis on accuracy and underlying fairness is still a part of sports journalism. An emphasis on the accurate description of the statistical performances of athletes is also an important part of sports journalism.

Other genres[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "What are primary sources?". Yale Collections Collaborative Project. © 2008 Yale University. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  3. ^ Seward; Outreach editor at The Wall Street Journal, Zachary M. "DocumentCloud adds impressive list of investigative-journalism outfits". Project news. Harvard's Nieman Journalism Lab. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  4. ^ Aucoin, James. "The evolution of American investigative journalism". Academic work (Columbia, Mo. : University of Missouri Press, c2005). Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  5. ^ "Story-based inquiry; a manual for investigative journalists". Manual. UNESCO Publishing. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
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  7. ^

I studied all of this from an usborne book