Journalism is one of the most important writing professions, requiring a lifetime of growth and dedication.
But what area of journalism should one get into? Here’s a list of the most common types of journalism and what they do.
Investigative journalism is less about the writing and more about preparing the story – you may not even know where the story will take you. This means understanding the topic from the bottom up; this may require shadowing someone or spending hours, days, or even months sifting through files, data, interviews, and any other information you can get a hold of.
In concluding your research, you will need to write a detailed report, including all of your findings and conclusions without bias, even if you don’t like the outcome.
Watchdog journalism is similar to investigative journalism, but may be more focused on individuals in society, government, or business. Your job will be to monitor different activities and ensuring that rules, laws, and ethics are being followed or applies. An example of watchdog journalism is the monitoring of the finances of candidates running for political office.
Online journalism aligns closely with traditional journalism, but the information is more often gotten from widely available sources, including other websites, videos, and social media. While online journalism can be hard-hitting, other times, it swerves into the territory of gossip or drama between celebrities, influencers, and gamers. However, traditional media doesn’t always cover the landscape of the internet, so online journalism can fill an important role.
Broadcast journalism is relatively broad, covering almost all forms of media, including radio, television, and the internet. Those in the field may have to fill many roles, including researcher, editor, production design, and presenter. Today, people with experience in broadcast journalism, or a desire to enter this branch of journalism, may publish content to a Youtube or Twitch channel, use social media, and even start a podcast.
Opinion journalism offers a break for people who have only been reporting on the facts of a story and want to share their own views on matters. Opinion journalism is a hat that many journalists wear from time to time. That isn’t to say you should just say anything you want; rather, opinion journalism is a great opportunity to develop a more broad understanding of a topic while balancing empathy with persuasion.
Trade journalism most often focuses on industries and products, such as oil, agriculture, travel, healthcare, and technology. Journalists in this field interview people who work in these industries, read press releases, or analyze data and other information to compile reports that are useful to the public, investors, and reporters.
When looking to enter any of these branches of journalism, it is important to consider your long-term career goals and desires. Also consider the career path of noteworthy journalists, and learn from their experiences. Where you choose to work, the stories that you cover, and the types of opportunities provided to you can affect future opportunities.