Journalism is politically important because journalists are the watchdogs for the public. We count on the journalists to keep our politicians honest. They are supposed to investigate fraud and incompetence and report it to us so we can do something about it. Without journalists, we would have no way to keep our politicians accountable.
Journalism has had a significant role in impacting political development. From the time of the Zenger Trial in the colonies, to the Muckrackers who sought to expose corruption in business and politics, to Edward R. Murrow seeking to use his role as a journalist to expose McCarthy for the fraud he was, to Woodward and Bernstein conducting investigations into slush funds and bungled burglaries, journalism holds a great deal of political importance. The Framers to the Constitution ensured that the freedom of the press in the First Amendment could serve to operate as a type of "fourth branch" that would check government as it directly reports to the people. Journalism has political implications because, as a field, it operates between the government and the people, and has a significant role in shaping the message and reception of both and of each. Journalism force political leaders to be more responsive to the needs of the people and demands that leaders pay attention to how they are perceived.