Career Development

9 Types of Journalism to Explore

January 27, 2020

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There are many different types of journalism used depending on the topic and preference of the writer. If you’re interested in a career in journalism, narrowing your search to focus on a specific specialty allows you to identify positions that are best suited to your skills, qualifications and interests. Learning about the different types of journalism can help you decide what specialty you would prefer to work in. This list will help you understand the different types of journalism and select ones you are interested in pursuing.

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What is journalism?

Journalism is a profession that involves collecting information about a particular subject, then reporting findings and conclusions to a wider audience through print, digital or broadcast media. Journalists report information in the form of investigative reports, news, features, columns and reviews. Investigative reports and feature articles are longer forms that fully develop a story and include more detail. News, columns and reviews are shorter article forms intended to address a specific topic without expanding into as much detail.

The purpose of journalism is to research and report events that impact people’s lives and society in different ways. Different types of journalism cover various aspects of life that impact society, appeal to assorted audiences and have varying requirements for objectively reporting facts.

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Common types of journalism

Here are some types of journalism that you might experience every day:

  1. Investigative journalism
  2. Watch dog journalism
  3. Online journalism
  4. Broadcast journalism
  5. Opinion journalism
  6. Sports journalism
  7. Trade journalism
  8. Entertainment journalism
  9. Political journalism

1. Investigative journalism

Investigative journalism involves thoroughly researching a topic to expose evidence and deliver findings of figures or organizations to a wider audience. Investigative journalists conduct in-depth research and use various tactics to collect information. After collecting and evaluating evidence, investigative journalists write comprehensive reports to expose the subject and provide evidence to support their conclusions. 

This type of journalism often requires more time to plan, prepare and research, and is typically a longer form to fully report details of research, findings and conclusions. Investigative journalism can be both print and broadcast media. An example of investigative journalism includes researching businesses to determine whether they promote fair practices. 

2. Watch dog journalism

Watch dog journalism is a genre intended to guard society against illegal activity or inefficiency from societal powers, such as corporations and politicians. It is similar to investigative journalism in that the intent is to uncover and expose wrongdoing. Watch dog journalists monitor the activities of large companies and influential figures and report activities that may have negative impacts on society. This type of journalism helps ensure societal powers remain accountable for their actions. 

Watch dog journalism can be both print and broadcast media. An example of watch dog journalism includes investigations into political campaign finances to ensure that candidates adhere to campaign finance law.

3. Online journalism

Online journalism reports facts through internet media, such as digital newspapers, blogs or social media. All kinds of information is freely available on the internet, but sources are not always credible. Online journalists create and deliver content that aligns with the traditional journalism practices of objectively reporting the facts of a situation or event. Online journalism allows reporters to quickly deliver information to audiences through online media without delays for print layout, processing and delivery or broadcast time slots.

Related: Guide to Submitting a Writing Sample

4. Broadcast journalism

Broadcast journalism reports information to the public through media such as radio and television. Branches of broadcast journalism include sports, weather, traffic, news and entertainment. Broadcast journalism can also take the form of investigative, watch dog and opinion types. Broadcast journalism can include reading the report without corresponding video, narrating a report with a related video playing in the background or conducting a report in the field while capturing live video.

5. Opinion journalism

Opinion journalism reports on a topic using subjective ideas rather than objective facts. Opinion journalists report stories from their own perspective, including their own thoughts and biases. Opinion journalism is unique from other types because the writer can include their viewpoint. It can be important to recognize the difference between opinions and facts. Opinion journalism is useful in helping people understand their own opinions and values as well as to develop a fuller picture of reality when consuming reports from multiple perspectives. 

While some opinion journalists may align with your personal viewpoints, balancing those opinions with opposing perspectives is necessary to gain a deeper understanding and develop empathy and respect for diversity. An example of opinion journalism includes political journalists who report on political activity from their own perspective.

Related: Letter of Intent: Definition, Examples and Writing Tips

6. Sports journalism

Sports journalism focuses on the subject of athletic news. Sports journalists report scores, standings and rankings for different teams or athletes in different sporting events. Sports journalism can take the form of a specific genre such as investigative or opinion styles. It can be both print and broadcast media. Sports commentating is a form of sports journalism in broadcast and online journalism.

7. Trade journalism

Trade journalism reports on a particular industry or field. Trade journalists detail movements and developments in business that impact people involved in that field. It includes industry-specific news for products such as oil, metals and agriculture as well as business sectors, such as travel, finance and healthcare. Trade journalists process and report on substantial amounts of information regarding market conditions of the trades they cover.

8. Entertainment journalism

Entertainment journalism relates to the current events of popular figures and trends. Entertainment journalists report on the entertainment business, including celebrities, movies, television, books and events. Entertainment journalists may cover movie premiers and awards ceremonies as well as news about the entertainment industry. This type of journalism can take the form of different genres and is common in print, digital and broadcast media.

9. Political journalism

Political journalism focuses on government, politics and political candidates. It covers different segments of political activity, such as local, national or international news. Political journalists often report on the activities of elected officials, political processes and the results of political work. It includes reporting political news and conducting investigative and watch dog reporting to ensure that the public has access to information about political activity. Political journalists may also report news in the form of the opinion journalism genre. Political journalism applies to print, digital and broadcast media.

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Tips for choosing the right type of journalism 

Since there are many different types of journalism, it’s important to choose the one best for your career. Here are some tips to help you select the right type for you:

  • Consider your career path: Different types of journalism have various career paths for professionals. Consider your career goals in journalism can help you choose the best path for you. For example, if you want to become an editor in chief, you’ll need to select a career path in journalism editing. If you want to be a broadcast reporter, you may need to find entry-level jobs at radio or TV stations as an assistant first.

  • Decide which medium is right: Journalism exists in print, online and broadcast mediums. You’ll need to choose which medium you most prefer to work in. Sometimes, you can work in multiple mediums. For example, some newspapers and journals have both print and internet formats. 

  • Research the requirements: Depending on the medium and the job, you’ll need to meet specific requirements. Many journalism jobs require you to have a bachelor’s degree in journalism or a related field. For higher-level jobs, you may need a master’s degree or some experience in the field. When choosing your type, make sure you have or can complete the educational and experience requirements. 

  • Choose a specialization: Many types of journalism report on a specific topic, such as sports or politics. Choosing one of these specialties can help you narrow your job search focus or begin gaining certain experience. Consider choosing a specialization in which you’ll feel comfortable working in for many years to ensure you can excel on your career path.

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