Report (journalism)

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A report is a longer journalistic form of presentation based on a news item . Like these, he describes a fact or an action without including any evaluations by the author. In contrast to the message, the report presents the events in context. It provides detailed and clear information and can contain background, previous history and longer quotations. In journalism , the report is a common information-oriented form.


In order for the journalistic report to do justice to its aim of providing information about a fact or event, the so-called "W questions" must be answered:

  • Who? John Doe
  • Where? Model city
  • When? at 14 o 'clock
  • What? car accident
  • How? through black ice
  • Why? through inattention
  • Which source / where does the information come from?
  • What are the consequences? Property damage, injured

The report usually begins in the present. The history is explained in the course of the report. The tense of the report is the past tense (imperfect tense ). Basically, the report follows the principle of the inverted pyramid , but it can also be partly chronologically structured. A dramaturgical structure is also possible for reports that use storytelling methods .


Factual report

Fact reports give the facts and their connections. At the beginning of the report is the central fact.

Action report

Action reports show the course of events. They are not structured chronologically: At the beginning of the report is the end point or the result of these events.

Quote report

Quote reports reproduce excerpts from speeches, discussions or interviews. Here, too, the central statements are at the beginning of the report.

Live report

On television and radio , the live report is the most common form of report. An event is reported without delay while it is happening. The live report is related to the news ticker or live ticker in online journalism , even if there is at least a minimal period of time between the event and the report. This reports in very short, usually only one sentence comprehensive reports of an important event and is most often used in sports journalism .

Differentiation from reportage and feature

In contrast to the report describing reportage current events from the perspective of a journalist (present reporter or correspondent ). According to Michael Haller (media scientist), reporting is a relatively old literary genre. As a journalistic form, it became popular with the emergence of modern journalism towards the end of the 19th century.

In this form of representation, the journalist has the task of describing his observations on site. Explicit expressions of opinion and statements by the journalist are generally not common in information-oriented forms of presentation. Instead, verbatim quotations from the actors are given. The structure of the report follows a narrative dramaturgy, unlike the report, which uses the pyramid structure.

The feature , a genre in which a specific topic is addressed using an exemplary event, is closer to documentary forms such as the report . Features on socially or emotionally interesting topics such as poverty , disasters, diseases, etc. are particularly common . Features are found in all media.

If a report contains feature elements such as quotations or a scenic introduction, one speaks of a "pinned down" report.

Correspondents report (background report)

Correspondent reports ( background reports ) are a common genre for putting current news in its context and making it understandable for the reader, listener or viewer. They can be found primarily in the print media , but are also widespread in broadcasting.

The background report has the following elements:

  • History of the event or topic in which the event took place
  • Data, statistics and important documents
  • neutral analyzes of the writing journalist
  • Quotes from people involved, experts and other journalists

In this respect, the background report is related to the commentary , but unlike it, it does not draw any conclusions and does not intend to spread an opinion, so it is kept as neutral as possible. If a forecast is made for the future, the background report adheres strictly to its sources, especially to the quotes from experts. Therefore, in contrast to the commentary, it is not counted as opinion journalism.

A wide variety of sources is typical for background reports. They are often backed up or supplemented with interviews , chronicles , statistics and analyzes.


Web links

Wiktionary: Report  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations