Social journalism: concept, meaning, main issues

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Social journalism: concept, meaning, main issues
Social journalism: concept, meaning, main issues

In today's civil society, social journalism is of great importance. It is a tool of public control and regulation of various processes. Throughout the world, community journalism is an integral part of democratic governance. With the advent of the Internet, this phenomenon has new opportunities. All over the world, including Russia, special resources are even being created to unite journalists and citizens. The Continentalist website, a platform for social journalism, can serve as such an example. Let's talk about the essence of this social phenomenon, what are its tasks and methods.

Journalism as an activity

The emergence of journalism is due to the need to meet people's need for information. For a quality life, people need to navigate events, receive timely information about the state of society and the environment. Journalism is a means of communication between social groups, between the individual and society andensures uninterrupted contacts between different subjects of society.

As a type of activity, journalism includes the collection, processing, storage and dissemination of information. The main form in which information appears in journalism is news. The media informs people about what, where, when and why happened. Thus, journalists form the information agenda and influence the interpretation of events by the population. That is why this activity is often called the “fourth estate.”

Journalism as a social institution ensures the stability and sustainability of society. It has a branched structure in the form of editorial offices, publishing houses, press services, information agencies, and a system of journalism education. In democratic societies, it is generally accepted that journalism is an independent sphere of social activity, which is aimed at fulfilling its specific functions. Today, journalism is forced to change, as the information environment is being transformed. People can already receive information not only from the media - they themselves can become a source and broadcaster of news. This leads to the emergence of new varieties of journalism.

development of social journalism

The Social Functions of Journalism

The most important and first function of journalism is communicative. That is, it is designed to establish contacts between people and social groups. The interaction of a journalist, authorities and the public is the most important task facing this type of activity.

Second function -ideological. Journalism as a social phenomenon has an impact on the ideas and worldviews of people. It acts as a tool for the translation of socially approved norms and behaviors. Journalism is considered as a means of influencing the mass consciousness and is often accused of being biased by various political forces.

Another function is organizing. The media provide the interaction of people and communities in the development of various judgments and ideas. Thus, social journalism is engaged in criticism of dominant social ideas and practices and helps people develop an objective attitude to the facts of reality.

The most important function of journalism is also to inform. The media is meant to keep the public informed about what is going on in the world. At the same time, the selection of facts and events for coverage is often associated with the above functions.

Journalism is also designed to educate and educate people.

And another function of this kind of activity is to entertain the public. The journalist must find a harmonious balance between these functions, without deviating to either side.

journalism as a social institution

The concept and essence of social journalism

By and large, all journalism is social, as it serves the interests of society. Therefore, there is disagreement among specialists in the definition of this concept. In general, this concept means a system of genres and methods of covering topics related to people's lives, problems of the realization of rights andfreedoms of citizens. According to researchers, the concept of social journalism includes the following aspects:

  • reflection in the media of the problems of the social sphere of society;
  • analysis of topics and events related to the realization of the freedoms of citizens, with the development of full-fledged personalities;
  • presence of special genres and methods of presenting information about social problems and people's lives;
  • involving citizens themselves in the process of creating journalistic materials;
  • initiating and supervising social projects that improve the lives of citizens and society as a whole.

Thus, the essence of this concept is that it is up-to-date information about the state and life of society.

tasks of social journalism

Main themes and issues

For many years, domestic journalism was dominated by political and entertainment topics. The media tried to meet people's need for relaxation, as well as increase their income through rapid popularity. Social issues are not profitable and therefore for a long time remained on the periphery of the interests of journalists. Since the early 2000s, there has been a reversal of interest in social issues. Journalists again began to cover the life of ordinary people, with their daily problems and worries. This is how the main themes of social journalism began to take shape:

  • covering the possibilities and forms of self-organization of citizens to defend their rights and freedoms;
  • activities of various public organizations actively involved in the transformation of society,including charitable foundations, social enterprises, counseling centers, etc.;
  • covering the problems of vulnerable groups of the population: large and single-parent families, the unemployed, migrants, the elderly and single citizens;
  • participation in solving youth problems: employment, drug addiction, alcoholism, access to education, crime, AIDS and hepatitis, activities of youth organizations;
  • spreading the ideas of civil society;
  • topics related to the moral education of citizens;
  • economic and social policy of the state and forms of its implementation.

Thus, the range of problems covered by social or citizen journalism is extremely large and it requires a special attitude on the part of the journalist, the presence of special professional skills.

continentalist platform for social journalism

The public position of a journalist

The profession of a journalist requires, on the one hand, objectivity and impartiality in covering events, and on the other hand, it requires an active, expressed position. Finding a balance between these two requirements is one of the important tasks of a professional journalist. The concept of a social position in journalism implies that the author of the materials has an expressed opinion on the main issues of our time. A journalist must clearly understand what is good, justice, evil, vice, etc. Otherwise, he will not be able to expose shortcomings and proclaim socially approved values. Work in the fieldsocial journalism assumes that the author has his own position, attitude to the problem, but at the same time he is able to offer the audience the whole range of possible opinions, so that the reader or viewer in the assortment of impartially given points of view can find the one closest to him. The development of a social position in a journalist contributes to:

  • a clear understanding of one's place and role in society;
  • orientation in the structure of social relations and understanding of the driving forces of society;
  • understanding the essence of possible social contradictions and their consequences;
  • awareness of the role of the individual and citizens in solving social problems.

Methods of presenting the social position of a journalist

As social journalism develops, there are more and more opportunities for expressing the opinion of the author. This is due to the emergence of new formats and the development of genre forms. Journalists today have the opportunity to maintain personal blogs, write columns in various publications, comment on the materials of colleagues, act as experts in various programs. The main forms of manifestation of the social position of a journalist are:

  • directly defending his point of view, in this case he does not pay attention to other opinions, argues his line;
  • a softer option is to present different points of view and bring arguments in favor of one's own opinion;
  • searching for a compromise, taking into account different points of view and smoothing out conflict situations;
  • an unbiased presentation of the facts, in which the choice of position is left toaudience.
issues of social journalism

Basic forms and methods

The diverse tasks of social journalism require a large arsenal of submission forms. The audience should not be bored or too unpleasant to read (or watch programs) about the problems of society, but at the same time, viewers should by no means remain indifferent. Therefore, the arsenal of a journalist dealing with social issues includes genres that have a high engaging power. These are essays, reports, interviews, feuilletons, problematic articles. The modern audience wants to receive information in a live, interactive form, so new methods of presenting facts and events are emerging. The researchers note that genres such as “news with a human face”, various forms of discussions, analytical materials with access to practical recommendations, public expertise, author and editorial columns, publication of letters and reader reviews are becoming such new forms. Publications on the Internet allow you to organize feedback with readers, influence them with the help of text, audio and video images.

Objectives and goals

Modern social journalism is designed to solve many different problems. First of all, it is aimed at helping specific people who find themselves in difficult situations. Journalists talk about the problem, help find solutions to it, attract the attention of the public and the competent authorities.

Another task is to discover new social problems, their analysis, evaluation, widediscussion. Journalists should monitor the dynamics of the social sphere, detect positive and negative fluctuations, develop a common position on the identified problems.

Also, social journalism is designed to maintain a balance of public interests, representing the positions of different social groups. In addition, journalists can provide moral support to people who find themselves in difficult life circumstances.

The main goal of socially responsible journalism is to ensure the stability of the social system. Therefore, journalists should look for ways of harmonious interaction between different social groups and options for resolving problems that would reduce social tensions.

contemporary social journalism

Russian public journalism

Researchers believe that in Soviet times, journalism did not fully fulfill the functions of social support and protection of society, since its main task was to serve the dominant ideology. During perestroika, this discipline focused on serving various political and economic forces and again was not fully social, since it drew attention to problems, but did not seek to maintain the stability of the social system, but, on the contrary, shook it, blurring the system of moral assessments. It was journalism of negativism, simplifications, incompetence. It did more social harm than good. Therefore, theorists say that social journalism in Russia takes shape only at the beginning of the 21st century. ATAt this time, the demand for active journalism is formed, which not only indicates problem points, but also seeks to find a way out of difficult situations. At the same time, a system of unprofessional journalism began to take shape, it is also called civil.

Main Venues

The Internet has become an excellent medium for the development of socially responsible journalism. The first platforms for social materials were blogs and columns on various sites. But gradually, special platforms are beginning to form, uniting authors and readers around hot social topics. One of the first such platforms was Medium. However, commercialization has gradually killed a useful idea and turned its content into a stream of custom and paid materials.

Later, the news site appeared, which positions itself as a platform for social journalism, although it is more of an alternative journalism. Here they do not try to draw attention to the problems of individuals or disadvantaged people, but highlight facts that do not find a place on other platforms.

The most famous platform is, which is also social in name only. In fact, the authors of the site are trying to attract the attention of readers with fried facts, loud headlines, unreliable sensations.

The last to appear is Continentalist, a platform for social journalism, as the site's name says.

All these sites are similar in that they bring together authors who write on topics that are interesting to them. According to reviews, this is a community of non-professional authors. tasksthese people is not advocating the interests of the disadvantaged - they seek to increase website traffic and make money. There are no full-fledged platforms for social journalism today, but there are platforms that provide their resources for the speeches of socially responsible journalists. For example, the sites of the radio station "Echo of Moscow" or the television company "Rain".

social journalism concept

Citizen journalism

Today, the main issues of social journalism are covered not only by professionals, but also by public figures. In this connection, there is an attempt to call this phenomenon citizen journalism. Or journalism with the social participation of ordinary citizens. This phenomenon originated in the United States in the 80s of the 20th century. This phenomenon is designed to counter the overorganization and bias of the official media. The democratic participation of citizens in the coverage of social problems is caused by the disappointment of society in the effectiveness of the media and other social institutions. People tend to create alternative mechanisms to control and draw attention to problems. And then the official bodies have no choice but to get involved in solving the identified problems.

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