CMN 140 Lecture 6: CMN 140 - Lecture 6

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8 Mar 2017
Lecture 6 - 2/2 - News - Chapter 9
Key Idea:
- news is not a reflection of actual events; it is a construction by news workers who are
subjected to many influences & constraints
Dynamic Nature of News
- ppl have always had a desire for news
- the nature of news & its transmission has changed over time
- early news was shared through interpersonal communication
- newspapers did not begin until the 16th century in Italy
- following the civil war, there was increased literacy in the U.S.
- this was seen as an opportunity to develop newspapers with large
- the era of big news has lasted from increased newspaper readership through
the penetration of the radio in the 1920s to the 1970s when it reached its peak
- traditional news markets have been losing their audience
- they are failing to attract younger ppl
- they face increased competition from alternative news outlets on the Internet
Different Perspectives On News
1) Political Philosophy Perspective = specifies what news should be
- normative, not descriptive perspective
- believes news should focus on the most important events and ppl in a society in
order to keep ppl up to date about what is most significant
2) Traditional Journalistic Perspective = journalists believe that their purpose is to
inform the public, rather than persuade the public
- professional responsibility perspective = they are experts in what is most
important & therefore should determine what is news
- normative, not descriptive perspective
- seven criteria an event must have in order to be considered newsworthy:
timeliness, significance, proximity, prominence, conflict, human interest, and deviance
3) News-working Perspective
- Use of sources rely on same source, journalists don’t look for
accuracy/reliability and just believes their sources are experts in the field
- Although news workers are aware of normative news perspectives that tell them
what they should do, they frequently cannot achieve the prescribed standards because
of unavoidable constraints, such as deadlines (unable to get full information of ongoing
event; becomes a partial story; don’t want to sell “old news”), limited access to sources,
and limited financial resources
- over time, journalists develop the “news perspective”
- Formulas = procedures that journalists learn as shortcuts to help them quickly select &
write stories
- General formula = for gathering information on a story, journalists follow the formula of
asking six questions: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?
- the inverted pyramid formula = tells the journalist to put the most important
information at the beginning of the story, then add the next most important set of
- rank the information of story until story is finished
- narrative formula = use a narrative to tell a story in an entertainment format
- begin with heated conflict, gruesome description or an unusual quote to grab
reader’s attention then present each bit of info in narrative much like a storyteller
- simplified extended conflict (SEC) formula = journalists look for an angle of conflict
that appears very simple but can be played out over a period of time
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