Introduction to Journalism

Textbook, 2018

45 Pages



Preface and Acknowledgments

About the Author

Understanding Journalism
Medium Journalism
What is Journalism Language
Review Questions

Understanding the Press
Visual Press Elements
Review Questions

What is News?
Straight News
News Variety
News Construction
News Elements
News Search Techniques
News framing
Review Questions

What is Interview?
Interview guidelines
What is Off the Record?
Conventional Ethics
Statistics Interpretation
Review Questions


Preface and Acknowledgments

I present this book to students as future journalists and future practitioners in various fields of work. Basically, the whole field of work requires the science and skills of journalism so that the audience, consumers, clients, feel interested and confident about what we serve through the writing and help us achieve the goal. Written communication using grammar based on rules journalism could avoid misunderstanding in communication. This book uses Jurnalistik, Pendekatan Teori dan Praktek by Asep Saeful Muhtadi as main reference and other books as supported references.

Special thanks go to my students, Suzuki Magetan, Grin Verlag, Annabel Reib, Daniel Olbrich, Patrick Hammer, chief editor of Radar Bojonegoro newspaper Anas Abdul G who assists journalistic guidance on my journalism work, in particular Suko Puji Laksono, great lecturers in Program Studi Komunikasi Universitas Merdeka Madiun: Maria Magdalena Widiantari, Nunik Hariyani, Fikri Hassan. Kindness & warmth of my families: Sutono’s family and Sumiyanto’s family. They have always supported my work in ways.

May be useful


The purpose of this part:

1. Students as future journalists are able to describe the definition of journalism, the medium of journalism, and what is the language of journalism?

2. Students as future journalists could make examples or cases from discussion part 1

Understanding Journalism

The practice of news delivery has been around since few years ago, for example in Indonesia there was kentongan used as a tool for sending news. The different sound of kentongan is a sign, depending on the delivered news, whether the news of grief, theft, flood, etc. The alerts meant the messages delivered to the public were not to be confused with other messages. With the development of tapping and science, the current delivery of news to the public using notes in the form of journalism activities.

Journalism according to Carey (1989) is a form of communication to transmit information to the public (Plapper, 2007). Journalism means daily. The word journal comes from French: journal is diary. Therefore, etymologically, journalism is a work of art in terms of making notes about everyday events, works of beauty that could attract the attention of audiences so that it could be enjoyed and utilized for the necessities of life. Journalism is an attempt to get everyone to know what is unknown. Messages about events / events occur every day that is processed into news and presented to the public is journalism. Journalism by Weiner (1990) in Ana Nadya Abrar (2005) is the whole process of collecting facts of writing, editing, and broadcasting news (Mulyadi, Nadi & Asti Musman, 2013).

Journalism could also be derived from the term diurnarius or diurnarii meaning people who seek and cultivate (quote and reproduce) information to be sold to anyone in need. Understanding journalism is the skill or artwork of journalists, in the sense of seeking (information), selecting and collecting (news material), and process (arrange) news script to meet the needs of audiences (Suhandang, 2010). According to Dahlgren (2001), thereby, journalistic work is to report stories that tell accurately and impartially about reality that exits independently from these stories and outside of the journalistic institutions (Plapper, 2007). The process of journalism is to seek, collect, select, and process information containing news value, and presents to the audience through periodic mass media, both print and electronic (Rohmadi, 2011).

Principles of journalism include: journalistic truth or the process of collecting and verifying data. Journalists deliver meaning in a fair and reliable and transparent report; loyalty to society means journalists provide news without fear and favor and maintain community loyalty and public interest; discipline to verify by looking for witnesses, sources, to be objective; have freedom from the source of freedom of the soul and thought are : an honest source, has the ability to deliver information and do not loyal to a particular group; serving as a free observer of power and emphasizing the importance of being a watchdog; provide forum for comments and criticism from the public; trying to make the important thing interesting and relevant; keeping the news proportional and comprehensive; have a sense of ethics and responsibility as a moral compass.

We need to know the variety of journalism around us (Mulyadi, Nadi & Asti Musman, 2013) for example: journalism audiences could be seen from segmentation, whether women, men, children. Differences of audience would be different Language used; ideological journalism is a journalism that does not care about who the audience is, but emphasizes the ideology or vision of the mission; participatory journalism is undertaken at the initiative of a society that does not have a journalist profession, participatory journalism is valued because the media generally prefer to dramatize events and the media is often caught up in the doctrine of "names make news"; literary journalism is a writing that combines reportage and literary style writing so as to attract the attention of audiences; investigative journalism has elements: exposing a crime in the public interest or other harmful actions, widespread case scale, answering all important questions, exposing the actor and evidence, the public could understand the complexity of the reported problem and be able to make a decision or changes based on that report. Investigation into journalism would be committed to flesh out appropriations of law, justice, accountability, transparency, and democracy; prophetic journalism is a form of journalism that provides clues to change based on ethical and prophetic moral ideals and ideals based on ethics, e.g. secular news; corporate journalism preaches the work culture of the company or relates to events in the company; partisan journalism takes sides with certain parties, such as admiring and giving a lot of praise to certain parties; journalism multicultural perspective has multiculturalism and pluralism used to view the reality to be constructed, processed into news. through multiculturalism journalism would create harmonious society, peace, tolerance; peace journalism about the benefits of violence in a conflict and the wisdom of conflict, and its coverage is people oriented. Journalism is more concerned with empathic victims of conflict than the conflict process; journalists in disaster journalism are thinking about how to get to the disaster site, conduct interviews, and get exclusive pictures or videos. However, it often results in the loss of humanitarian instinct of journalists; yellow journalism is exploiting something to grab the attention and interest of audiences evoke emotions without being given the facts. Headline titles and news content presented in excessive even tend to make controversy, especially on pictures or video. Multimedia journalism distributes and presents information through the computer by utilizing sound, animation, video, text, images, etc. Linear multimedia e.g. television, active and linear content, the process of delivering information without navigation controls to the audience. Non-linear multimedia e.g. computer games, offering user interactivity in controlling the process of delivering information; online journalism is the process of delivering information using internet media; independent journalism is an impartial process of preaching to the group or a certain group (cover both side), so that the public gets correct information so as not to form sentiment on the community; political journalism according to Russert and Kovach (2001) is aimed at placing the interests of the ruling party in order to remain correlated and responsible answer to public interest and explain to voters how to relate expectations when exercising their rights as citizens and what to do by the government. Journalism ngejazz is the knowledge of journalism on the sensation of a trend in society with light and popular language; adversary journalism is journalism in opposition to government; journalism checkbooks is journalism that always provides a high cost to pay for the source; alcohol journalism is a journalism that emphasizes news content; crusade journalism is a journalism that has a mission to achieve group goals; journalism of communism-etatism i.e. kamerad journalism means all friends if they are friends and enemies if they are enemies; Islamic journalism almost similar to crusade journalism but based on the tradition of Islamic preaching; liberal journalism refers to US democracy.

Medium Journalism

Mass media has functions such as broadcasting information as its main function because the community uses mass media to meet information needs; presenting a message of knowledge is an educational function; and entertaining, presents a message of entertainment that aims to offset hard news; and influencing functions play an important role in people's lives. The role of the mass media becomes important because of the wide coverage in disseminating information, multiplier of message, media could make the discourse of a political event according to their respective views, and the agenda setting function owned by the mass media (Rohmadi, 2011). According to Dye and Zeigler, the main function of mass media is news making, mass media observes and reports events; interpretation, the media would analyze and assess the events; socialization, the mass media seeks to indoctrinate the audience in connection with the prevailing values; persuasion, mass media would seek to influence audiences; and agenda setting, the mass media determines anything related to important issues, defines the problem, and submitted trouble shooting suggestions.

Writing news in print and electronic media is the process of uncovering the facts in writing, then printed and published in print media or electronic media broadcast. Print and electronic media have different characters and properties so complement each other. According to Baschwitz (1946) and Wahyudi (1986), publicity means could be disseminated to the public; universality which means the content of the message is general, could be read, heard, seen by anyone; periodicity, could be presented to audiences periodically or permanently, continuity means news which broadcast on an ongoing basis until the news is no longer considered important and interesting.

Mass media and electronic media use different approaches to the messaging strategy which would be delivered to audiences, depending on the characteristics of the media itself. On electronic media, the message received by audiences only a glance, the audience must always be in front of electronic media. The broadcast message is arranged in a formulation that is easily accepted by the audience by using simple language and logic so easily understood when the message is received. Messages which difficult to understand by the public could not be repeated because changed other messages. Electronic media has low persuasion power. Messages delivered could be consumed by everyone including the illiterate. The writing of electronic media texts is directed to a plurality of audiences, for the writer in print media should be able to capture the interest and imagination of the audience, words and pictures have a purpose, understand the interest and attention of the audience. Even script writers on radio should be able to create written illustrations and construct a picture of facts, sound effects, music, and dialogue. Writing on radio is specific and able to make the atmosphere into the form of sound and dialogue. The writer on the television should be able to consider what the program looks like, how long the broadcast produces for each show, etc. The factors that should be considered in determining the quality of television news according to Soewardi Idris (1987) is to use the language of short and simple news, directly addressed to the audience, not using foreign terms, avoid inverted sentence; news movie is the main element makes the news interesting and alive. Silent film is equipped with a script containing an explanation of the event in accordance with the series of movies that would be read by readers, while sound on film is not equipped with sounds and words that explain the contents of the movie because it is recorded automatically. Cameramen on silent films and sound on films are required to record events and be used to edit movies and to compile the completeness of the manuscripts and comments; news scripting movie should be previewed so as not soon forgotten by audiences. Scriptwriting is done in the following ways: first, synchronized scripting, i.e. matching text and drawings, usually used for writing long live news scripts and depicting dramatic acts or deeds. Second, the way blocked scripting is the way without matching posts and images, the script only describes the background behind events and information in general.

In the print media, messages received by the audience could be reviewed and studied and saved for reading back every time. Messages are organized more sophisticated, scientific, in higher Language and logic, the reader could grasp the message slowly. Magazines could reveal events which the newspaper does not reveal in depth although unpublished every day. Print media is still in demand by the community because every medium has different characteristics. Print media news writing using 5W +1H formulas (who, what, when, where, why, and how). The formulation is a reference for authors to write interesting and interested public audiences. Magazine news articles highlight the selection of the information section, the overall content of the news by emphasizing the question of why and how. On the investigation news why and how are not revealed newspaper news. In the headline, the journalist must make sure that the headline should include the 5W+1H formulation answer, since the headline should help audiences who do not have much time to deal with the media.

What is Journalism Language

The language of journalism is a mass communication language that has short, dense, simple, attractive, smooth, clear, democratic, populist, logical, grammatical, avoids informal and foreign sentences, precise diction, denotes use of active sentences, avoids technical word and obedient to ethics. According to Kurniawan (1997) the language of journalism is the language used by journalists in writing journalism, such as newspapers, magazines, tabloids, bulletins, etc. (Rohmadi, 2011). The language of journalism should be short, solid, straightforward, interesting, fluent, and clear, and obey the rules, the social norms that have been determined.

The language of journalism has a characteristic than scientific language because it has different characters based on the type of writing to be published. The language for writing investigative reportage is more thorough than Language to write features. The language for writing headline is different from Language for feature writing. Speaking in written and spoken language should avoid ambiguous because it could lead to misunderstandings and cause disputes.

Writing news must use careful language to avoid ambiguity and other errors. In frequent journal deviations or language errors include: morphological aberrations often occur in titles that use active sentences, i.e. the use of a prefix or prefix verb is omitted; syntax errors in the form of grammatical errors or sentence structure caused by bad logic; vocabulary errors are often done for reasons of euphemism or minimizing the adverse effects of news; spelling mistakes are often found in print and often unintentionally; beheading errors generally caused by computer programs using English.

The use of good journalism language is seen from a good paragraph arrangement, meaning that the development of the paragraph must be complete and show unity in its content. Paragraphs become imperfect because insertion is not related to the topic sentence or main idea. For that the author must remark to the linkage of pronouns and parallel ideas written in sentence parallel.


Journalism is a form of communication to transmit information to the public. Understanding journalism is the skill or artwork of journalists, in the sense of seeking (information), selecting and collecting (news material), and process (arrange) news script to meet the needs of audiences. Mass media has functions such as broadcasting information, educational function; and entertaining. Writing news in print and electronic media is the process of uncovering the facts in writing, then printed and published in print media or electronic media broadcast.

The language of journalism is a mass communication language that has short, dense, simple, attractive, smooth, clear, democratic, populist, logical, grammatical, avoids informal and foreign sentences, precise diction, denotes use of active sentences, avoids technical word and obedient to ethics.

Review Questions

1. Describe the definition of journalism!

2. Mention the function of mass media. Then make examples of programs on electronic media or news on the print media on each function.

3. Find an article in print. Then analyze the Language in the article. Is there a Language error / deviation? If so, explain!


The purpose of this chapter:

1. Students as future journalists are able to explain the definition of the press and the elements of the visual press.

2. Students as future journalists could make examples or cases from discussion part. 2.

Understanding the Press

Many people say the press as journalism or journalism is the press, even more familiar the term press than journalism. The press refers to broadcasting equipment, derived from the word press, meaning printing or printing press, where the printing press is used to publish newspapers. Press means printing, printed publications. There are two general definition of the press, the narrow sense, namely the newspaper; both of which are broadly defined, i.e. community institutions that run journalism activities. The press first was limited to publications in print, but now the broader sense of the press includes electronic media and publishing. John C. Merril (1991) reveals that the press is seen as a force capable of affecting society. The press is the content of human interaction and the expression of various kinds of think, events, and all the problems which following.

The press has a close relationship to journalism, the press as a medium of mass communication media would not be useful if the message presented away from the principles of journalism. The work of journalism would also not be useful if it is not delivered by the press as the medium. The press is one of the social powers that exercise free and responsible control both for society and for other social forces. There are five prerequisites for a free and accountable press to the public according to the Hutchins Commission (Mulyadi, Nadi & Asti Musman, 2013) : the media must present a credible, complete, intelligent daily event in a meaningful context, the media should serve as a forum for commentary exchange and criticism, the media must project a picture that truly represents the constituent group in society, the media must present and explain the goals and values ​​of society, the media must provide full access to the hidden information one day.

The purpose of the press (Muhtadi, 1999) are for the reader to know the news; change public behavior through ideas in editorial, interpretative reporting, etc. Editorial and interpretative reporting could influence the reader because the writing is positive subjective for the benefit of society; improve the intellectual quality of the reader directly or indirectly.

According to Schramm (1954), in the life of society, the press has an informative and interpretative function of events occurring in life, as an instrument of everyday life, as an entertainer, a tool for maintaining social prestige, and as an inner liaison understanding to sustain life where moral size continues to grow. Function the press according to Hout (1947) are education, illumination, and commentary (Suhandang, 2010). Education function. Media is an effective channel for social, political, moral, and other massive means of life. In playing the function, the mass media in particular presents the space of science to increase the knowledge of the audience. The function of education is to emphasize, because the audience would already have the preparation to receive the broadcast. The press disseminates knowledge about progress in the field of life and audiences would evolve to the level of expected intelligence. Increasing knowledge, then the audience feel the addition of the necessities of life. The press is considered very important inside increase knowledge. The press serves the needs of society for information. Because people have a lot of information needs, the press always try to present something related to life. Audiences need to be informed of everything on earth as the occurrence of major events, the social realities, the ideas and the minds of people being the talker, the hot issue, etc. The function of information is information includes news, information or additional description of general events that are absolutely necessary to know the public. According to Rochady (1970) the press as a function of lighting is divided into four kinds of work: educational work, interconnection human, helping to shape public opinion, and as a control tool that could prevent unexpected things (Suhandang, 2010). The function of comments is a response and assessment of an event that the news is published in the mass media. An event is often a conversation of people and a press concern, so it would be broadcast in the form of news, responses, and comments.


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Introduction to Journalism
University Merdeka Maduin
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ISBN (Book)
introduction, journalism
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Veny Ari Sejati (Author), 2018, Introduction to Journalism, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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