When you walk into a newsroom of journalists, you will see people reading, discussing, and writing the news. Journalists from all around the world, mostly the Lignite States, join in Long Beach, California, where they collaborate to gather and publish information in the Gazette Newspapers, forming a professional discourse community. A discourse community is a group of individuals unified by common interests or goals and who have methods for communicating ways to achieve those goals.
In “The Concept of Discourse Community,” educator and researcher John Swales states that “a courses community consists of a group of people who link up in order to pursue objectives” (Swales 471 The Gazette journalists are united with the purpose of providing reliable, comprehensive, and relevant news to the Long Beach community. Understanding the way this discourse community works can help a person join or assimilate himself into it. The primary goal of the discourse community is to tell the truth. They must be loyal to their citizens.
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Two journalists and authors, Bill Jehovah and Tom Rosenstein, write, “Since news is the material that people use to learn and hind about the world beyond themselves, the most important quality is that it be useable and reliable” (Jehovah and Rosenstein). The Gazette journalists aim to make their newspaper an honest and objective community resource for information and entertainment. They cover a wide range of topics, such as events, government, business, education and neighborhood issues. They often attempt to expose problems that need to be paid attention to.
Information which may offend or humiliate a person gets checked especially carefully. Writers will get their articles checked by others for accuracy, grammar, and spelling. Stories must contain no false statements and must keep to the newspaper’s general style. When conducting interviews, journalists aim to pay close attention to detail. In a typical reporting scenario, reporters may go to the scene of an incident to find out as much as possible about the event. They take extensive notes and following the on-site reporting, they will obtain additional information through online research.
Deadlines are necessary for the smooth functioning of the news operation. A late writing project slows down the editing process. Time management is a crucial skill to achieving this goal. No writer wants the reputation ‘creative, but can’t get the job done’. Not meeting deadlines tends to raise eyebrows in the community and shows unprofessional. Editors want good material, but they also want material on time. There are individual reasons that can go along with these goals, like earning a paycheck or striving to be experts in their work.
Some journalists see their work as a way of changing the lives of others as well as their own. For example, when it comes to health news, a journalist can write stories and use the information not only to benefit the audiences, but also use it at a personal bevel. Regardless of individual goals, each member contributes to the community’s main purpose of reporting accurate and objective news in a consistent and timely fashion. The members of this community are educated and most hold a college degree, some being in journalism.
Many have experience writing professionally for magazines or other news organizations. Others do not have a strong background in the journalism field but have acquired a wealth of knowledge for specific subjects that can be applied when covering those aspects of the news. Data from a survey in 2013 by News University shows hat professionals found a journalism degree to be not as important in understanding values in journalism and getting hired as educators did (Sieve). Jim Regional, for instance, was a longtime musician, arts administrator, and music educator before joining the Gazette.
Now he is responsible for covering many of the local art and music events. Another member worked in the restaurant industry for many years and she brings that experience to the newspaper when reporting about the vibrant entertainment and dining scene in the city. The members each have unique areas of expertise that they bring to the community. The journalists gather five days a week in the Gazette’s station located in East Long Beach. The newsroom is where most of the discussion, research, writing, and editing get done.
News briefings, conferences, and question-and answer sessions also take place at the station. However, since the reporter’s job is both an indoor and outdoor one, and since some work at home, important mechanisms for communication include phone calls, text messages, emails, faxes, and social media websites. Members intercommunicate to share information about assignments, deadlines, and research on a particular subject or event. Many times a written piece needs to be reviewed by several people. One may seek advice from with more experience in the group.
Communication is vital to helping the more novice members do well because their work represents the whole organization. Phone calls and texts are the quickest methods of passing information to one another and are especially useful when covering breaking news with short deadlines. An individual may receive online messages or calls from the public about a disaster, perhaps something as minor as a car accident or as major as a large fire with mass casualties. A reporter who is closest to the scene may be contacted to head over and gather information.
Depending on how quick the news needs to be published, the reporter might contact someone in the newsroom and relay his notes to someone else to write the story. This may be done through email using a laptop, but most likely by phone if the story requires immediate action or attention. Memorandums are frequently used to distribute assignments, deadlines, and news tips, or information about a possible story or event that should be covered. Members with more editorial responsibilities will determine what sews tips are the most newsworthy, and which reporter to assign a story to.
Those assignments are often determined based on the reporter’s experience, skills, and beat (e. G. , police, courts, schools, county, etc. ). Other reasons for writing memos are to provide printed reports, reminders, suggestions, or changes made to scheduled interviews. Like any discourse community, the journalists at the Gazette are guilty of using acronyms and confusing terms when they communicate. Even the newspapers name, Gazette, is an old term meaning newspaper. When writing stories for the public, they must use language that the masses will empowered, particularly when it involves bad news.
Some terms are more well-known and might be understood by the general public. A couple of examples are “byline,” a journalist’s name at the beginning of a story, or “dateline,” the place where the story was written. However, amongst each other the members have developed terms that might not make sense to outsiders. This can be for simplifying purposes or clarifying meanings of abstract ideas. Some of these terms include “nut graph,” “kicker,” “pork,” “breakout,” or “tie back,” all words that may be used when reviewing a story.
When words are used frequently, abbreviations and acronyms may be used to mark up stories to save time, like “civic,” “ICQ,” “cut q,” or “stet. ” Language also helps identify stories quicker as they move through the editorial process, like the word “slug,” a short phrase summarizing the subject of an article. This makes it useful when determining the layout of a publication. Furthermore, certain words can convey different moods better, like the word “splash,” used to describe an exciting front page story, or “fluff” when referring to lighter, softer news.
Words can be used amongst each other for their comedic tones s well, like the term “dead donkey,” a news item of no real significance. Novice members should familiarize themselves with the terms used at the station. The language is always growing and changing with the profession and it is important for all members in the community to understand the jargon thrown out on a daily basis to maintain strong communication. To make communication less difficult, the journalists use genres, or texts, that contain the jargon used within the community.
Like other discourse communities, they “develop their own conventions for those genres in light of their desired goals” (Swales 2). One example already mentioned is the use of memos, to give out assignments, deadlines, and other instructions. This common practice makes it easy to connect to everybody at the same time. It allows members to see what other members have been assigned to work on as well. Sometimes they get ideas for articles based on their own. In this case, they may send a budget line, or a story proposal, to an editor for approval.
This helps the editors plan the newspaper, as well as manage the time and energy of the reporters. Another tool that members use in the group is detailed notes taken during an interview. Their notes may include quotes, facial and body language, attire, environment, questions or things to research further, and other ideas and observations that stick out during an interview. If there is more than one writer assigned to a project, these notes can aid their memories in writing parts of the story, such as the ending Or inserting highlighted quotes. Often an interview Will be recorded and transcribed afterwards.
The transcription might be sent to a writer via email to write the piece. The SSP, or Society of Professional Journalists, Code of Ethics is a text, found in rink or on the internet, used by the journalists in the community as a guide for ethical behavior. They adopt this code as a resource for ethical decision- making. It reminds them of their goals of being conscientious journalists, and that they strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. The Associated Press Storybook and Briefing on Media Law, usually called the AP Storybook, is another genre used in the news industry.
It is used as a guide for grammar, punctuation and principles and practices Of reporting. The AP Storybook includes how to spell and use terminology, and an overview of legal issues for those working in the journalism industry. Objectivity and fairness is a much debated idea within the discourse community. As editorial decisions are made, stories may be rewritten, trimmed, or lengthened. Sometime journalists may be unhappy with the final product because their stories were drastically edited, even though they were truthful in their writing.
Readers will complain and they are entitled to their opinions. Can anyone be truly objective? Probably not, but journalists still have the obligation to consider many sides of an issue and to question how people will react to their presentation of information. Analyzing the discourse community of journalists for the Gazette newspapers illustrates that it follows Swales’ six “proposed defining criteria: there are common goals, participatory mechanisms, information exchange, community specific genres, a highly specialized terminology and a high general level of expertise” (Swales 475).
Newspaper journalists were a very interesting discourse community to investigate, due to the cause around which they have united: sharing the news with the public. Journalists learn to see, feel, and experience what other people go through in their everyday lives. They have he desire to share the truth of society with its readers. The newsroom is often a flurry of activity, especially when events are breaking. Amazingly, its organization and efficiency permit the public to know what is happening at any time, day or night.
Becoming a member of this discourse community would expand my knowledge and self-awareness. I am the type of person who sees stories wherever go, and I am compelled to tell these stories as powerfully as I can. I have a unique combination of skills: the ability to gather observations and information that is often ignored or hidden from other individuals, and the talent to write clearly and vividly about that information. The most important characteristic shared by good journalists is curiosity.
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but from my experience, it doesn’t kill humans. It definitely makes me stronger.