History of Journalism
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Journalism is a wide practice that involves investigation of issues, actions, and events to the audience. The audience is made aware of the situation at hand thus widening its understanding of societal matters. Journalism is a practice that has evolved through the years globally. Various writers have had different views with regard to the history of journalism. For instance, Rodger Streitmatter summarizes all the events relating to journalism as life changing events, which expand and change a person’s perspective. Rodger summarizes all the events as human changing and decision transforming. In addition, he believes that the coverage of such events by journalists is what enables people to learn from their mistakes hence change their perspectives.
America has had many occurrences from the past. The history is related to the development of journalism in the country. One of the crucial events was the revolution that took place in the 1760s. Journalism grew by passing vital information to the domain of the public. People were enlightened on matters relating to the great revolution in America that actually transformed the lives of many (Streitmatter,15). History has been instrumental in the development of journalism from time immemorial. Rodger Streitmatter observes that journalism does not only record such historical events, but also shapes them. He established a closer link between history and journalism. Journalism facilitated the recording of historical events in a chronological manner thus helping change peoples’ perspectives toward different issues (Streitmatter, 18). Concerning this matter, he held that journalism transforms history by only changing peoples’ perspectives in relation to various national issues.
The attainment of the 1776 independence in the USA was because of journalism. The various recordings and new spreading among citizens was a vital contribution to the final attainment of the most coveted independence. Through journalism, the brutal occurrences in 1768 and 1769 were made public and American citizens at that time were made aware of the atrocities committed by the British colonialists. The 1770 Boston killings were openly talked about and reported in the journalistic media at that time. In the book, “Mightier than the Sword”, Rodger Streitmatter asserts that the recordings were vital because they shape the American history. He describes how the colonial government was overtaxing the citizens and how the publication of journals was made to address these issues. In his description of the history relating to independence, he maintains the view that journalism was vital as it contributed to the freedom of the people. He says that the numerous recordings and open speech on the suffering that colonialists imposed on people were vital in opening up the minds of citizens thus the agitation for independence. He sticks to the view that, despite a new nation arising, journalism grew by giving people their required freedom in their own country.
In the description of slavery, he still holds the same view. Journalism widely gave individuals an opportunity to condemn this evil practice. He claims that writing against slavery led to the growth of journalism and helped in the change of attitudes solely. Several other writers agree with Rodger Streitmatter on matters relating to history and journalism. For instance, Anna H. Perrault and Ron Blazek intimate that the revolution in the 1760s substantially contributed to the change in attitudes and perspectives of people relating to various matters. They approach the matter in the same way Steitmatter does, and it is because the revolution contributed significantly to the American History (Perrault and Blazek, 102). In addition, Perrault and Blazek take the same position as Rodger Streitmatter by holding the view that the continuous recordings and direct talking about the sufferings people were undergoing were enough to enlighten the masses and make them realize they had to take an action in order to be on the safe side.
Perrault and Blazek claim that journalism shaped the history of America in 1776 during the independence from Britain. They take the same position as Steimatter by claiming that history changed the peoples’ perspective towards the brutal colonial masters by agitating for independence especially after the Boston killings of 1770 were announced through various recordings and direct talking. History and journalism form a single unit as they support each other. Journalism helps keep an account of the past events hence enabling people to know of the past to better their present (Perrault and Blazek,120). They also change their perspectives and transform into positive beings from the events learned from journalistic materials.
On the other hand, other writers perceive this take on history and journalism as being correct to some extent but too shallow. They claim that journalism has not only enlightened people but has done more. For instance, Jane L Chapman and Nick Nuttal are at variance with the single assertion from Steitmatter. They claim that journalism has promoted to the birth of a new world, has promoted education and has enhanced accountability. They take to a wider perspective of journalism. Although they agree with the part that journalism changes peoples’ perspective, they claim that the process of change has not been stated. They also claim that mere recordings or utterance cannot change an individuals’ mindset. Chapman and Nuttall assert that journalism and history come hand in hand in the creation of a new world and promotion accountability. For instance, on the matter of the American Revolution, they claim that journalism grew and came up to create a new world (Chapman and Nuttall, 100). The revolution taught people lessons thus enabling them form into a new world. In addition, they claim that the revolution in itself was life changing and journalism was the educative tool towards the creation of a new world.
The two also put forward a different argument on the matter relating to the American independence in 1776. They assert that journalism recorded these events in a logical manner that was vital for everyone’s understandability. Their argument further is that journalism opened up a learning opportunity for individuals and braced them for the coming dangers. They claim that it did not only change their perspectives, but it educated them to understand the matter at hand better. The Boston killings in 1770 were educative of the atrocities committed by colonialists who led the country with so much brutality (Chapman and Nuttall,122). These reports helped educate citizens hence create a new country rather than journalism just developing to change their perspectives. They believe that the change of perspectives is an inadequate term to use in describing the relationship between history and journalism. They seek a deeper analysis of journalism and its relationship to the revolution and independence that helped built a new country where everyone is free and able to express his views in a clear manner.
Others against this sole relationship between journalism and history are William David Siloan and Lisa Mullikin Parcell. They incorporate other view in the topic history and journalism. They find the description change of peoples’ perspectives as being inadequate and thus not a full explanation of the view. They come up with their views relating history and growth of journalism to matters such as ethics, and sensitivity within the society. On the matter relating to the history of the US revolution, they emphasize that journalism helped shape up the ethical behavior of leaders. This is because of the fact that there were consistent recordings that demanded transparency and accountability from the new leaders (Sloan and Parcell, 105). The change of perspectives alone could not have helped achieve this accountability and true leadership. They also claim that the historical aspect that was addressed through publications and free speech by journalists enabled individuals to believe that all was possible as they could achieve anything.
With regards to independence, they claim that journalism did not only change peoples’ perspectives, but it enabled them to have the urge for better things in the future (Sloan and Parcell, 115). Citizens learnt that ethics and sensible conduct in the society are what wins favor. This is because they still emerged victorious in the war for independence against Britain in 1776 despite the damage by colonial masters. Journalism has thus developed through historical occurrences by encouraging individuals on better means of dealing with situations at hand. Berry supports the view that journalism has indeed grown from the historical events and holds and educative role to date (Berry, 100).
In conclusion, history and journalism in America have complemented each other from time immemorial. Journalism has grown due to various historical occurrences in the US. Rodger Streitmatter has linked history and journalism in his book to explain that journalism helps change people’s perspectives to achieve better living. The sweeping historical transformations that led to the strengthening of journalism in America included slavery, the American Revolution and independence in 1776. Various authors have supported Streitmatter that journalism has only changed the perspectives of individuals in relation to these historical events. They hold the view that journalism has grown through the historical happenings by informing individuals on matters such as ethics, accountability and sensitivity. Journalism has indeed grown over the years through and the independence of journalists has improved through fairer reporting. The recordings made through journalism helped in awakening leaders to achieve the required levels of accountability and quality leadership by reading people’s feelings as expressed through journalistic articles.
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