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What makes journalism art?

Written by Arts, Culture

To work out whether journalism is art, we must first recognise how difficult this is to define, especially with respect to art. This is because the term incorporates so many different and disparate forms.

However, I would argue that art is, at its very core, a mode of expression. Journalism fits comfortably within this definition, but then so does something as separate and different from art as texting with a friend. Therefore, this question needs to be explored further.

Art is not confined to that which is true and based in fact, whereas journalism is arguably grounded in these principles. In practice, however, we have become accustomed to embellished and sensationalised journalism, reaching its peak with the age of ‘fake news’. Whilst this might be criticised as bad journalism, these instances also highlight how complicated and subjective the notion of truth actually is. As such, artistic license and modern journalistic culture are not necessarily as different as we might first think.

This is also complicated by how we categorise journalists and artists, not least because many are both.

Whilst it can be argued that, unlike artists, journalists should remain objective and impartial in their approach, this is both impossible achieve (given how hard it is to separate fact from opinion) and not necessarily desirable. For instance, opinion articles like this one require the journalist to express their thoughts and feelings. On the other hand, it has been argued that the art is separate from the artist, with Roland Barthes’ “Death of the Author”, for example, critiquing writer-centric interpretations of literature that focus on author’s intentions and biography. Therefore, journalism can both be interpreted as highly individualistic or far removed from the journalist’s subjectivities and still qualify as art.

Featured Image: Wikipedia

Last modified: 16th November 2020

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