August 19, 2016

What don’t journalists and historians have in common?


Generally speaking, the nature of the work of journalists is similar to that of historians. Both collect facts, verify them and present news and insights that are based on the accumulated facts. That’s why newspapers are considered a great source of history. Sometimes an article penned by a journalist goes on to be considered a historical record of itself. However, there are some important differences between the two professions. The first is that journalists work in the present, while historians work in the past. Yet interestingly, both are capable of predicting the future. Another difference is that news journalists are required to record facts objectively, while historians often include their own points of view and analysis. This is the reason why history often presents us with varying accounts of the same event. The final difference is that historians have the benefit of hindsight to assist with their research, while journalists are limited to the information they are able to obtain under very tight time constraints. Historians are at greater liberty to include their opinions, whereas news journalists should avoid doing so at all costs. Therefore, when reading an article by a historian in a newspaper or magazine, be aware that some opinions may be being presented as facts.


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