Analysis of Passage About News and Sensationalism
Analysis of Passage about News and Sensationalism.
Analysis of Passage about News and Sensationalism
Americans get most of their news from TV. The news has changed not only in form, but in substance. Most people know that violent, more interesting things are in the news more often than others.
Crime news is popular. Politics is less popular unless it involves some sort of scandal. Issues are left to other mediums to cover. In 1997, 8 universities released the results of a study that there was twice as much coverage of violence and mayhem as other topics.
What should be in the news? Pulitzer thought it should be honest, legitimate news areas of interests. Zelman today believes that news is what they people need to know and want to know.
Many people would agree with part of Zelman’s statement. They would also agree there is a big difference between what people want, and what they need. News organizations use attractive news stories to beat competition.
When the majority of people first began watching news on TV, it was by CBS, NBC, or ABC at a scheduled time. These networks were seen as honest and broke major news.
The dominance of a marketing attitude brought the honesty of the three major networks down. The change was encouraged to continue.
For awhile, people didn’t notice the shift. They were surprised to find out how much control they had over what people saw and thought.
Individual formats were developed for stations with fancy graphics. Al Primo set several simple principals for success.
The first was that the reporters tell the story in a way the audience can identify with it. The second is have the discussion appear to be unscripted.
He also advocated using more interesting stories to attract attention to less interesting stories by changing the order. He advocated the use of video cameras at the scene. He also advocated super imposed names so the reporters could be more easily recognized.
Many local networks ignored national and international news. Some had only short segments of various stories from around the world.
The tone of this passage was insipidly informative. The author of this passage never takes a definitive or aggressive stance on what news should be focused on but instead connects facts that seem to lead toward the conclusion that news is published based on what is found interesting, not what the public needs to know.
The purpose of this passage was to bring to attention the failure of news organizations to focus on all news and not just sensational and interesting things.
“…television news has changed – not only in form, but, more important by far, in substance.”
The author asserts that the change in substance in news is more important than the change in form. The change in substance mentioned is the author’s main point; news organizations have shifted their focus from important information to sensational stories.
“That kind of journalism has virtually disappeared…”
The author believes that breaking news stories have disappeared when in reality they are still present. He asserts that other news stories are ignored repeatedly, “virtually disappeared,” and that the sensational and violent things that people are more interested in are more regularly aired instead.
“We know as well as the news producers that ‘if it bleeds, it leads.”
The author asserts that all people, like him, recognize that the main topics of news are more focused towards violence and scandal and generally negative things that people find interesting. He assumes all people know this then writes an essay trying to bring attention to the problem.
There is too much news and happenings for the news organizations to cover everything in the limited amount of time they have. To choose, they should pick what people want to hear about since it usually is what they need or is most useful to them. It’s much more important for the horrific effects of the recent tsunami and earthquake in Japan to be seen than the city council decided to build a new park. Massive aid is needed for the victims in Japan and the coverage of the devastation facilitates donations by people who see and pity those affected more directly by the terrible events.
Ubiquity- having or seeming to have the ability to be everywhere at once
Excruciating- exceedingly elaborate or intense
Sensational- producing or designed to produce a startling effect, strong reaction, intense interest
Scandalous- disgraceful; shameful or shocking; improper
Scrupulous- having or showing a strict regard for what one considers right; principled.
“For nearly 4 decades the polls have reminded the American public that it gets most of its news from television. What they have not told us is that during that period, television has changed…”
The author personifies “polls” as things that can talk and remind to illustrate proof of the changes news has made. The shift illustrated is from all news to the sensational or interesting stories that are more prevalent that the author is trying to bring light onto.
“Crime news, delivered in excruciating detail, has nosed out all but the most sensational news from elsewhere on the planet.”
The complex sentence delivers more detail to support the author’s argument. The addition of the clause in the sentence emphasizes the prevalence and focus of news organizations on more interesting stories than news and information that is needed more by the general public.
“The games had begun…”
The author is comparing the shift from national networks to local stations and their actions to a simple game. By comparing the new news strategy of reporting the most interesting news over the most needed, he compares the foolishness is not reporting all the news to the foolishness found in games.