JOURNALISM. Journalism is a compre hensive term which signifies the business of producing a public journal. In a general way it is applied to the vocation of making news papers. Broadly speaking it is both a business and a profession, though the name of journalist as commonly understood is limited to those who are engaged on the editorial or news or literary side of the production rather than on the business side. While editor and journalist are not strictly synonymous — the former mean ing the head of a paper or a department and the latter any literary worker on a newspaper— they are often used as convertible terms.
In a large sense the subject involves the functions of journalism as collector and pur veyor of news and as leader and exponent of public opinion; the ethics of journalism in its various fields of political, religious, literary, social and commercial aim and representation; the relations of the counting room to the edi torial department; the training and qualifica tions of the journalist; in short, the mission, methods, responsibilities and obligations of journalism. All of these general phases are deeply affected by the physical conditions of the business. During the closing years of the 19th century these conditions were practically revolutionized. In the mechanical facilities of production, in the cheapening of white paper and in the instrumentalities of news collection there has been an extraordinary advance. This great change in the material factors wrought a corresponding change in the scope and character of journalism. Not only as a business enter prise but as a public influence it took on new aspects.
The remarkable development of later years touches every side of the material production of a newspaper. The old, limited, slow-moving printing press has been transformed into the ingenious and gigantic quadruple or octuple which converts the plain white roll into com plete, folded papers at the rate of 30,000 to 40,000 an hour. The number of pages may be determined at will, even at the last moment before going to press, thus responding to the exigencies of the news; and the application of the half-tone and of color at undiminished speed permits pictorial effects. Simultaneously with this improvement in the printing press has come the Linotype which substitutes machine type setting for hand composition. A third vital advance has been the penfection of the process of making paper out of wood-pulp, which has vastly increased the supply and greatly de creased the cost of white paper.
These radical changes in the elemental busi ness factors have jargely modified the con ditions of journalism. They have opened the way to unlimited production and have enor mously cheapened the cost of the single copy. Penny and two-cent papers have become the prevailing rule. Immense circulations have thus been rendered possible, and where, about 1875, the edition even of the most widely read papers was comparatively limited not a few now issue scores and even hundreds of thousands of copies a day. At the same time the initial cost of the newspaper plant with its expensive ma chinery and the magnitude of the daily trans actions require a far larger outlay than in the earlier time and the business has come to be one demanding much greater capital.
All of these circumstances have inevitably and powerfully molded the course and char acter of journalism. They have given increased importance to its business side, and have tended to make business considerations in the publica tion still more dominant. The effect has been twofold and somewhat contradictory. The great capabilities of the business with the re duced cost of telegraphing have stimulated and quickened journalistic enterprise and have broadened the range of the journalistic field. The scope of journalism has been enlarged and in many cases its standard has been elevated. Within a sphere, perhaps too limited, the best and worthiest effort is accepted as the best busi ness. But, on the other hand, the competition for great circulations has bred sensationalism and a pandering to the taste for personal and piquant matters. There is an eager and fever ish struggle for the unusual, the dramatic and the spectacular, a constant straining for effect, a lavishness of gscareheadsp and garish pic tures, a studied and persistent search for ob jects of criticism and attack The appetite for the effervescent grows by what it feeds on, and must be met by new excitation. This rivalry of explosive and paroxysmal journalism is car ried on with too little sense of responsibility and verification, and while the notable manifes tations are exceptional and it would not he just to say that the infection has extended through journalism, it is nevertheless true that its in jurious influence is widely perceptible.