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The 9 journalistic genres (explained and classified)

In the newspapers we can find all kinds of information, both on recent events and on subjects of interest or on public figures.

There are several journalistic genres, types of texts in which we can classify the articles that we find in a newspaper or magazine, both on paper and online, which meet different degrees of objectivity and in a more or less to a great extent the opinion of their author.

Next, we will find out what are the main journalistic genres, in which groups they are included and what characteristics each of them have.

The main journalistic genres

When we speak of journalistic genres, we are referring to the different ways you can communicate and report on the same event.

It is considered that genres can be grouped into three major groups: informational, opinionated, and interpretive or mixed. Journalistic texts are included in one or the other major group depending on the degree of objectivity their author takes or whether he expresses his position on a certain issue.

Originally, journalistic genres were born out of print media, but with the development and expansion of new technologies, we can find these three types of genres in the form of different texts in digital and audiovisual media. These can be found in a multitude of texts in different formats. Let’s find out.

Informative genres

Informative genres are characterized by the exposure of events from specific data. The author should try to convey the information as objectively as possible. Within this great journalistic genre, we mainly find news, reporting and interviews.

1. News

The news is an article that informs about a recent, current and interesting event. This genre is considered the most important and representative among those of the informative type, and it can well be said that without the news journalism would be meaningless. Its content is very varied, which can cover subjects related to politics, economy, society, culture, the world of sport …

Two characteristics allow us to differentiate information from other journalistic genres: brevity and objectivity. The objective of the news is none other than to report an event, without adding any type of analysis or commentary that suggests the position taken by the author in this regard. The writing of a news item must be adjusted as precisely as possible to the events that have occurred.

When writing an article, avoid using adjectives that denote subjectivity, especially prefixes, personal pronouns, or first person verbs. In general, use short, clear and simple sentences.

The usual information structure is an inverted pyramid, in the sense that this type of text uses the technique of journalistic storytelling, starting with what is most important and ending with what is less important. In this journalistic genre, the following can be included.

The headline should use a font that stands out from the rest of the news, generally using bold and a larger font size. The verbal ellipse predominates there (ignore verbs). With him, the main fact in question is expressed.

Lead is the first paragraph of the news, which contains the main body of information, but not necessarily a summary. It must be sufficiently complete and autonomous so that the reader, by reading it, gets an idea of ​​the fundamentals of current events. This is where you can find answers to the classic questions of what (what), who (who), how (how), where (where), when (when) and why (why).

The body of the news is the news itself, appearing in a font smaller than the title and lead. It is presented divided into paragraphs in which the information expressed in the entry is developed in more detail, including background information, the consequences of what happened and the current situation of the issue being addressed in the news. The comments of the persons concerned appear in indirect style and also in direct style in quotation marks.

2. The report

Reports are essentially news scopes, in which detailed information about an event is offered, analyzing its circumstances, antecedents and consequences and gathering the opinions of those involved (witnesses and protagonists).

They can include the journalist’s opinions or ratings, which makes the information a bit more subjective, which is why there are those who see it as mixed.

3. The interview

The interview is the journalistic genre in which the conversation the journalist has with an important figure is reproduced verbatim. Its two most common modalities are:

  • Pure interview: the questions and answers are reproduced verbatim without comments.
  • Interview-report: the character, his environment, his behavior are introduced and biographical data are added. The questions and answers are prepared in a literary way based on the observations and observations of the investigator.
The 9 journalistic genres (explained and classified)

Types of opinion

As the name suggests, opinion genres are those types of articles where subjectivity predominates. The journalist, editor or specialist shows his point of view on a fact or an event. They are also used to express the position of a media concerning a phenomenon or news of interest.

This genre includes formats such as editorial, column, review, letter to the editor, and opinion piece. The comic or vignette that many newspapers add in their pages to express a topic of interest in a humorous and sarcastic manner can also be seen as part of the opinion genre, often being a resource where the author expresses his or her opinion graphically.

The linguistic characteristics of opinion texts are close to those of humanist speech or essay, it is therefore common to see the following features:

  • Presence of the sender in the text, using the first person.
  • Use of expressive resources that embellish the style.
  • Contribution of examples, anecdotes and quotes.
  • Use of argumentation.

4. The editor

At the publisher the newspaper’s point of view is expressed on a topical issue and often appears prominently in the publication, fixed and almost always unsigned. In most cases, these texts are written by the editor of the newspaper himself.

It is an explanatory-argumentative text, in which the newspaper intends to make known its vision and its assessment of the current situation which conditions public opinion. The seriousness of the presentation invites the reader to know what the newspaper thinks and also tries to convince them to adopt at least a thoughtful attitude.

On another side, in editorial texts, the ideological line of the newspaper can be openly shown, expressed in a very subjective language, with features typical of argumentative texts. It should also be said that the first person singular is not generally used, nor added humorous twists, more typical of other opinion pieces.

5. The opinion piece

Unlike the editorial, the opinion piece is still signed. It defends opinions or points of view that do not necessarily have to coincide fully with those of the newspaper.

These texts consist of a critical reflection on topical issues that the writer judges and values, with a mark of subjectivity, but expressing it with the proper journalistic style expected of a media professional.

6. The column

Column is a special type of editorial. This text retains the same general characteristics, but is characterized by its brevity and periodic character.. They are called that because their way of being presented is long and they are texts whose own style is very particular, almost literary.

7. Letter to the editor

The letter to the editor is a type of text in which readers of a certain publication give their opinion about a fact explained in it. They are short texts, generally delimited by the newspaper in which it is to be published and can deal with different subjects such as news, complaints, personal experiences, tributes, opinions. Whether they are published or not, it is the will of the editor of the newspaper.

Interpretive or mixed genres

Interpretive genres are mixed genres, as they contain characteristics of information texts as well as opinion texts. It is characterized by the description of a fact, but including at the end the personal appreciation of the editor-in-chief or the journalist.. The most characteristic type of text among the interpretive genres is the quintessential chronicle, with interpretive interview and reporting.

8. Chronicle

The chronicle is the type of text that offers a subjective interpretation of the events that occurred on a day that the journalist values ​​and interprets, although the antecedents and consequences of these same events are usually also researched. The event is told from the place where it happened and chronologically.

This journalistic genre differs from reporting in that the reporter is present at the event, and follows a temporal sequence as the event itself and its consequences occur. It differs from current events by the fact that its author values ​​events by giving his opinion. It is generally prepared by a correspondent or a special correspondent, addressing the literary story.

9. Criticism

In criticism the author informs and evaluates a certain type of artistic or cultural activity, like a film, a theatrical performance, a concert … This type of text generally appears the day after premieres, presentations or celebrations.

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