Questions to Consider While Reading “The Elements of Journalism”

I’ve posed a list of questions students in Com 315 should consider and discuss while reading “The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect” by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel.


1. What is disagregation of the audience?

2. Why has journalism’s credibility declined since the 1990s?

3. How do journalists use the Internet?

4. What is transparency as it relates to the profession of journalism, as a way of rebuilding trust with readers?


5. When anthropologists observed primitive cultures, how did such cultures define news and what qualities did they look for in messengers?

6. Though you may not subscribe to a newspaper or consistently watch the news on television, do you feel generally aware of what’s going on beyond your direct experience? Are you the first or the last to know important things? Do you have “a hunger for awareness”? When meeting a friend, do you share information, such as “have you heard about…?”

7. Why do we need “the news”? To “protect ourselves, bond with each other, identify friends and enemies,” the authors write. They quote author Thomas Cahill, who said you can tell “the worldview of a people…the invisible fears and desires…in a culture’s stories.” Why do you need “the news,” if you do? What stories do you tell yourselves?

8. What are the 10 elements of journalism?

9. Without independently-reported news, what will replace it? a) rumor; b) self-interested commercialism or infotainment, according to the authors. Can you think of examples of this in your own life?

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