Popular in Media In Free Society
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This 8 page Study Guide was uploaded by Ellee Watson on Monday October 6, 2014. The Study Guide belongs to 1050 at George Washington University taught by a professor in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 329 views. For similar materials see Media In Free Society in Public Relations at George Washington University.
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Date Created: 10/06/14
Danny Hayes Obama is wrong Traditional journalism isn t dead Shaw That s because many of the basic norms habits routines and news judgments that guided the practice of traditional journalism for most of the 20th century still hold sway today even in some of the very media outlets that have revolutionized the business of the news A large body of research has shown that mainstream media tends to index its coverage to the range of discourse taking place in Washington During the Libya debate blogs and cable channels did the same thing The amount of coverage of the economy budget deficit Mitt Romney s tenure at Bain Capital and Medicare was similar in every outlet The chart below shows the percentage of stories in each media source focused on each issue as a percentage of all campaign coverage While there is some variation the general pattern is the same the economy dominated with relatively little attention devoted to the other issues As a result most Americans still get news that is largely filtered through the debates happening among political elites in Washington To be sure this process is more complicated today But the content of political news has not been revolutionized Journalists whether in the new media or old still play a game according to very similar rules as did their 20thcentury predecessors In some ways those old times the president referred to are right now Campaign coverage needs to read between the lines quotcable news programs for the most part offered viewers two talking heads one on each side of the issue to debate the merits of the claims Verifiable facts were rarely offered to viewers despite the fact that military records supporting Kerry39s version of events were readily available 3939Instead of acting as filters for the truth reporters nodded and attentively transcribed both sides of the story invariably failing to provide context background or any sense of which claims held up and which were misleadingquot 3939It39s the most common and infuriating flaw in the press today Reporters just don39t measure what each side said against the known facts It shouldn39tjust be he saidshe said It should be he saidshe saidwe say and here39s why we say itquot But the steady stream of charges that the media have a liberal bias has made many journalists gun shy when it comes to evaluating controversial partisan charges quotThe press is so sensitive now to charges of liberal bias that it bends over backward to give the appearance of being evenhandedquot Lovelady says quotReporters can and do argue that it39s not theirjob to ascertain veracity But that is theirjob especially when the facts are so availablequot Challenging He Said She Said Journalism NPR has chosen to use harsh interrogation tactics or enhanced interrogation techniques instead of torture when reporting stories about waterboarding and other coercive practices used to interrogate terrorism suspects When listeners pushed back Alicia C Shepard NPR ombudsman at the time responded that she agreed with the network The problem is that the word torture is loaded with political and social implications she wrote on her blog adding NPR s job is to give listeners all perspectives and present the news as detailed as possible and put it in context Because using the word torture would amount to taking sides reporters should instead describe the techniques and skip the characterization entirely she said A leading commentary on the modern practice ofjournalism The Elements of Journalism by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel omits fairness and objectivity from its list of the 10 basic elements ofjournalism described as clear principles thatjournalists agree on and that citizens have a right to expect Why the omissions Familiar and even useful as the idea of fairness and balance may be the authors say the very concept has been so mangled as to have become part ofjournalism s problem rather than a solution to perceived problems of bias and partiality o In The Elements of Journalism Kovach and Rosenstiel make a distinction between two kinds of truth correspondence and coherence Forjournalism these tests roughly translate into getting the facts straight and making sense of the facts They call for a journalism of verification to replace a journalism of assertion A more conscious discipline of verification is the best antidote to being overrun by a newjournalism of assertion o Fairness and objectivity should be regarded as tools to that end they maintain rather than as ends in themselves 0 I actually don t mean to be critical of Rivkin a man with whom I have a perfectly pleasant personal relationship As a surrogate a go to proxy he is simply filling a role assigned to him by reporters and let s assume editors who accept unquestionably the notion that every story has another side that it is journalism s duty to present But there is another side to that story too one that calls on journalists to do their best to provide notjust the facts but also always the truth Michigan media on Romney s birth certificate joke UPDATED 0 Unfortunately Gray does not immediately thereafter or ever really in her piece clarify that slam explain that there is no legitimate debate about Obama s birth certificate Instead in the paragraph following Romney s quotation the reporter moves on to paraphrase the economic ideas that Romney presented at the rally 0 Of course the best thing for reporters to do about the birther conspiracy theory is to ignore it altogether it has no grounding in fact and therefore has no place in fact based media But when newsworthy figures bring it up journalists like those at today s Michigan raIly must cover it in a way that does not contribute to the spread of false information Should The Times Be a Truth Vigilante 0 Is that the prevailing view And if so how can The Times do this in a way that is objective and fair Is it possible to be objective and fair when the reporter is choosing to correct one fact over another Are there other problems that The Times would face that I haven t mentioned here 0 As an Op Ed columnist Mr Krugman clearly has the freedom to call out what he thinks is a lie My question for readers is should news reporters do the same So whaddaya think should we put truthtelling back up there at number one 0 Something happened in our press over the last 40 years or so that never got acknowledged and to this day would be denied by a majority of newsroom professionals Somewhere along the way truthtelling was surpassed by other priorities the mainstream press felt a stronger duty to These include such things as maintaining objectivity not imposing a judgment refusing to take sides and sticking to what I have called the View from Nowhere o Journalists felt better safer on firmer professional ground more like pros when they stopped short of reporting substantially untrue statements as false Downie and Kaiser 0 After September 11 news organizations started doing theirjobs 0 There is news as noise news as wallpaper news as spectacle news as a constant drumbeat entering American minds through eyes and ears numbed by sensory overload What indeed has news become and how can the historic mission of informing the public be fulfilled 0 Leonardo DiCaprio conducted an interview about an issue that he had fervently already taken sides on o The best news organizations blurred once clear lines between news and entertainment between serious news and the trivial between news and opinion between news that mattered and news shaped primarily to attract and entertain audiences to sell advertising and make money Sometimes those lines disappeared entirely o News values 1 the rise of tabloid style celebrity news 1 shared experiences in pop culture OJ Princess Di Clinton Lewinsky Death of JFK Jr 2 This existed before about MLK Jr JFK Jr but they held real meaning for the well being of the nation and did not have contrived drama or endless commentary on the networks 3 13 of the audience is hungry for salacious celebrity and scandalous stories 2 The rise of celebrity journalists 1 Events like the Washington Correspondents dinner confused the matter 2 Anchormen rained in the money and received all kinds of praise 3 Newspaper and magazine writers previously unseen by their readers became well known personalities by going on the air to talk about the news 3 The substitution of talk opinion and argument for news 1 Talk shows are very cheap 2 The reporters are expected to pass judgement and give the shows drama to attract viewers 3 many shows invite journalists known for their ideologies 4 Objective reality once a goal for good journalists becomes a meaningless category lost in the heat of tendentious argument 4 News treated as entertainment and entertainment treated as news 1 The penny press of the nineteenth century and the tabloid papers have emphasized entertainment over serious journalism 2 CBS reported regularly on their TV shows quotthank god for survivorquot 3 Newsmagazines are supposed to be the leading investigative journalism medium but they have strayed from serious topics meaning investigative journalism is not what it used to be Matthew Ehrlich quotThe formula is as old as tabloid journalism itselfquot Ehrlich concluded quotCrime sex gossip and human interest always have been central to the genrequot 4 14 of the stories on the networks prime time newsmagazines were about crime and justice 5 Government political foreign and other news of importance to people39s civic lives was largely supplanted by crime weather health consumer investor entertainment and other news believed to be of more interest to viewers and readers in their personal lives 1 Television executives believed that old fashioned news could not succeed in the modern marketplace so they largely abandoned it 2 The first amendment to the constitution was written on the assumption that a free press would pay attention to politics but the modern television networks moved beyond that idea They let cable cover politics 3 Many editors and publishers shrank their national and foreign news coverage to make room for increased coverage of local business and lifestyle news they considered more attractive to their readers 4 The majority of state governments is never subjected to any attention from a first rate news organization 6 Covering the news once seen primarily as a public service that could also make a profit became primarily a vehicle for attracting audiences and selling advertising to make money 1 special interest news sections requested by or entirely devoted to specific advertisers Researchers have found that sweeping generalizations about what people want from their newscasts or newspapers are invariably wrong 0 the real hallmark is the fragmentation of the public The complication intimidated owners who saw their audience falling so they hired consultants and market researchers who prescribed fashionable gimmicks that didn39t really work Gans Deciding What39s News Value exclusion exclude conscious values through objectivity disregard of implications and the rejection of ideology whatjournalists try to do today Journalists strive to be objective both in intent by applying personal detachment and in effect by disregarding the implications of the news 0 as long as their intent is to exclude conscious personal values then opinions become subjective reactions which follow from objectively gathered facts The values that enter the news regularly and most often are the enduring values They are built into importance judgements and as a result they do not conflict with objectivity The vast majority of opinions in the news enter unconsciously Values enter the news most pervasively in the form of reality judgements the assumptions about external reality associated with the concepts which journalists use to grasp it o making assumptions what39s new by recognizing what39s old o what is abnormal what is normal 0 if they favor one reality judgements become preference statements Many reality judgements are stereotypes accurate or inaccurate which journalists borrow from elsewhere because of their availability and familiarity both to the journalists and the audience These values come from the turn of the century progressivism o muckrakers exposure by a socially responsible reporter The American Journalist in the Digital Age 0 Most see journalism going in the wrong direction 0 When asked about the most important prob lem facing journalism today the journalists in our study mentioned the following issues most often Declining profits mentioned by 204 percent threats to profession from online media 114 percent job cuts and downsizing 113 percent the need for a new business model and funding structure 108 percent hasty reporting 99 percent Most agree that social media promote them and their work keep them more engaged with their audiences and lead to faster reporting Far fewer say that social media have decreased their workload improved their productivity allowed them to cover more news or enhanced their credibility Journalists are getting older Median age is 47 Newsrooms are shrinking but highly skilled people are in high demand Slight increase in female journalists The percentage of female US journalists has increased from 33 percent in 2002 to 375 percent in 2013 However women still represent only slightly more than one third of all full time journalists working for the US news media as has been true since the early 1980s 0 Female journalists tend to leave the profession earlier 0 Slight decrease in the number of minority journalists o The number of full time minority journalists working for the US news media has decreased slightly to 85 percent during the past decade 0 Increase in college degrees 0 Overall US journalists in 2013 are much more likely to have earned college degrees than the adult population in the United States 317 percent or the US civilian labor force 346 percent 0 Pay gap exists 0 Female journalists with more than 20 years of work experience earn 66 less on average than their male colleagues with the same level of experience 7267967885 o More journalists say they are independent 0 Overall US journalists today are much more like ly to identify themselves as Independents rather than Democrats or Republicans a pattern not observed before 2002 0 Job Satisfaction Drops Further 0 Overall about a quarter of US journalists said they were either somewhat 193 percent or very 62 percent dissatisfied with theirjobs This represents a significant increase from 2002 when only 161 percent said they were somewhat or very dissatisfied 0 Perceived Job Autonomy Also Drops 0 While a majority 60 per cent ofjournalists said that they had almost complete freedom in selecting their stories in 1971 and 1982 only a third 336 percent said so in 2013 o Watch Dog Role Increases and analyzing critical problems 0 Thus journalists once again consider the role of government watch dog as one of the most important functions of the US news media 0 Don39t feel the pressure to get news out quickly 0 While investigating government claims and analyzing complex problems are both considered importantjournalistic functions the role of getting information to the public quickly has dropped significantly in perceived importance 0 Importance of Reaching A Mass Audience decreases as well 0 In the era of specialized niche media declining numbers of US journal ists said that concen trating on news that is of interest to the widest possible audience is important Compaine Media Domination o The media industry is not as a matter of fact highly concentrated Moreover it has not become substantially more concentrated during the last decade or so despite repeated warnings to the contrary Most important there is no compelling evidence that the current level of media concentration has had negative consequences for consumers culture or democracy 0 Right now the 50 largest media companies account for little more of total US media revenue than they did in 1986 Back then for example CBS was the largest media company in the country with sizable interests in broadcasting magazines and book publishing In the following decade it sold off its magazines divested its book publishing and was not even among the 10 largest American media companies by the time it agreed to be acquired by Viacom in 1999 Vertically integrated media companies will favor their own in house production over quotindependentquot producers The result in each case is a supposedly diminished marketplace of ideas and cultural offerings As Bagdikian puts it The American audience having been exposed to a narrowing range of ideas over the decades often assumes that what it sees and hears in the major media is all there is It is no way to maintain a lively marketplace of ideas which is to say that it is no way to maintain a democracy Mayer Bad News That episode many at ABC say encouraged an atmosphere of self censorship and timidity When a producer at quot2020quot considered doing a piece on executive compensation two people familiar with the deliberations say the idea was dropped because no one wanted to draw attention to the extraordinarily rich pay package of Disney39s chairman Michael Eisner Westin says that ABC News has on occasion mentioned Eisner39s salary Another producer for the network who asked not to be named says that the news division39s need to steer clear of Disney quotcomes up all the timequot Westin in his capacity as president of the ABC Television Network had promoted Sherrie Rollins HIS WIFE to executive vice president and she had given a significant boost to his career She is a close friend of Diane Sawyer39s and she and Sawyer encouraged Westin to seek the news presidency supporting his candidacy over that of Paul Friedman the executive producer of quotWorld News Tonightquot and a respected newsman quotDiane can be so utterly charming and she absolutely set her sights on Davidquot a colleague recalled quotWe39d get a good laugh because she39d light candles in her office when she heard he was on his wayquot Friedman a consummate newsman whose impolitic manner had apparently alienated both Sawyer and Arledge remained at quotWorld News Tonightquot Last spring Westin promoted him to executive vice president and managing editor The Pew study also found that wealthier bettereducated viewers are becoming disproportionately less inclined to tune into network news So the culturally sophisticated people who produce these shows are increasingly programming for an audience with different interests and tastes Ed Fouhy a Pew Center executive who formerly ran ABC39s Washington bureau puts it more brutally quotThey39re left with the trailer park crowdquot he told me The Role of the Press in the Health Care Debate content analysis 0 the conflict frame narrowed public focus to two plans minimizing the viability of the others inconsistent use of the labels for the alternative plans minimized the likelihood that the public would understand the details of any of them the reporters emphasized the Whitewater scandal over the substance of health care reform at a critical point in the debate s progression the reporters focus on the debate rather than on the substance deprived the public of useful information about health care reform alternatives the forces opposing reform received disproportionate coverage in print and broadcast media imposing campaign norms on a policy debate seven plans were simmered down to two to try and get the hook of the two sided clash Whitewater business deals were 14 out of 18 questions at the debate Harry and Louise were a power in the debate the press credited Harry and Louise with changing the policy debate The press norms that shaped reporting on campaigns now are used to report about governance as well News Coverage of the Gulf Crisis and Public Opinion 1 the level of network news coverage matched the proportion of Gallup poll respondents naming the gulf crisis as the nation s most important problem 2 use of data from three years shows that the weight respondents accorded foreign policy performance when evaluating George Bush significantly increased in the aftermath of the gulf crisis priming 3 content data CONTENT ANALYSIS and survey data are coupled to show that respondents reporting higher rates of exposure to television news expressed greater support for a military and diplomatic response to the crisis framing agenda setting the ability of the news media to define the significant issues priming the relationship between patterns of news coverage and the criteria with which the public evaluates politicians the public weighted their opinions concerning foreign policy when evaluating Kuwait framing the connection between qualitative features of news about the gulf in particular the media s pre occupation with military affairs and the invariably episodic or event oriented character of news reports and public opinion agenda setting is usually unidirectional news coverage affected the levels of public concern but public concern did not in turn affect the focus of television news experimental relatively small exposure to particular issues had a significant effect on what viewers found important priming the weight of a story related to public political opinion In general the more prominent an issue in the national information stream the greater its weight in political judgements episodic depicts public issues in terms of concrete instances or specific events thematic general or abstract news frame 0 the amount of media coverage was highly correlated to the importance given to it by the public the priming hypothesis predicts that over time Americans will assign a greater weight to their beliefs and opinions concerning foreign policy in general when forming impressions of George Bush the evidence was consistent with the hypothesis foreign policy assessments tended to override economic ones in their impact on thermometer ratings of Bush intensive news coverage generated by a crisis issue not only elevates the prominence of the target issue but also removes other issues from public attention bidirectional nature the evidence suggests that the gulf conflict altered the principle basic of Bush s popularity from the state of the national economy to foreign policy matters under episodic framing viewers attribute responsibility for national problems not to societal or structural forces but to the actions of particular individuals or groups Charter School Study Much Ado About Tiny Differences 0 sample size and size or magnitude of an effect whether or not it statistically significant 0 can mislead people to thinking small effects are larger
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