BACK TO UNPACKING THE NEWS CYCLE 1. A NEWS ‘EVENT’ IS SELECTED Gone are the days when News Networks tried to be all things to all people, packaging the news to fit all persuasions, now tv news networks tend to focus on a specific target audience of viewers, viewers that have polarized political views and opinions. A news event is mediated into a story to fit the beliefs of the audience watching it. By doing this they retain a loyal viewership as an audience tend to seek confirmation of their own perceptions. Every country with commercial news networks do this. If there is a government sponsored news network like the BBC in the UK or a ‘public funded’ PBS network in the USA they may report to a less selected more general audience.
2. A NEWS EVENT IS REPORTED Journalists are placed in difficult situations when filing a report to the news department they represent. Why? because the process of MEDIATION once a story hits a news desk is going to be edited to retain a certain bias. This bias is either political or of a business nature. We will examine bias in more detail later.
3. A NEWS EVENT IS MEDIATED The medium of tv has a profound affect any story it carries. For one thing it is our closest representation to reality when an event is broadcast live. TV images are powerful, they have changed governments – TV political debates, moved people to revolutions – Cairo, changed foreign policies – Vietnam, sent troops to war – 911 mobilized financial aid – BandAid, united the globe – Apollo 11 ect. News that is not broadcast live is still a powerful and manipulative experience because it is edited. In how many interviews has the interviewee said ‘I didn’t say that !’ The noted Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan (and we will be getting to smart dude soon) said that ‘THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE’ – think about that statement for awhile.
4. THE NEWS IS CONSUMED AS A PRODUCT At the end of the cycle we are dealing with a commercial reality. $ . News is a packaged product that has to sell. One reason that this product will never become redundant is that it is as old as humans have wanted to know what is going on. The degree to which we as an intelligent species with reason accept stories as realities as fact is indeed fascinating. Not knowing it seems is far worse than believing in a made up story. Our ‘Suspension of Disbelief’ is part of our psychological make up, it is a very useful ability as it enables us to enjoy great works of fiction, theatre & film, but it is all too often too easily activated. So far we have only looked at NEWS as it is understood as part of our culture.
Why are the majority of Media Reports on the News … negative events ?
Another kind of news communication is PROPAGANDA the 2 can get real fuzzy sometimes, we will be taking a look at this kind of information and where it took off in the world later.