Journalism is an important profession that highlights and addresses important issues facing the general population in order to improve the lives of the members of the society. Unfortunately, most societies do not have developed informative instruments that can enable them to effectively access and produce information for the purpose of fully addressing their concerns. Therefore, they mostly rely on media professionals, such as journalists, to provide them with the right information. However, it is noted that journalists and other media workers do not simply get news and produce it, but rather manipulate it in a manner that interests their organizations or other institutions. This results in distortion of the news content and raises concern about ethical standards of media professionals.

The paper discusses the impact of political economy on the mass media and journalists. It also highlights the best practices that should be applied in news making.

According to Harcup (2009), journalism is an important factor in determining the content of media products consumed by the society. He notes that each society is normally characterized by different cultures that dictate the mode according to which they consume information delivered by the media. In primitive societies where each member tends to play a role of a journalist, gossip has been the mode of sharing media news. This has at times distorted the content of the news disseminated in the society. Harcup points out that journalists play an important role not only in the gathering and disseminating of relevant media news, but also in enhancing the content of news consumed by each member of the society.

However, journalists and other media workers have been seen to envisage a partisan role in promoting their organizations’ brand image, rather than concentrating on the content of the news being gathered and produced. As pointed out by Harcup (2009), the stem of lousy journalism that limits professionalism of journalists to the content of the news produced is not based on either moral bankruptcy or untalented media workers, but rather on their organizations that rationalize the content of the news being gathered and produced. He notes that the media have been seen to rely heavily on elites, business firms, and governments for their information. These elites have been applying pressure on the media to make them withdraw ads and programs which they perceive as being of no importance to them. This has in turn made journalists and other media workers gather and produce information that can best address personal interests of these elite groups.

The paper discusses the impact of political economy on the mass media and journalists. It also highlights the best practices that should be applied in news making.

Political Economy and Mass Media Making

According to Boyd-Barrett (2006), political economy is social interactions and relations of organizations with a view of consolidating power that dictates the production, distribution, and consumption of the mass media. He points out that journalists and other media workers have been under pressure from political economy that primarily dictates media ownership and control over what the mass media produce. He notes that political economy has caused most media organizations to consolidate, diversify, and commercialize their media-making processes, rather than concentrate on the content of the mass media they gather and produce. For instance, journalists and other media workers have transformed the content of the news they gather and produce in a valuable manner that makes profit, and not information, a priority.

As pointed out by Hemmings (2000), journalists and other media workers normally envisage their large and influential corporations’ interests in their mass media content. He notes that in most cases, journalists and other media workers transform the content of the raw information that they receive from people. They normally incorporate such a media production process to ensure their organizations of an audience and intrusion in the market place. According to Hemmings, journalists normally generate headlines or stories that are intended to attract and continuously maintain their organization’s audience so as to sustain and grow their power in the market penetration through mass media acquisition. He points out that this has made journalists engage in mass media bureaucracy that has little interest in public affairs, but rather enables their organizations to gain more tax revenues.

Hemmings (2000) points out that deception is a routine component that marks journalists and other media workers’ activities. According to him, journalists have used deception as a tool in informing the public on illegal practices carried out by government officials. He argues that the rational of such public informative model is more intended to promote an organization’s interest rather than increase public awareness. For instance, journalists and other media workers normally use media coverage of election-related issues to strengthen voters’ predisposition and promote the interests of media investors (Prat & Stromberg, 2011). Media workers normally present their media content in a manner that makes people believe in the importance of the issue they address, such as credibility of politicians.

However, the media content is usually seen to concentrate less on the political system, but rather on the impact of election result on addressing economic variables. This is intended to enable people to elect leaders who would use their political base in promoting the economic standards of media organizations. Additionally, they point out that the manner in which media outlets interact in presenting biased information to gain audience primarily shows the extent to which journalist and other media workers tend to undermine their professionalism.

According to Herman (2003), the propaganda model that is envisaged among the journalists and other media works demonstrates the impact of political economy on mass media production. Herman defines a propaganda model as a structural component of profit-seeking investors who want their ads to effectively appear in a manner that supports their intrusion in the market. He points out that the principles and ideologies that journalists base their work on in gaining information are primarily dependent on elite forces and their continued involvement in propaganda campaigns to promote the interests of these elite groups.

Such propaganda campaigns normally see journalists and other media workers debate media biasness by interactively engaging conservatives who normally criticize the media for allowing excessive room for liberals. This is normally intended to present the media as behaving in a manner that fairly promotes democracy, while in the actual case it is a deception model that promotes the interest of the few elites. Herman (2003) points out that these few elites normally see the potentiality of using journalists as a way of gaining the popular audience of the masses who are seen to have poor judgment formulation, thereby promoting their personal interests.

According to Grossberg (2006), journalists and other media workers have continuously utilized the concept of audience as market devices to promote the interests of the few elite representatives. He notes that the construction of the audience as market devices by media professionals does not only create a consumer society, but rather presents consumers as commodity objects that are entitled for profit-making. For instance, journalists and other media workers normally produce interactive stories that are intended to capture and maintain media audiences. This is what they sell out to other media producers, such as advertisers. Pereira (2006) points out that by mainstreaming interactive stories and television programs through the audiences, media organizations are able to sell out their audience to advertisers by embedding their ads in their media programs. This means that journalists and other media workers must devise and incorporate interactive elements in their stories, so as to gain larger audiences that can enable an organization to make more profit by delivering such audiences to advertisers.

How to Make News

Ostertag (2008) terms news as information that is displayed and accessed by people in order to enable them to make rational decisions on their lives. He notes that access to important information plays a central role in defining the significance of people within their culture in a society. He points out that lack of proper definition of news among journalists has made them be eligible to external forces in promoting their selfish interests, thus making it hard to produce newsworthy reports to the audiences. He points out that this has created a conflict between journalists and raw information providers who accuse journalists of distorting and not capturing newsworthy events.

Preston (2009) points out that journalists and reporters should not always discriminate some places, while always locating themselves other places because of the prior belief and hope to get news. He notes that this makes them vulnerable to forces that can easily affect their manner of professionalism. Preston points out that more than three quarters of sources highlighted in newspapers, magazines, and television programs as produced by journalists normally concentrate on public officials. This shows how the elite sources, such as government officials and powerful organizations, influence most of the information delivered by journalists and other media workers.

Conclusion

In conclusion, professionalism of journalist and other media workers has been overridden by the presence of powerful and influential elites. There is, therefore, a need for journalists and other media workers not to distort the content of the raw material provided to create a consumer society that promotes organizations’ profit-making processes. There is also a need for journalists and other media workers not to concentrate on public officials, as they would make them depend on such authorities, which in turn can negatively affect the covering of the society’s events. Moreover, their conduct and activities should emulate the principle of journalism, rather than promote selfish interests of the few elite groups.

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