Journalism is a profession to write for the public on the current issues in the newspaper or such other media. In a sense, journalism started with the beginning of social life. When people used to live in association with each other, news had to be carried from place to place and ideas had to be communicated for criticism and correction. This focusing of news is really the essence of a journalist’s work. However, printing, the press has advanced the sphere of journalism, and teleprinter and satellite have given the newspaper its present shape. China, the originator of printing bears the distinction of bringing out the newspaper and the ‘Peking News’ had a continuous run from the 6th century down to the 14th century. England took the publication of newspapers towards the end of the 6th century. The daily newspaper sponsored by Defoe appeared at the beginning of the 18th century.
In our country journalism started with the publication of news-sheets by the European Missionaries at Serampore at the beginning of the 19th century. It was soon taken up by Raja Rammohun Roy, Iswarchandra Gupta, Kristodas Pal, Harish Mukherjee and others. But modern newspapers are really developed with the invention of the internet across the world. They are now The Hindu, The Times of India, The Statesman, The Telegraph, The Tribune etc. in English, The Anandabazar, The Bartaman, The Ebela, The Ei Samay, The Ekdin, The Ganashakti, The Kalantar, The Sakalbela etc. in Bengali, The Sanmarga, The Dainik Jagran in Hindi and such other newspapers in some other regional languages.
Modern journalism is now based on a commercial scale. There are international news agencies that collect and broadcast news around the world. Of these Reuter is the most famous, with its headquarter in London and branches all over the world. Press Trusts of India (PTI), Tass (Russia), Havax (Germany), Domei (Japan), Tanjug (China), Islamic Republic (Iran) Associated Press of America, etc. are other famous news agencies. The influential newspapers always maintain their own correspondents – home and abroad.
A modern newspaper is something much more than a mere collection and publication of news. It is no doubt a storehouse of information as well as an instrument of public criticism, a creator of public opinion. It has, therefore, to be organised by a large and varied staff. There are the Chief Editor and his assistants who write leading articles and editorial columns and edit news. Their influence in forming public opinion is great. Then there is the news-editor and his/her staff who receive news from different agencies, and by judicious display attract public attention. They can flash a headline and can create a sensation. The staff reporters take interview of the concerned people and elicit views by ‘scooping’ news in advance. A modem newspaper must also have competent artists, cartoonists, photographers, etc. There must be advertisement managers and circulation managers too. All these persons who act for publishing a newspaper are known by the broad name ‘journalist’.
Journalism is a difficult profession. It has got the spirit of adventure too. A good journalist collects fresh bold news, follows the taste of the public and at the same time moulds it. He serves the country through constructive criticism and practical suggestions. Thus a good journalist creates his own peculiar style. So each journal has its own set of readers.
Of course, newspapers have got two more forceful competitors today. They are Radio and Television. They have some extra advantages such as hearing and visual effects. Yet they cannot supersede newspapers in some points. Remaining glued to Radio or Television at a particular time of news is not always possible. Besides, coverage of news by Radio or Television is limited in comparison to the newspaper. News items are cut down there so that the time limit is not exceeded. But a newspaper can be read at any time and anywhere befitting one’s own convenience. Its coverage is also wider and varied. So journalism in a newspaper in addition to other electronic media such as Radio and Television are flourishing with unlimited scope day by day.
Modern civilization is unthinkable without journalism. It provides a common platform for all nations. Introduction of journalism as a subject for study in our universities is getting greater importance for raising the standard of our newspapers and such other news media.