The task: to log our media consumption for a week and then evaluate just how much of that is journalism.
Initially when given this challenge I immediately thought, “I need to buy some newspapers!”I purchased the Daily Telegraph and the International New York Times and made sure to grab one of the free London Evening Standard’s on my way to the tube.
An interesting piece in the New York Times about the migrant ‘jungle’ in France, included first hand quotes from those living in the ‘jungle’ and spoke in the voice of someone who had traveled there in order to provide the best, first hand information for the article.
The Telegraph, which just a day before had released the story of corruption claims in football, specifically around the new England manager Sam Allardyce, covered the front page with the title “Sam Allardyce quits in disgrace.” The story took only one day to cause enough of a buzz that Allardyce had to quit his job and lose his new £3 million contact.
Whilst these newspaper articles are clear cases of hard-hitting, investigative journalism, I couldn’t neglect looking at the alternate sources which we read everyday and perhaps wouldn’t consider to be real journalism. These are the stories that tempt you in as you’re scrolling on Facebook, or the links you follow on Twitter and read so briefly. These small stories that don’t appear to be about much; ‘Who went out on bake off last night?’ or ‘The best shoe trends to follow this season’ should still be considered pieces of journalism.
It is clear that when we read something from a newspaper or magazine that we are taking in a piece of journalistic work. Whilst these small articles may not have as much detail, or perhaps as much work put into them, we should not be so quick to judge these as less than journalism. Someone has had to go out or search online to find appropriate information to write the article, then write the article and finally publish it online for us to read as we scroll past the video of the cat falling off the table.
So when finally considering the question “How Much of What we Read is Journalism?” it turns out, it’s more than we may think.