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Journalism in Politics

Discuss about the Journalism in Society for Political and Leadership Malpractices.

Journalism refers to as those activities that involve preparing news for broadcast either on radio or TV, and writing for newspapers, magazines and news websites. From the ancient times, the main functions of journalism were/are to inform, educate, guide and entertain(McKnight, 2010). Modern journalism has roles they play in society and would include but not limited to ethical role-which journalist struggle with on daily basis as they try to weigh between public right to information and what should or should not be reported(Lester and Hutchins, 2013). The guide or filter role-giving information that is well scrutinized and filtered not to propel negativity in society(Tao, 2009). The understanding and context role-they understand the information on behalf of public and put it into context(McKnight, 2010). The conversational leader role which entails they start and guide communication and thank the rightful contributors of the conversation in journalism contexts. The other role is the aggregator role which is to make people they serve knowledgeable about their community(Lester and Hutchins, 2013). The sixth role is the straight news role which focuses on what is factual and evident to be reported.

Journalism plays a range of important roles in politics through providing the right information on political situations of a country. For instance, in order to enable the information flow and provide the required knowledge about political situation in a given society, journalists have to embrace dependence and adaptation criteria(Kovach, and Rosenstiel, 2014). This means that, in order to inform the public on politics, journalist will have to depend on politician and politician depends on journalists or media to reach their audience. Political communication will rely on mutual dependence since there are overlapping purposes between political class and the media professionals(Tao, 2009). No party between the two can realize certain goal without relying on and cooperating with the other. By so doing, they both need to pursue their audience but with different goals which in some extent are in some conflicts with each other. For example, journalist will want to hold the attention of the target audience through some mixture of entertainment, alerts, informing and education while politician on the other hand want to persuade the target audience to marry their political views, their political parties views, and what they target to achieve in their political life.

The reason why there is mutual dependence by both politician and media is because, politician need access to communication channels which are controlled by mass media as well as hopeful full plate of audience they offer(Kovach, and Rosenstiel, 2014). On the other hand, media professionals rely on politician to enable them perform their role in political scrutiny, for information, news, interviews, action and also comments from them. This means each side offers the other the valuable resource it requires. 

When media engage politician in some of the ways above, they hold them and their political parties accountable for their actions such as corruption, scandals and other political and leadership malpractices(Lester and Hutchins, 2013).

Sports Journalism

Sport is an interesting experience for those who play and those spectating. Social researchers think of sports in various ways like simply a kind of employment, entertainment, or leisure for those involved(Hagn and Maennig, 2009). Sport is a form of local and national community solidarities and as well as a form of an expression of belonging an ever unpredictable world. It is a source of storytelling that binds people together binding into a social cohesion(Andrews, 2013). At local, regional and national level, sport is focal point for the construction of identities(Chovanec, 2011).

Local and international sports are viewed through the media and journalists are responsible bringing these events to the public. Sport journalism is one of the most interesting forms of journalism in offering entertainment(Steensen, 2011). More recent football world cup finals that took place in Germany in 2006 the events brought about the feeling of the global connectedness, construction of cultural identities, and cultural exchange(Hagn and Maennig, 2009).

As people celebrate and cheer their team or play against each other they build lasting relationship. Since sports are done in active fields people are able to mingle freely and share different experiences(Chovanec, 2011). Journalism is the champion in offering these connectedness and learning of different cultures as people are able to see what the world outside looks like(Steensen, 2011).

War journalism is the journalism involving reporting firsthand stories from the war zones. War journalist or correspondents as referred in 19th century, attempts to get closer to the action so as to provide written accounts, film footage or photos(Lewis, and Reese, 2009). War journalism is the most dangerous form of journalism as well as the most popular branch of journalism(Tao, 2009). During times of war there are increased sales of newspapers as well as television viewing shooting up(Kovach, and Rosenstiel, 2014).This form of journalism comes with their consequences to the individual journalist who may be discredited by state or barred from own country or even passport dismissal if they report what state feels is not in their favor(Hagn and Maennig, 2009). A good example of such a case is WilfredBurchett whose September 1945 Hiroshima atomic bombing report published in London’s Daily Express, which was under the banner “I write this as a warning to the world” led to his government deterrent from returning to Australia(West, Ji-Moon, and Gregg, 2015). War stories on the other hand earns journalist great recognition for instance, Winfred Burchett though died in 1983, the story has remained his finest earning him a place in Victorian Media Hall of Fame,even the decision applauded universally. However this did not prevent his storydubbed the “scope of the century” (Lewis, and Reese, 2009).

War journalist cover wars events with an aim of independently informing the members of public without them relying on military or the government informants(Kovach, and Rosenstiel, 2014). They do this to help members of public to know, understand and make informed judgment of the actions undertaken by the government on their behalf. Free and Independent reporting during times of conflicts helps the public to make informed choice as to whether to support conflicts or not. However military support may put off public support where there is bloody engagement and body bags(Hess, 2015). A common example was the war that was lost at home way before, in the 1975, before United State Military disastrous loss in war with Vietnam(Greiner, 2010).

War Journalism

Since public support is crucial for both military and the government, the war arises when media may seem to win the public trust than the military involved in the war(Lewis and Reese, 2009).  If the public is not in support of either the government or the military it is dangerous and can breed long-term and severe consequences(Hagn, and Maennig, 2009). This is because there is likelihood of war arising at home with public opinions(Lewis and Reese, 2009). The key conflicts between the military and media arises when the military is more focus on patriotism while media patriotism varies depending on the ownership and organization involved in the reporting(Jericho, 2012).

In Australia military takes different approach to those of United States’ military when handling media(McKnight, 2010). This is based on the fact that, many of Australian troops are top secret ground forces like special Air Service personnel rejecting embedding of journalist with claims they are impractical(Jericho, 2012). American military trust journalist with giving information and are ready to give information as much as possible(Lewis and Reese, 2009). With technologies opening more doors for Australia journalist put them under risks of being called as witnesses of any subsequent wars crimes trials.

Either in Australia or America today, technology places journalist at high risk of government draconian restrictions on any operation in the region due to the use of portable satellite cameras with ability to cover event vividly as they are(Lewis and Reese, 2009).

Environmental reporting in Australia can be traced in old days of early 1800s. Journalist in early times reported on wide range of environmental issues such like cutting down of trees, whales and Dingoes(Dunwoody, 2014). During mid-19th century media reporting on environment was biased and some reporting were had political influence and others were purely self-motivated(McKnight, 2010). During the time, the mass media outlets were becoming powerful political, social, cultural and economic institutions(Bødker and Neverla, 2012). The book “Silent Spring”by Rachel Carson was in the forefront of 1960-70s rise of modern environmental awareness of many issues such like pesticides and pollution. The book made people think of environmental threats and the need for immediate action. This was a period of growing interests in connection of human activities and environment(McGaurr, 2010). In newsrooms there was environmental going rounds as environmental movements got interested in the media coverage. Journalists were then accused of too close to the activists(Bødker and Neverla, 2012).. For instance, the coverage that focused on protest and celebrities like Franklin Dam in 1976-83.

Climate change reporting begun in 1930s and climate change policies begun coming into place in 1880s. Due to increased international and scientific alarm on the climate change, increased editorial interests were witnessed in newsroom as of 2000s. A good example of scientific alarm was the release of Al Gore film An Inconvenient Truth in 2006(Farbotko, 2010).

Today, environmental reporting is wide and covers several topic including food security and climate change(Bødker and Neverla, 2012). There are even school that teach environmental journalism today to cater for this need. Journalist also covers environmental news events in human interest angle to help explain the consequences of complex phenomena to public and also provide space for political challengers who desires to be heard in public debate(McGaurr, 2010).  However, this form of journalism has its own challenges just like war journalism. These challenges would include: Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, Lars Friberg, and EdoardoSaccenti, all of Wageningen University state that, it lacks notable press attention like political journalism since the people involved in climate change campaigns are less prominent and powerful who are mostly activists(McKnight, 2010).

The other challenge is that Australian papers prioritize business news over nature news(Giannoulis,  Botetzagiasand Skanavis, 2010). According to an article published by International Communication Gazette in April 2018, two authors Kerrie Foxwell-Norton and Claire Konkes of University of Griffith and Tasmania respectively wrote, “The discourse surrounding the protection of Great Barrier Reef has become increasingly business oriented in Australia” (McKnight, 2010). Their sample focused on two important events of mediatized environmental conflicts and collected related articles (n=125) in a span of two weeks each year and found that the total number of articles increased by three out of four papers but the increase was only industry-based(Lester and Hutchins, 2013). This makes environmental protection groups and scientists marginalized as sources of environmental issues. In all years and all the four papers political sources dominated as indigenous people could not be heard once throughout the sample(Lester and Hutchins, 2013).

The authors’ further analysis shown that, discourse around the Reef had significantly shifted between 1981 and 2012. “The more recent coverage implies the need to scale back environmental protection in order to accommodate mining and fishing industries.” This implies that the need to balance humanity with needs of nature by media has failed(McKnight, 2010).


Journalism is an integral part of the world today in ensuring the public is informed of the happenings of the world. Media has the responsibility to inform, educate, entertain and warn the public about certain happenings. They act to influence people in making informed decision as they give information on daily basis. A freer media offers an independent news coverage which is not government or any other forces influenced. Media professionals face serious challenges especially war journalism due to the sensitivity of the matter they deal with. There are different forms of journalism covered in this paper and they are and not limited to Environmental Journalism, War Journalism, Sports Journalism, and political journalism. Each plays its specific role depending on its nature. For instance, entertainment forms of journalism are politics and sports, informative form of journalism is war journalism and lastly and not the least educative journalism is environmental journalism. However each offers the other roles in different capacities.


Andrews, P., 2013. Sports journalism: A practical introduction. Sage. 

Bødker, H. and Neverla, I., 2012. Introduction: Environmental journalism. Journalism Studies, 13(2), pp.152-156.

Chovanec, J., 2011. Humour in quasi-conversations: Constructing fun in online sports journalism. The Pragmatics of Humour across Discourse Domains, pp.243-264. 

Dunwoody, S., 2014.Science journalism (pp. 27-39). New York: Routledge. 

Farbotko, C., 2010. Wishful sinking: disappearing islands, climate refugees and cosmopolitan experimentation. Asia Pacific Viewpoint, 51(1), pp.47-60. 

Giannoulis, C., Botetzagias, I. and Skanavis, C., 2010. Newspaper reporters’ priorities and beliefs about environmental journalism: an application of Q-methodology. Science Communication, 32(4), pp.425-466. 

Greiner, B., 2010. War without fronts: the USA in Vietnam. Random House. 

Hagn, F. and Maennig, W., 2009. Large sport events and unemployment: the case of the 2006 soccer World Cup in Germany. Applied Economics, 41(25), pp.3295-3302. 

Hess, G.R., 2015. Vietnam: Explaining America's lost war. John Wiley & Sons.

Jericho, G., 2012. The rise of the fifth estate: Social media and blogging in Australian politics. Scribe Publications. 

Kovach, B. and Rosenstiel, T., 2014.The elements of journalism: What newspeople should know and the public should expect. Three Rivers Press (CA). 

Lester, E.A. and Hutchins, B., 2013. Environmental conflict and the media. 

McGaurr, L., 2010. Travel journalism and environmental conflict: A cosmopolitan perspective. Journalism Studies, 11(1), pp.50-67. 

McKnight, D., 2010. A change in the climate?The journalism of opinion at News Corporation.Journalism, 11(6), pp.693-706. 

Lewis, S.C. and Reese, S.D., 2009. What is the war on terror? Framing through the eyes of journalists.Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 86(1), pp.85-102. 

Steensen, S., 2011. Cozy journalism: The rise of social cohesion as an ideal in online, participatory journalism. Journalism Practice, 5(6), pp.687-703. 

Tao, D.U., 2009. On the Social History Studies of the Annales School in the Post-war Era.Journal of Xuzhou Institute of Technology (Social Sciences Edition), 4, p.010. 

West, P., Ji-Moon, S. and Gregg, D., 2015.Remembering the Forgotten War: The Korean War Through Literature and Art. Routledge. 

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