A journalist is a person who practices journalism, the gathering and dissemination of information about current events, trends, issues and people.

Reporters are one type of journalist. They create reports as a profession for broadcast or publication in mass media such as newspapers, television, radio, magazines, documentary film, and the Internet. Reporters find the sources for their work, their reports can be either spoken or written, and they are generally expected to report in the most objective and unbiased way to serve the public good.

Depending on the context, the term journalist also includes various types of editors and visual journalists, such as photographers, graphic artists, and page designers.

Origin and scope of the term[]

File:Riot PetionVille.jpg

A Cameraman-Reporter during a MINUSTAH mission in 2007

In the early 19th century, journalist simply meant someone who wrote for journals, such as Charles Dickens in his early career. In the past century it has come to mean a writer for newspapers and magazines as well.

Many people consider journalist interchangeable with reporter, a person who gathers information and creates a written report or story. However, this overlooks many other types of journalists, including columnists, leader writers, photographers, editorial designers, and sub-editors (British) or copy editors (American). The only major distinction is that designers, writers and art directors who work exclusively on advertising material - that is, material in which the content is shaped by the person buying the ad, rather than the publication - are not considered journalists.

Regardless of medium, the term journalist carries a connotation or expectation of professionalism in reporting, with consideration for truth, fairness, balance, decency and ethics - although standards can vary widely between publications. Some mass-market newspapers make no pretence of impartiality, though, in countries such as the UK, they generally adhere to an industry-wide code of conduct -- such as maintaining truthfulness. Some editors argue that lack of bias is impossible to achieve, so it is, in fact, more honest to adopt an editorial opinion while ensuring material is factually accurate

18th-century journalists[]

  • Joseph Addison - wrote many of the finest pieces in Steele's publications (1713-1714), The Monitor (1714), The Manufacturer (1719-21), The Commentator (1720) and The Director (1720-1721)
  • Daniel Defoe - as editor of the Review, he can claim to have invented many of the most popular formats, including the eye-witness report, the travel piece and the strongly opinionated column. Defoe's Review began publication on February 19, 1704, and lasted until June 11, 1713. He was also involved in several other periodicals, including The Master Mercury (1704), Mercator: or, Commerce Retrieved
  • Richard Steele - founded and edited London-based periodicals including The Guardian and The Spectator in the early 1700s.

19th-century journalists[]

  • Nellie Bly (1865-1922) - undercover reporter
  • William Cowper Brann (1855-1898) - colorful editor of the Iconoclast in Waco, Texas
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge - political essayist, poet, and reporter
  • Charles Dickens (1812-1870) - started as a shorthand writer logging debates in the courts and Houses of Parliament before becoming a Parliamentary journalist
  • Henry Dunckley (1823- 1896), editor of Manchester Examiner and Times
  • Pierce Egan (1772-1849) - early sportswriter and reporter on popular culture
  • Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) - newspaper editor and correspondent in India
  • Thomas Power O'Connor (1848-1929) - editor of the Star, the Weekly Sun, the Sun, M.A.P. and T.P.’s Weekly.
  • Jacob Riis (1849-1914) - journalist and slum reformer
  • Anne Newport Royall - crusading reporter, author, newspaper publisher, first journalist to publish an interview with a sitting US President
  • George Augustus Henry Sala (1828-1895) - editor and columnist

20th-century print journalists[]

  • Samuel Hopkins Adams (1871-1958) - American investigative journalist
  • Jack Anderson - considered one of the fathers of investigative journalism
  • Pierre Berton (1920-2004) - colourful Klondike-born Canadian nationalist figure and longtime journalist, author-historian, and broadcaster
  • Collin Brooks (1893 - 1959) - journalist, broadcaster, writer, member of the Brains Trust and early Any Questions teams, right-hand-man for many years of Harold Sidney Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Rothermere
  • Herb Caen - a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle from the late 1930s until his passing in 1997
  • James Cameron - British correspondent and famed pacifist.
  • Albert Camus (1913-1960) - member of the French Resistance cell Combat, which published an underground newspaper of the same name, became the editor in 1943.
  • Winston Churchill (1874-1965) - war correspondent in the Second Boer War
  • Basil Clarke (1879-1947) - war correspondent in the First World War.
  • Claud Cockburn (1904-1981) - radical Irish journalist
  • Liang Youchang - Chinese journalist for Xinhua News Agency.
  • C.P. Connolly (1863-1935) - radical American investigative journalist associated for many years with Collier's Weekly.
  • Brad Darrach (1921-1997) - celebrity journalist
  • WF Deedes - Former British cabinet minister and editor of the London-based Daily Telegraph from 1974 to 1986
  • Paul Foot (1938-2004) - British investigative journalist
  • Brian J. Ford - writer on science for national newspapers and magazine columnist.
  • Allan Fotheringham - witty and influential Canadian journalist and commentator for the Vancouver Sun, Maclean's Magazine and the Globe and Mail.
  • Martha Gellhorn (1908-1998) - American war correspondent
  • Carl Gordon (1931-2002) - West of Scotland based Journalist and columnist for The Glasgow Herald
  • Emily Hahn (1905-1997) - wrote extensively on China
  • Ernest Hemingway (1899)-(1961) - novelist and war correspondent
  • John L. Hess (1917-2005) - journalist, food critic for the New York Times
  • Bruce Hutchison (1901-1992) - long-time editor of the Vancouver Sun and writer/reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press and the Victoria Times, and editor of several books; considered the dean of British Columbian journalists
  • Ronan Keenan (1942-2006) - South African sports writer
  • Frederick C Klein (1938- ) - author and sports columnist for The Wall Street Journal
  • Andrew Kopkind (1935-1994) - radical American journalist wrote extensively social movements in the 1960s
  • Will Lang Jr. (1914-1968) - staff reporter and bureau chief for Time and Life magazines
  • A.J. Liebling (1904-1963) - American journalist closely associated with The New Yorker
  • Walter Lippmann (1889-1974)
  • H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) - essayist, critic, and editor of The Baltimore Sun
  • Margaret Lally "Ma" Murray (1908-1982)- editor and co-publisher of the outspoken and colourful backcountry newspaper, the Bridge River-Lillooet News and, later, the Alaska Highway News
  • George Orwell (1903-1950) - reported on poverty, misery, and the Spanish Civil War
  • Robert Palmer (1945-1997) - first full-time, chief pop music critic for The New York Times, Rolling Stone contributing editor
  • Daniel Pearl (1963-2002) - foreign correspondent for the Wall Street Journal
  • William Rees-Mogg - editor of The Times newspaper from 1967 to 1981
  • James ("Scotty") Reston (1909-1995), political commentator for the New York Times
  • Paul Saint Pierre - (1923-present) - reporter, columnist, commentator in the Vancouver Sun and nationally across Canada, also a long-time Member of Parliament
  • Adela Rogers St. Johns - (1894-1988) - American journalist, novelist, and screenwriter
  • George Seldes (1890-1995) - American journalist, editor and publisher of In Fact
  • George Bernard Shaw - better known as a playwright, but influential as a music writer and wrote other forms of journalism
  • Randy Shilts - reporter for The Advocate and San Francisco Chronicle
  • Edgar Snow - pro-socialist journalist and writer, chronicled the Chinese revolution
  • Maximo V. Soliven - journalist, war correspondent, respected columnist, publisher: Philippine Star
  • I.F. Stone (1907-1989), investigative journalist, publisher of I.F. Stone's Weekly
  • Anna Louise Strong pro-socialist journalist and writer
  • Hunter S. Thompson - father of Gonzo journalism, author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
  • Levi Vega Martinez (1927-2002) - Costa Rican environmental journalist
  • Jack Wasserman - social/celebrity and political columnist for the Vancouver Sun beginning in 1949; Western Canada's equivalent to Walter Winchell
  • Gary Webb (1955-2004) - Investigative journalist best known for his 1996 "Dark Alliance" series in the San Jose Mercury News, which detailed links between the illegally US funded Contras in Nicaragua, the Central Intelligence Agency, and crack cocaine distribution in American cities
  • Walter Winchell (1897-1972), American political columnist, radio broadcaster
  • Bob Woodward - Washington Post reporter, helped uncover the Watergate scandal of President Richard Nixon, in a historical journalistic partnership with Carl Bernstein; earned two Pulitzer Prizes
  • Shane Ruttle Martinez, human rights journalist
  • Kenji Nagai, Japanese journalist covering protests in Myanmar 2007 killed by soldiers during shooting rallies

20th-century broadcast journalists[]

  • Jeremy Paxman, Legendary television journalist, interviewer and 'interrogator' for BBC Newsnight
  • Paula Zahn, a journalist and news anchor for CNN, previously a news anchor for CBS News.
  • Patrice Barrat, a journalist and documentary producer; best known for investigating on globalization and major regional and international conflicts
  • Lowell Bergman, a television producer for the CBS news magazine 60 Minutes; best known for investigating the tobacco industry (played by Al Pacino in the film The Insider)
  • David Brinkley, television anchor and interview show host on the American networks ABC and NBC
  • John Wilson journalist (1940 - ), Born Colac, Victoria, Australia. Journalist (The Age), (The Sydney Morning Herald), (Townsville Daily Bulletin), (National Times), (Queensland Times), (Ballarat Courier), (Daily Mirror - Sydney), (Channel Nine - Melbourne/Brisbane), (New Idea), (Brisbane Telegraph). Wrote under the name John Steed in New Zealand (The Dominion), (Sunday Times). Was Editor of ComputerNews (
  • Tom Brokaw, television journalist and former anchor and managing editor of The NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw
  • Tony Burman, editor in chief of CBC, the Canadian national public broadcaster; serves as an editorial policy-maker in Canada
  • Deborah Byrd, creator and lead producer of the daily Earth & Sky science radio series.
  • Alpaslan Düven, a journalist (www.acı Representative of Poland
  • Vernon Corea, a pioneering radio journalist and announcer with Radio Ceylon/SLBC and the BBC
  • Walter Cronkite, former United Press correspondent, TV anchor for CBS News in the 50s, 60s
  • Bob Edwards, anchor of Morning Edition on National Public Radio from 1979-2004
  • Brian J. Ford, host of 'Science Now' and 'Food for Thought', commentator on science.
  • Amy Goodman, anchor of Democracy Now on Pacifica radio
  • Abraham Gubler, a television producer, magazine editor, journalist and broadcaster; best known for coverage of Iraq War
  • Ed Hooper, Magazine editor, journalist, radio and television broadcaster
  • Peter Jennings, television anchor for ABC
  • Jim Lehrer, anchor of The Newshour with Jim Lehrer
  • Dan Rather, succeeded Cronkite as managing editor and primary anchor of the CBS Evening News
  • Edward R. Murrow, CBS News radio correspondent in London Blitz, maker of TV documentaries, noted interviewer (played by David Strathairn in the film Good Night, and Good Luck)
  • Bill O'Reilly, anchor of The O'Reilly Factor on FoxNews
  • Sorious Samura, CNN TV documentary maker from Sierra Leone
  • Shepard Smith, anchor of The Fox Report on Fox News
  • Fritz Spiegl, popularizer of classical music for the BBC
  • Greta Van Susteren, anchor of On the Record with Greta Van Susteren on Fox News
  • Brian Williams, succeeded Brokaw as managing editor and anchor of The NBC Nightly News
  • Charlie Bird, successful Irish journalist for RTÉ.
  • A. Wyatt tilby, editor of The Evening Standard 1915-1916.

Internet-only journalists[]

In recent years the numbers of journalists publishing only on the Internet, as opposed to print or broadcast journalists whose work also appears online, has grown enormously. Some of the best-known include:

  • Matt Drudge - Probably the first famous Internet-only journalist, for his work around scandals of the Clinton administration in the United States.
  • Richard Menta - Editor at MP3 Newswire and
  • Nina Merabet - Editor at Journalist Direct.

Journalists writing fiction[]

There are many examples of journalists who made their mark writing fiction or other non-journalism, including:

  • Collin Brooks (1893 - 1959) journalist, broadcaster, writer, produced over 50 assorted books ranging from economics and legal issues to novels and detective fiction
  • Anthony Burgess, who wrote vast quantities of reviews and was famously fired as literary critic of the Yorkshire Post
  • Amanda Craig, who writes satirical novels about English society
  • Joan Didion
  • Frederick Forsyth
  • David Gates, who wrote about books and music for Newsweek
  • Stephen Glass, who wrote the novel The Fabulist after being fired from The New Republic.
  • Graham Greene, who worked originally as sub-editor on The Times
  • Carl Hiaasen, who writes about the corruption and glitter of Miami and Miami Beach, which he also covered as a reporter.
  • Ernest Hemingway, Nobel-Prize winning novelist, who also famously started his writing career as a cub-reporter with the Kansas City Star. He reported on both the Spanish Civil War, and the Second World War.
  • Arturo Pérez Reverte and Manuel Leguineche were war correspondents before becoming successful Spanish novelists.
  • Susan Sontag
  • Hunter S. Thompson,
  • Calvin Trillin
  • Ronnie Virgets
  • Tom Wolfe

Modern journalists[]

The explosion of modern media, including the creation of Internet-based news sources and the possibility that citizen journalism will greatly expand the field, has made it all but impossible to identify which journalists are notable, in the sense that they could be identified in the past. The global justice protests in Seattle (1999) gave rise to the independent media movement, exemplified by the Indymedia network, a collective of independent media organizations and hundreds of journalists offering grassroots, non-corporate coverage.

Ethics in Journalism[]

Most journalists in the USA adhere to the standards and norms expressed in the Society of Professional Journalists ethical code.[1] Foremost in the minds of most practicing journalists is the issue of maintaining credibility, "Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist's credibility." See Preamble

See also[]


  • World Journalists
  • Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
  • Copy editor
  • Foreign correspondent
  • International Freedom of Expression Exchange - monitors attacks on journalists
  • Inverted pyramid - generally accepted method for composing a news story
  • Investigative journalist
  • Journalism
  • Journalism awards
  • Journalism scandals
  • Journalism school
  • Lists of authors
  • Muckraker
  • Newsroom
  • Objectivity (journalism)
  • People's correspondent
  • Reporters sans frontières (Reporters Without Borders)
  • Scribe
  • Scientific journalist
  • Society of Professional Journalists - US professional organization
  • Sportswriter
  • War correspondent

External links[]

Credit and categories[]

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