What is Development Journalism?
Journalism plays basics roles of information, education and entertainment in any society. The underlying goal of these basic roles is to keep the society alive and functional. This is how journalism primarily facilitates development at various levels and from different facets of existence. Development is a multifaceted term that deals with improvement of live from various aspects such as infrastructure, social, economic, political, religious and such other spheres of living. Journalism that facilitates the survival and improvement of life is what development journalism as a concept refers to.
Development, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is the act or process of growing or causing something to grow or become larger or more advanced while journalism is defined the activity or job of collecting, writing, and editing news stories for newspapers, magazines, television, or radio. This then means that development journalism consists of writing news stories aimed at encouraging, promoting and sustaining the growth of something.
According to various definitions of the term “development journalism” shows that it is approached from two perspectives. From one context it refers to the communication process that is used to serve the development goals of the government (Ogan, 1982; McMahon, 2023). Also called development support communication, such journalism makes use of all forms – mass media, folk media, and small group and interpersonal communication – to promote the total development plans of an authoritarian regime. From the other perspective, development journalism is defined in a manner similar to that of investigative reporting. Viewed in this manner, the role of the development journalist is to examine critically the existing development programs and projects of a government, compare the planned project with its actual implementation, and report any observed shortcomings (Ogan, 1982; McMahon, 2023).
While one perspective sees development journalism from heavy influence of government, the second and lost recent perspective sees it from the point of view of investigative reporting, especially focusing on conditions in developing nations and ways to improve them (McMahon, 2023). This chapter picks its operational definition of development journalism from the second perspective of investigative news gathering and dissemination aimed at promoting development concerns in the society. In this regard, development journalism is seen as a catalyst and purveyor of development in any society.
Development journalism plays social activism role in the society. In communities where most people are unaware of potential dangers in their environment, development journalism opens their eyes to problems still lurking in the shadows and encourages them to engage in behavioural change or mobilize community members to work towards solving addressing the challenges. Through social activism, development journalists can plays pro-active role capable of transforming an underdeveloped community.
Development journalism is an avenue for the press to perform their social responsibility function to the society. This is objective, people-oriented, development-inclined journalism primarily aimed at making the society a better place to exist. The development journalist is at the frontline of responsibility-propelled development communication to stimulate positive change ind rural and urban areas.