Throughout us history, journalism has helped make the government a government "of" and "by" the people.*Political journalism has helped guard against secrecy and government power. So journalism's primary purpose has been to inform. But in different periods, it also has been a powerful persuasive tool.
II recent years, a move by many media industries toward *infotainment, a blur of information and entertainment, has caused many journalists to worry about redefining the essence of journalism.
2. During the early colonial period, journalists were not a separate occupational group
they were editors, postmasters, and elite businessmen who sought to earn a living by printing information and who wanted to play a role in the founding of a new country. These writers were citizens first and intellectuals or commentators second.
This point is important because freedom of expression is not granted to an elite cadre of journalists it is granted to citizens of the United states. Thus journalists do have rights that ordinary citizens do not have.
Scholars debate how courageous journalists were during the colonial period. Some argue that journalists were quite cautious, rarely challenging the status quo.
Othere point out that despite the fact that governors in the colonies did not like criticism of themselves or the British government, journalists still spoke out.
For example, in 1733, the acquittal of printer john peter Zenger, was charged with seditious libel for openly criticizing the royal governor of new york.
3. Journalists played an important role during the late-eighteenth-century struggle for independence. They not only recounted events but also presented competing ideologies for discussion in the marketplace of ideas.
Chief among intellectuals and editors who challenged British authority was Benjamin franklin. He gained fame for both the lightning rod experiments that later earned him a place in elementary school science... [continues]
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