A journalism of Journalisms
This page looks at the different types of journalisms that exist alternatively to mainstream journalism. It also will outline the different normative roles that journalism plays in democracy and how in turn that could help develop a country through journalistic works.
The JDD-CMP Course
Journalism, Democracy and Development (JDD) was the name of the course that we were introduced to in the second semester of my third year. The course was aimed at getting students to learn more of other ways in which journalism could be practiced besides the mainstream-monitorial routine that we have been taught over the past two years.
The idea was to introduce us to public journalism which could be defined as being a journalism form that is multifaceted and aims at getting the public (civil society) involved in democracy and for them to participate in the political agendas and issues that affect them on a regular basis. Public Journalism identifies and pays note to the idea of the public being marginalized in democracy and thus what had initially been the purpose of democracy (equal power to all and everyone having the right to participate and be heard) was not properly executed by mainstream journalism. Public journalism is to serve a function of working towards the public's interests and help them help themselves. By getting citizens to talk and deliberate with one another, public journalism provides the platform for democratic deepening whereby citizens set their own agenda and in turn try to help themselves solve their problems. Public journalism brings people together and allows them to take up conversational roles whereby they could all listen to one another and find common solutions to problems affecting them.
The role that public journalism takes is a facilitative role which means that stories cannot be censored or sensationalized to suite the agenda of the journalists. Instead, the public create their own agenda which is just facilitated by the journalists.
In the Critical Media Production (CMP) course in the forth term, we were required to go into the community, we were divided and assigned to different sections based on wards where we were to practice public journalism. The course allowed us to go into the communities and set up public meetings where we could get people to set their agendas and talk about problems that are common amongst them. We then produced material that depicted the way of life within our wards as the stories we told were from the people and represented from their point of view. We then took their problems and showed them to people who would be able to help the people or try come up with ways in which people could help themselves.
The JDD-CMP course thus provided an unforgettable experience of life, problems that people are faced up with and how our democracy is still in need of deepening. The course outlined the importance of journalism as a profession and how we can use our profession for the benefit of deepening democracy.