Journalism is a fast paced profession; once your story is filed you must move on and prepare for your next article and deadline. It is this ever-continuing cycle that does not allow working journalists to not only reflect, but to critically analyse their work.
At this point in time the only chance a journalist gets to reflect on their work is when a complaint has been made (Hill 2007). Reflection would allow journalists to look back at their work and identify what has worked well and what hasn’t.
All areas of a journalists work should be reflected upon, the research process, the interviewing style as well as who they used in the story and finally how the story was written. Upon reflection of their work journalists could identify better sources, different angles and questions, which would all improve their latter work. If journalists could undertake this reflective practice they could be ever improving. Like all things in life we all want to continue to get better.
‘Reflective Practice’ has been working its way into the journalism industry. There is a rise in Journalism practice and theory; journalists are interrogating their decision-making and approaches (Niblock 2007).
Reflective Practice does not only benefit the working journalist, it is equally important for the learning journalist. Like the working journalist, reflective practice will give strong insight to the student journalists into their own work, but allows them access to a wide variety of information on the practical theory of journalism, through the reflective practice of working journalists.
Student Journalists are learning what they need in the industry first hand from the journalists in the field. By learning from reflective practice of working journalists, the student journalists are gaining an understanding of the vital aims of practical theory of journalism such as what makes a good news story, critical understanding of journalism and the capacity for rational analysis (Herbert 2000).
As reflective practice assists journalists to improve their work, it also allows them to gain a better understanding of how they help shape public opinion. Journalists can have a large impact on the public’s opinion on an issue. Therefore, it is important they take this responsibility seriously. Journalists must make sure they don’t get caught in the ‘heat of the moment’, yes deadlines need to be kept, but consideration of what you have said and how it will affect the public needs to take place (Cherkaoui 2009).
Reflective Practice is a valuable tool in developing new journalists as well as those in the field. While student journalists have the extra time to critically reflect their own work as well as learn from the reflections of working journalists, there are still many journalists who do not reflect on their work. All journalists should, as Schön puts it, “reflect in action” (Schön 1987) so that Journalists work is ever improving.
Cherkaoui, M 2009, Responsible Journalism series: Media as critical reflective practice, Common Ground News Service, viewed 23 March 2012, http://www.commongroundnews.org/article.php?id=25300&lan=en&sp=0
Herbert, J 2000, Journalism in the digital age, Reed Educational and Professional Publishing Ltd.
Hill, S 2007, Reflective Practice for Journalists, New Journalism Review, web log post, 5 May, viewed 23 March 2012, http://newjournalismreview.com/2007/05/05/reflective-practice-for-journalists/
Niblock, S 2007, From “Knowing Nothing” to “Being Able”, Journalism Practice Volume 1, Issue 1, viewed on 23 March 2012, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17512780601078829
Schön, D 1987, Educating the reflective practitioner. Toward a new design for teaching and learning in the profession. San Francisco.