Professionalization of Journalism

John Merrill’s article entitled Professionalization of Journalism discussed the different aspects and issues of journalism as a profession. In the beginning of the text, Merill explained the true meaning and essence of Journalism as it shows the context of individual and public responsibility of Journalists towards its society. As he unravels the meaning of journalism, he also discussed and explained the meaning of professionalism. According to him along with his evidences from different studies on Journalism and Professionalism, professionalism is a sensitive issue at work.

Once a person is known as a professional, he or she must obtain the quality of professionalism. In spite of the fact that the idea of professionalism is growing in American journalism, individual journalists do not really know what journalistic professionalism entails, what being a “professional” really means. (Merrill 40). Merrill showed through his evidences that journalists act as professionals even if they do not even know the true essence and quality of being a professional that made these individuals unreliable and irrational.

Based on Merrill’s studies on Journalism as a profession, he perceived that Journalism is not a profession.

“Obviously it is not, although it has some of a profession’s characteristics. There is no direct relationship between the journalist and hid client. There is, in journalism, no minimum entrance requirement; anybody can be a journalist who can get himself hired – experience or no experience, degree or no degree,” (40). Merrill illustrates the facts and arguments towards the issue of being a professional journalist. According to him, a person or an individual can be called professional, once he or she is a graduate in a certain course for his or her future career.

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In journalism, he perceived that many journalists have no degree because in reality, journalism has no restrictions. Everyone can be a journalist. To be able to solve the issues of “unprofessional in journalism,” Merrill described and discussed some of the aspects that a potential journalist needs to obtain. There are different academic institutions that give knowledge on journalism as a course. They teach students to become prepared in their tasks as journalists not as a personal responsibility but as a professional responsibility whom they need to meet certain standards and requirements.

Although it is changing rather rapidly, training or education for journalism in the United States has been very much a piecemeal spotty, uneven and diversifies system (42). Because this society is a free country as it liberates its people, many of the journalists became unaware of the essence of being a journalist as it embodies professionalism. That is why many educational sectors pursue their agenda of educating the future journalists as well as journalists today to become competent individuals as they bring their thoughts, ideas, and data to people.

At the end of the text, the author perceived new hope and light towards this issue. He justified that sooner or later, journalism will become a great profession that many of us will respect and authorize. However, students, educators, and today’s journalists need to join their path to a better idea and elevate their status into a sophisticated responsibility towards their society. They are committed ones; those who are certain that, with rational and skillful thought and action, they can succeed in institutionalized education and journalism without sacrificing themselves (44).

Ruthlessness in Public Life Thomas Nagel’s article entitled Ruthlessness in Public Life defines and describes how public officials need to do their tasks and responsibilities towards their people. Most often than not, public officials always tend to incorporate personal agendas as they perform their duties. Because of this, personal aspects are first obtained rather than the needs of the public. Public figures are not supposed to use their power openly to enrich themselves and their families, or to obtain sexual favors (Nagel 77).

The public official’s power should be done within the context of nation’s capability to uplift but it was not done in real world. Everybody knows that in reality, most public officials used their power as their way of proclaiming their personal interests rather than the people’s needs. The pleasure of power is not easily acknowledged, but it is one of the most primitive human feelings – probably one with infantile roots (77). Through this statement, Nagel illustrated the fact that power is a privilege that once used in certain aspects of humanity; it is unredeemable for it was acted upon certain limitations and restrictions.

Because this issue lies on the aspect of human power while being a public official, there are some probable solution to the argument that we continue to discuss in different parts of the world. According to Nigel (79), every obligation or commitment reserves some portion of general pool of motivated action for a special purpose. It was shown that if these public officials will think of the reality as whole in terms of ways of living, the society and its justification, they would probably restrict themselves from acting for their own luxuries and agendas while there are in power.

There must also be no favoritism and indulgence while they are in office to avoid indirect transactions from the public that cause anomalous business and communications. It is also important to consider the importance of morality and respect to higher authority or the law. As they were elected as public officials, they must do their responsibilities according to the law of the morality. Through this, overpowering will be lessened or soon will diminish within officials’ sense of leadership. Even if public morality is not derivable from private, however, it does not mean that they are independent to one another (78).

It shows that though public morality is a private concept of sociological aspect, it should be considered in this issue because somehow, it is connected to power and authority. Aside from this, in whatever outcome that may happen is a certain procedure, there must be a willingness to respect and to listen to the result and verification as part of the law or authority and morality. At the end of the text, the author suggested that public life is an open book that people can see and hear. It is a commitment not only to the position but also to the nation.

He stated in the last part of his article towards public officials that if one of them take on a public role, he accepts certain obligations, certain restrictions, and certain limitations on what he may do (83). Through this, public officials can work on their position with dignity and pride without any act of malicious thinking and dissemination whether private or public institutions that they hold while they are in office.


Merrill, J. (date). Professionalization of Journalism. p. 39-44 Nagel, T. (date). Ruthlessness in Public Life. p. 76-83

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Professionalization of Journalism. (2017, May 01). Retrieved from

Professionalization of Journalism
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