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Uses of the News. Contextual uses: household activities Times associated with news are naturalized Informational uses: keeping up: issues Legitimating uses Tension: control and distance about issues Feeling of control: agency to do something Diversional uses: visual narrative

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uses of the news
Uses of the News
  • Contextual uses: household activities
    • Times associated with news are naturalized
  • Informational uses: keeping up: issues
  • Legitimating uses
    • Tension: control and distance about issues
    • Feeling of control: agency to do something
  • Diversional uses: visual narrative
    • Entertainment aspect of news
what is news
What is “News?”
  • What constitutes “news”:
    • Significance?
    • Relevance: to whom?
    • Unusual, sensational?
    • Useful: for what?
    • Non-threatening/non-ideological?
    • Informational vs. analysis?
personal news sources
Personal News Sources
  • Where do you access what types of news:
    • TV
    • Newspapers
    • Radio
    • Internet
    • Late night talk shows
    • Word of mouth conversation
audiences for news
Audiences for News
  • Network news/Nightline: older audiences
  • Problem: younger generation less interested
    • Younger audiences: desired advertising
  • Shift in younger generation’s interests
    • Shift in focus/appearance of news
    • Increased use of Internet vs. newspapers
    • Shift in newspaper layout/topics
7 s s for analyzing news see activities news analysis
7 S’s for Analyzing News (see “activities: news analysis”)
  • Stories: what’s covered and what’s left out?
  • Sequence: what gets priority?
  • Scope: how much coverage/time?
  • Structure: how organized using what?
  • Style: how presented by writer/anchor?
  • Slant: what bias is evident?
  • Sponsor: content shaped by sponsors?
analyzing bias slant see activity noting bias
Analyzing Bias/Slant (see activity: noting bias)
  • Selection and omission: topics/quotes
  • Placement
  • Headline: determines further reading
  • Photos, captions, camera angles
  • Names, categories, titles
  • Statistics/crowd count
  • Source control: who’s quoted?
analysis of objectivity balance
Analysis of Objectivity/Balance
  • Objectivity: difficult to define
    • Role of bias, subjectivity, agendas in reporting
  • Balance: preferred criteria for journalists
    • Use of different perspectives/sources
    • Understanding all sides of an issue
    • Problem of who gets to speak/status of sources
text design structure
Text Design/Structure
  • What genres (report, narrative, analysis, visual dramatization) are employed?
  • How is language/images used to represent?
    • Categories/labels to describe participants
    • Syntax: active vs. passive
    • Formal vs. informal verbal style
    • Image selection/relationship to language
text design structure9
Text Design/Structure
  • Typeface/type style
    • Use of BOLD
    • Typeface/styles varied (tabloid vs. mainstream)
  • Grid: number of columns
  • Picture size/uses
  • Organization: categories of types of news
    • Masthead, stories, “plugs,” sports, ads
discourse analysis see ideology and the news
Discourse Analysis: (see ideology and the news)
  • Ideological assumptions operating in the news industry
      • public figures have an obligation to answer to journalists and answer their questions
      • the news media is the fourth estate, playing a watchdog role on government and power.
      • the most important thing journalists cover are the arenas of government and politics.
      • that journalists are the messenger only; that they report, rather than acting.
      • there is an objective account of events that all reasonable observers would agree with.
      • that journalists should tell both sides.
      • that journalists can and should leave their biases out of their stories.
      • that there is no staging or conspiring to improve on stories between journalists and those they cover.
analysis of discourses employed
Analysis of Discourses Employed
  • What discourses are employed/included?
    • Discourses: ways of knowing/thinking: legal, scientific, political, religious, therapeutic, etc.
  • How are discourses employed/reported?
    • Reporting, analysis, quotes
  • Who employs what discourses for what purpose?
    • “Government experts”
    • Political/lobbying groups
    • “Person on the street”
differences between newspapers
Differences between Newspapers
  • National/ “major” newspapers
    • New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal
  • Major regional newspapers
  • Local newspapers/free news magazines
  • School newspapers
  • Tabloids
corporate ownership and news
Corporate Ownership and News
  • AOL/TimeWarner: CNN
  • Disney: ABC
  • Viacom: CBS
  • Murdoch News: FOX News
aspects of tv news
Aspects of TV News
  • Narrativization of events
    • Dramatization of conflict/tensions
  • Conversational interplay
    • “happy talk”
  • News readers as “personalities”
  • Immediacy: “Up to the minute”
  • Visual montage: multi-modal
aspects of tv news15
Aspects of TV News
  • Anchor as primary actor/media celebrity
    • Personalization of news
    • Use of direct address/simulated eye contact
  • Correspondents as extensions of anchor
    • Links to correspondent “on the scene”
    • Assumption: being “on the scene” = being better informed about an event
  • Interviewees
    • Who’s selected and whom do they represent
    • Framing/shots to dramatize attitudes (60 Minutes)
aspects of tv news16
Aspects of TV News
  • “If it bleeds, it leads”:
    • focus on visual/sensational events
    • Little contextual analysis of causes/institutional factors shaping events
  • Issue of community significance/relevance
    • Texas station selects events based on relevance to the community vs. sensational appeal
aspects of tv news17
Aspects of TV News
  • Flow of reports
    • Segmentation/repetition
    • Reordering traditional notions of time
  • Direct address: “you” as constructed
    • Host directly addresses audience
    • Host conducts simulated conversation with guests
  • Personality/ “synthetic personalization”
viewing of tv news
Viewing of TV News
  • TV news within domestic life
  • Ritual-like reassurance that “all’s well”
    • Creates synthetic sense of “community”
    • Anchors as active in supporting events
    • Focus on visual display of events
    • Avoid challenging audience beliefs/ideologies
    • Need for simulated sense of community membership
alternatives public tv radio news
Alternatives: Public TV/radio News
  • PBS Newshour
    • In-depth coverage of 3-4 stories
    • Context: institutional forces
    • Alternative ideological perspectives
  • NPR All Things Considered
    • Value of radio: no needs for visuals
    • Extended interviews for balance
    • No commercial agendas/bias
assignment comparison of news media on the web
Assignment: Comparison of News Media on the Web
  • Contrast coverage of the same story on 3 or more of the following categories:
    • Major US newspapers (go to websites)
    • International newspapers (go to “5000 newspapers” site)
    • Commercial TV/radio Networks (go to websites)
    • Public TV/radio (
    • Local or state newspapers (go to websites)
    • “Liberal” (Mother Jones) vs. “conservative” (The Weekly Standard) perspectives
    • Mainstream news vs. tabloid (go to The National Inquirer/Sun websites)