What is news? Two definitions of news. Sources of news Types of news Traditional values in news reporting. Two theories: Gatekeeping and Lippmann’s unintentional news distortion. Story formats Journalistic styles
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What is news?
Two definitions of news.
Sources of news
Types of news
Traditional values in news reporting.
Two theories: Gatekeeping and Lippmann’s unintentional news distortion
Gathering, selecting, processing, presenting the news (in a dream-world and in a real world).
Developments in the newspaper industry.
Two contrasting conceptions of the nature of news.
Types of contemporary newspapers
The future of newspapers.
News is current and fresh knowledge about an event or subject that is gathered, processed, and disseminated via a medium to a large and diverse audience.
News is a symbolic representation whereby reality is produced, maintained, repaired, and transformed.
Problems of accuracy:
Human processes of perception, memory, and recall.
No human is an observation, recording, or remembering machine.
These are inevitable problems.
Extension of stories through time:
Impact: how many people will be effected by such event?
Timeliness: don’t let it cool down, serve it while it’s hot.
Prominence: people in the public eye have higher news value.
Proximity: the closer to home an event is, the more newsworthy it becomes (maybe not always true for Moroccan news media).
The bizarre: when a dog bites a man, that’s not news; it happens so often. If a man bites a dog, that is news.
Conflict: harmony is dull, strife is newsworthy.
Currency: if you like it, we’ll give you more of it.
Consequences: e.g. stories about breakthroughs in science are being replaced by celebrated murder and sex scandals.
In a dream-world:
Reporters leave their offices to monitor newsworthy places and personalities, and carry out investigative reporting when necessary.
Send their initial accounts to the newsrooms.
Stories are selected (gatekeeping process)
Stories are edited and arranged in terms of their importance (lead stories with large headlines on front pages etc.)
In a real world:
Reporters stay in their offices.
They receive most of their stories from wire services.
They select, edit, and arrange them.
They leave their offices when exceptional events take place.
The process of screening, decision-making, and selecting which news stories go through and which do not.
The use of a complex set of criteria: organizational policy; personal preferences; definitions of newsworthiness; conceptions of the relevant audiences; fourth estate obligations.
A limited number of news stories are presented to the public.
Personnel in the news organization become gatekeepers who limit and the control the public’s knowledge of the actual events occurring.
« News is not truth »
The press monitor numerous events.
Selects an agenda they believe is important.
Many factors limit their ability to investigate and report all events: time, money, technology, expertise.
As a result, selectivity, omissions, and distortions occur.
« the pictures in the audiences’ heads » constitute a pseudo- environment, with limited correspondence with the facts in reality.
News media select a number of issues, topics, and events from the political and social environment.
Some news stories get more prominence than others depending on what is considered newsworthy.
A daily news agenda is formed.
The public perceives the news media’s order of prominence (agenda) and use it to determine their personal rankings of importance.
Politicians become aware of the public’s rankings and turn them into their own policy making agenda.
The sensational or tabloid: stressed shocking and bizarre events, sometimes even appalling transgressions of social norms.
The « objective » or impartial: separates fact from opinion; emotionally detached; present both sides of the story. News in columns and opinion in editorial page.
The advocacy style: reporters promote a cause or position
Precision journalism: use of accurate quantitative info.
Civic or public journalism: developed in the 1990’skeep the press grounded in the concern s of ordinary citizens, rather than those of the elites.
Two broad categories: General news and Specialized news
How often they publish and what’s their circulations:
Metropolitan dailies: copies sold exceed 250,000
Medium sized and small dailies: modest circulations of 50,000-100,000
Non-daily newspaper: a.k.a. community or grassroots press
Free distribution newspapers
The ethnic press
Other specialized papers: industrial, commercial, labor, religious, environmental…
The Government grants an annual subsidy to the press and political parties: :
1. The first portion ; 20 million dirham, goes to political parties, trade unions and the press.
2. The second portion is shared out as follows :
In 1997 there are 644 newspapers:
The number of cards granted to journalists has increased from 921 in 1992, to 1,031 in 1993, to1,097 in 1994, and to1,200 in 1997 :