Journalism refers to the periodic journalistic work of journalists in the press, establish in online media or broadcasting to the public. The scientific study of the journalism see journalism, media studies or communication studies.

  • 9.1 New Journalism
  • 9.2 Gonzo Journalism
  • 9.3 Ambush Journalism
  • 9.4 Data Journalism

Definition of Terms

Journalism can be defined at three different levels:

Social level

In social terms, the journalism characterized by professional foreign observation of various sectors of society. Issues with timeliness, factuality and relevance he is by publication for public communication. This is different to journalism in particular of public relations, advertising and literature.

Organizational level

At the organizational level produce media companies and offerings continuously journalistic communication with timeliness, factuality and relevance. Thus, the journalism of media differs with the lack of periodicity (books) and lack of factuality ( Romanhefte, movies, satire magazines ).

Actor level

On the actor level of journalism from full time acting journalists is exercised. For a journalist needs to make more than half its income from journalistic work or more than half of his working for journalistic media sectors.


Journalism contributes to the formation of public opinion. It is therefore often referred to as the fourth power in the state (see Fabris 1981). The task of journalism was reinterpreted again and again in history. Journalism is constantly on the move, constant change creates any journalists generation new problems and new challenges.



Virtually every modern form of communication can serve as a medium for journalism:

  • Print journalism (newspaper, magazine )
  • Agency journalism ( news agency ),
  • Radio Journalism,
  • Television journalism and
  • Online journalism.

Depending on the division, texts, photographs, information graphics, original sounds and moving images are used.


Within the various media, the journalistic profession in accordance with Walther von La Roche ( 2008) defined in terms of activities:

  • Find and documenting
  • Formulate and Editing
  • Present
  • Organizing and planning.

With the change of the profession since the 1990s, management activities and the use of computer technology are more come to the fore for journalists in all these works.

More and more freelance journalists to work to their livelihood finance can no longer solely in traditional journalism, but also in the field of press and public relations. This can lead to conflicts of interest. Therefore, the Research Network and other organizations and groups call for a strict separation of the business of journalism and public relations.


Another distinguishing feature is the type of media financing. Regardless of media and form of presentation as well as fields of reporting and action roles are distinguished:

  • State media
  • Public service media
  • Private-sector media
  • Entrepreneurial Journalism
  • Citizen Journalism


After the journalistic action roles, the communication scientist Ulrich Saxer and Siegfried Weischenberg distinguish between

  • Information Journalism ( intermediaries)
  • Investigative journalism ( watchdog, lawyer )
  • Interpretive journalism ( explainer )
  • Social science journalism ( researcher)
  • New Journalism ( narrator).

This journalistic role models, however, are never to be found in an ideal-typical expression.

Whenever the journalism aimed specifically at broadening the action resources of the recipients, is spoken by the counselor journalism.

Another classification is based on the reporting fields ( special-interest journalism and journalism ) and ministries. Examples: cultural journalism, business journalism, science journalism, technology journalism, local journalism.

Still exists the considerable range of tabloid journalism, which represents the largest-circulation newspapers and magazines in Germany About this categorization also. However, it is frequently argued over whether the tabloid journalism actually still to journalism to watch belonging or whether he does not rather the so-called yellow press (also: " Colorful Leaves " ), are used as the Boulevard is assigned to the rather dubious press. Also mostly meant to be derogatory, the term " thesis journalism " for a form of reporting, the concern is to give a definite conception of attention or action.

Forms of representation

Regardless of the medium and the categorization of the journalistic forms remain the same: message, message, report, reportage, interview, comment, etc. Where only the category of Information journalism information and opinion presentation / commentary for the reader clearly separates ( first separation rule).

Sources: Frequently newswire used and shortened if necessary or extended by results of their own research. Other methods are personal research, telephone research, archival research and research on the internet.

In practice, often press releases are: unchanged (also called " Original " ) of companies and institutions. Thus, the influence of public relations is growing on journalism. Be according to the press law principle must the editorial part of a medium regardless of the display part ( advertising) created (2nd separation rule).

New forms of journalism

With the change in society, new forms of journalism, in which journalistic and literary forms are mixed. In chronological order, these are:

New Journalism

The term was coined by the New Journalism American writer, journalist, art and architecture critic Tom Wolfe mid-1960s. He wrote highly subjective reports and relied heavily on stylistic means, even if he considered himself correctly to the facts. The style and the topics was influenced by the literature of the Beat Generation of the 1950s with. Thus, the reporter of the New Journalism wrote about the new subcultures of pop music or the drug scene and mingled with their radicalism, the usual policy on reporting.

Gonzo Journalism

The Gonzo Journalism was a decade later a step further than the New Journalism. In the early 1970s reported the eccentric American writer and reporter - journalist Hunter S. Thompson not only from his subjective point of view - he mixed it consistently real, autobiographical and fictional experiences. Because of gonzo journalism sarcasm, foul language, polemic and quotes used as stylistic elements, it is according to journalistic criteria no journalistic form but literature.

Ambush Journalism

The Ambush Journalism mid-1990s was a form far away from the neutral reporting, but also of the literary forms of journalism. The Ambush Journalism " raided " representatives in politics and business, and suddenly in front of the camera with aggressive questions, psychological and partly physical pressure ( " On the Pelle back "). Were known with this style American television shows such as The O'Reilly Factor and 60 Minutes. These polarized journalistic practice, because the one criticizing the Ambush Journalism as unethical, while others defend him as the only way to obtain certain information.

Data journalism

Data journalism ( Data Driven Journalism, DDJ ) is a combination of research approach and new form of publishing. The concept of Data Driven Journalism was first coined in March 2009 by the British newspaper The Guardian. Machine-readable information linked together by software and analyzed. The result serves as the basis for interactive visualizations. These visualizations are published with the data and explanations about the context and annotated with text, audio or video.

Media Law and Ethics

For media law, freedom of the press belongs to the Basic Law and in the national press laws of the respective states is the legal basis of journalistic activity. For the radio, there is the State Broadcasting Treaty, for online media, the Telemedia Act. In addition, the journalist about personal rights and copyrights must be observed in their daily work. Violates a publication that framework can be sued for damages and injunctive relief. It is basically the right of reply. Media are required to provide responsible persons in the imprint.

Media Ethics is to take in regard to the responsibility in media companies a control function. Even Mandatory supervisory bodies of German, Austrian and Swiss Press Council. Check compliance with the self-created journalistic codes and complain - without any legal consequences - violations. As relevant codes are: press code, code of honor for the Austrian press, Declaration of the Duties and Rights.