Journalism implies the practice of collection and interpretation of the information about the events, themes, and trends of modern life and its representation in different genres and forms, and subsequent distribution to the mass audience.
The origins of journalism dates back to the Middle Ages when, messengers and couriers, who read out a decree, rescripts, and communiqués, added sometimes the author’s commentaries.
This is partly why in modern journalism names of newspapers and magazines are reminiscent of those messengers: Courier, Daily Herald, Moscow Gazette, Chicago Tribune, Forum, etc.
Published in 1605 in Strasbourg, Relation aller Fürnemmen und gedenckwürdigen Historien was considered the first newspaper. In England, the first successful daily publication was the British newspaper The Daily Courant, published from 1702 to 1735. Over time, the press was formed as an influential social tool under the title of “The Fourth Estate.”
Professional activities of a journalist are closely related to the concept of privacy, which is required from the person who obtained access to confidential information. The requirement is not to transfer such information to third parties without the consent of its owner. For violation of the confidentiality, journalist may be subject to civil or criminal liability.
Different countries have different rules for information distribution: for example, the UK government has taken more bills on legal liability for disclosure of information than the U.S. Congress. There are countries that are known for their persecution and ill-treatment of journalists, such as Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The U.S. has never adopted a federal law on the confidentiality of sources. Each state determines the degree of freedom of a journalist in the handling of information. Federal court may order a journalist to reveal a source of information only in extreme cases – when it affects the outcome of the judicial process and the resolution of the issue cannot be achieved without disclosing the source. Journalists who refuse to testify may be subject to civil or criminal liability.
After the 2008 financial crisis, the state of the industry is not in the best shape. Only in 2008, 16,000 journalists lost their jobs.
Company Tribune Company (which owns the LA Times) declared bankruptcy. One of the oldest U.S. newspaper Rocky Mountain News ceased to exist, putting an end to 150 years of its history. The Christian Science Monitor moved to the distribution network (i.e., daily newspaper has become a regular online resource). During the first quarter of 2009 in the United States 120 newspapers were closed.
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