Each journalistic form and style uses different techniques and writes for different purposes and audiences. There are five principal types of journalism: investigative, news, reviews, columns and feature writing.
What form of journalism are you interested in?
– Investigative. Investigative journalism aims to uncover the truth about a particular subject, person, or event. While investigative journalism is based on the basic principle underlying all journalism-verification and accurate presentation of facts-investigative reporters must often work with uncooperative or recalcitrant sources who do not wish to divulge information. Renowned investigative journalism, such as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s uncovering of the Watergate scandal, can upend major institutions significantly influence public life.
– News. News journalism is straightforward. Facts are relayed without flourishes or interpretation. A typical news story often constitutes a headline with just enough explanation to orient the reader. News stories lack the depth of a feature story, or the questioning approach of an investigative story. Rather, they relay facts, events and information to society in a straightforward, accurate and unbiased manner.
– Reviews. Reviews are partly opinion and partly fact based. The review needs to accomplish two things: one, accurately describe or identify the subject being reviewed, and two, provide an intelligent and informed opinion of the subject, based on research and experience.
– Columns. Columns are based primarily on the personality of the author, allowing him or her to write about subjects in a personal style. Column writers can take a humorous approach, or specialise in a particular subject area or topic. It’s important for columnists to develop their own voice that is recognisable by their readership. Columnists can interpret events or issues or write about their own personal experiences or thoughts. Columns are usually published weekly.
– Feature Writing. Feature writing provides scope, depth, and interpretation of trends, events, topics or people. Features aim not only to thoroughly explore a topic by conducting interviews with numerous experts or the key people involved, but to offer a previously unseen perspective on an event, issue, or person. Feature writing commonly wins prestigious awards when it manages to achieve this goal. Features usually have the highest word count of all journalism types.
If you’re interested in pursuing any of these different forms of journalism, there are a number of journalism courses available. Journalism courses teach a wide variety of journalistic, ethical and research skills which form the foundation of all journalism. Writing courses will also help budding journalists improve their grasp of the written word. If you have a love of words, and a keen interest in the world around you, then journalism could be the career for you.