McQuail in his text develops the idea that journalism is a field made for the society, it is here the serve it, to inform it, to be true to it. This is the essence of journalism, and its first client, since it was born, is the people. This does look like a beautiful ideal, a world where the press could be free from everything, and simply inform us and entertain us. The freedom of speech is then necessary to achieve this goal, however, McQuail demonstrates that there is a strong duality in journalism: the ideals tend to be strongly opposed to the reality of the field. Money in power take a lot of room in the newsroom, and the freedom of journalists can easily be questioned. information disappears behind that some time. Here is an example. On the main public French channel, some months ago, a journalist interviewed a candidate for the presidential elections. Everybody knew that this candidate was not supported by the actual government who was then kind of directing the TV channel. However, the journalist, willing to do his job correctly, interviewed the candidate in order to inform us on his political program, not in order to demonstrate that he was not the one we should vote for. This presenter, few days after the interview, was downgraded to the midday news. Here it is not even about the freedom of speech, it is just about being a journalist working for the audience. Yet is it possible? The impressive list of questions asked by McQuail in his conclusion makes me tend to think that freedom of speech, ethic, and serving the society, is more a dream than a reality in journalism.
Aurore De Granier De Cassagnac
McQuail, Denis. “What is Journalism? How is it Linked to Society?” Journalism and Society. London: Sage, 2005. 1-26.
France 2 TV Channel