Journalism is the collection, dispensation, and propagation of news and information associated with the events to the people at large. Journalism applies to both the method of inquiring for news and the educated manner used to propagate it. The medium through which journalism is carried out differs widely because it includes content published via newspapers and magazines (print), television and radio (broadcast), and their digital versions published through digital media — news websites and applications. In contemporary society, the news media is the chief source of information and opinion regarding public affairs. Journalism is not always limited to the news media or to the news itself, as journalistic communication may find its way into broader forms of expression, including literature and cinema.
In many countries, the news media is still controlled by the government and is not allowed to operate independently. In a democratic society, access to free information plays an essential part in creating a system of checks and balances, because it distributes power fairly amongst governments, businesses, individuals, and other social entities. Access to confirmable information gathered by independent media sources, which conform to journalistic standards, provides a valuable service to ordinary citizens, by providing them with the tools that are necessary in order to actively participate in the political process. The role and standing of journalism, along with that of the mass media, has undergone overwhelming changes over the last two decades with the introduction of digital technology and publication of news on the Internet.
This has created a shift in the consumption of print media channels, as people increasingly consume news through e-readers, smartphones, and other electronic devices, challenging news organizations to fully monetize their digital wing, as well as improvise on the context in which they publish news in print. Notably, in the American media landscape, newsrooms have reduced their staff and coverage as traditional media channels, such as television, struggle with declining audiences.
This compactness in coverage has been linked to broad audience attrition, as a large majority of respondents in recent studies show changing preferences in news consumption. The digital era has also ushered in a new kind of journalism in which ordinary citizens play a greater role in the process of news making, with the rise of citizen journalism being possible through the Internet. Using video camera-equipped smartphones; active citizens can now record incidents and events to upload them onto channels like YouTube, which is frequently used by mainstream news media outlets.