Television News Assignment (Australian)
Television News Assignment
What are the different sections of a news programme and explain how they are defined?
What is the difference between news on commercial networks and news on the ABC and SBS?
In a Victorian news programme a bus crash in Ballarat killing two people has been placed before a volcano eruption killing 1,200 people in Samoa. Explain why this might happen.
Ten minutes before the news goes to air the network gets exclusive footage of the volcano erupting. Explain how this will affect the running order of the news.
Explain how each of the following shows a news programme’s bias and influences your perception/ view of the story and those involved in it.
And many more questions will be answered!
(Year eight Television News Assignment Long Answer Questions)
Television News Assignment
1. What are the different sections of a news programme and explain how they are defined?
There are many different sections of a news programme. Main stories are the most important stories or the ‘breaking news’ of the day; therefore, it is put at the beginning of a news programme.
The main stories are shown to attract the attention of viewers from the very beginning of the news programme. Things that are occurring at the specific moment may also be put under ‘main stories’. (Eg. An earthquake has just struck Haiti in the past hour).
The Local news usually comes after the ‘main stories’. Local news are the days news that has occurred from the local area of general viewers (Eg. for residents in Wantirna South, then Melbourne news will come as top priority, then Victoria news, both of these are counted as local news). *Note: News outside of Victoria, even Australian news, is counted as International news. (Eg. A murder taking place at a shopping centre).
International news contains the day’s news from overseas. *Note: Australia is counted as International news (Eg. Queensland has experienced major flooding).
Political news shows current news from the political world. Political news can tell viewers about new in laws, change in Parliament, etc. (Eg. Julia Gillard has been voted as Australia’s Prime Minister).
Financial news comes after Political news. Financial news is the most recent recording of share markets, world exchange rates, etc. (Eg. Australia’s currency exchange rate might surpass America’s currency exchange rate).
Sport news shows current stories on sport. Sport news contains scores, awards, new records, etc. (Eg. Australia wins 44 gold medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games).
News programmes will never forget the weather report. The weather report shows a weatherman or weatherwoman, talking about the next day’s weather and the next few days’ weather patterns and what’s expected to be coming. (Eg. Strong wind warnings for eastern Victoria).
A feel good story is the concluding story of a news programme. Just as the name suggests, it is included into the programme to put a good ending to the news, to make the viewers ‘feel good’. A feel good story can help the news company earn more ratings. (Eg. Delta Goodrem donating all the money from her tour to a children’s hospital).
2. What is the difference between news on commercial networks and news on the ABC and SBS?
ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) and SBS are Australian owned channels. This means they are mostly funded entirely from the taxation money made available by the Federal Government in Canberra. Because these programmes are a non-profit media organisation, they have no need to try to ‘sell out their news’. Because of this, channels like ABC and SBS have news that tend to go on longer, with less ‘news breaks’ or ads. Non-profit media organisations will also go into more details than commercial networks. Another good thing about government owned networks are that they broadcast all over the country and even to other parts of the world. Commercial networks on the other hand, will only broadcast to places with the major populations. ABC and SBS networks also attempts to please people from all walks of life and all sorts of personalities, whereas commercial networks only think about which shows will get them more ratings.
3. What are the two factors a news producer considers when placing a story in the running order of the news broadcast?
There are two main factors that a news producer considers when placing a story in the running order of the news broadcast. The factors they consider are the relevance to the local audience, and the way it will affect the locals. People generally want to know about themselves and their own circle before knowing about what is outside their own ‘little worlds’. (Eg. An unusual death in Melbourne will raise more concerns from viewers than an unusual death in Germany). Although they’re both unusual deaths, the death in Melbourne relates to viewers because they wonder if this is a new sickness, or if the person was already sick.
4. A) In a Victorian news programme a bus crash in Ballarat killing two people has been placed before a volcano eruption killing 1,200 people in Samoa. Explain why this might happen.
The bus crash in Ballarat killing only two people will be placed before a volcano eruption killing 1,200 people in Samoa. This is because Ballarat is in Victoria, therefore, it is local news, and locals want to know about what is happening surrounding them before knowing about what is happening at other places around the world. They want to know what concerns them, before thinking about others whom they only see on the news. Locals will be more interested in the news if it concerns them first. It will also attract locals to continue watching the news to see if there are more local news or news that concerns them.
B) Ten minutes before the news goes to air the network gets exclusive footage of the volcano erupting. Explain how this will affect the running order of the news.
If the network receives exclusive footage of the volcano erupting, the event will be placed before the news event of the bus crash in Ballarat. This is because the news is live and the footage is exclusive, meaning only that particular news channel has the footage. The news programme must take the opportunity to be ‘first’ to show their live footage. A visual explanation will also attract viewers into watching the news. When the audience find out that it is on air live and is breaking news, they will naturally be more interested as it is happening ‘right now’.
5. Explain how each of the following shows a news programme’s bias and influences your perception/ view of the story and those involved in it:
– Position/placement of a story
News producers choose the placement of each news story. They will place the best news stories first. Good news stories are usually ones that are harmful to humans (eg. flood has contaminated water in waterways) or news that will attract the local audience most. This is biased because the news they show towards the beginning will generally be longer and will seem more necessary and important.
– Selection of images
Photographers will want to take tens or maybe even hundreds of photographs just on one particular news event. But on the news we will usually only see two or three of these photos. Why is this? The photographs are taken, and then they are sorted out into groups according to what the news producers see best. This makes the news biased because every picture is slightly different, whether it’s the angle or the scene portrayed. When we only see a few of those pictures, we only get one point of view. This is the view the producers want you to believe. For example: the soldiers that fight in the war in Iraq are portrayed as heroes to the world. But we, as the audience never see images of the homeless, starved people who are bombed out of their homes.
– News reader’s introduction and journalist’s voiceover
News reader’s introductions and journalist’s voiceovers are and can be biased as they can still be telling the truth but exaggerating it, or adding in extra adjectives to make their views clear. A way of doing this is by using positive and negative adjectives. Negative adjectives (eg. fatuous) can paint a bad picture to a scene or person, whereas positive adjectives (eg. Heroic) put on the subject will make the subject sound good.
– Choice of interview subjects
Throughout a whole news story, we usually see only parts of a few interviews with different people. Haven’t you ever wondered why we never see the ‘whole’ interview? This is because in order to make a point (the news reporter’s point), they must ‘back things up’ with what others ‘say’. For example, they might choose to lengthen one person’s interview to make it seem more important and shorten another person’s to make it seem not so relevant. Also, reporters can choose to cut out snippets of the interview so it seems that what the person says is extraordinarily wise and smart or extremely dumb and unintelligent.
6. A) You are a news producer for a commercial Melbourne TV station. Below are printed the main stories of the day in a random order. Your job is to put these stories into a suitable running order for the night’s news. Take into consideration whether the story would be considered major or minor, how important or interesting it will be to your audience and how good the vision is for each story. Remember to divide your news programme into appropriate sections.
(Refer to attached sheet)
B) Now that you have your running order, justify to your staff, in 300-350 words, why you have put each story where you have. Explain the considerations you made when making your decision in part A).
As a news producer for a commercial Melbourne TV station, I place the “Bali Bomb Suspect Sentenced to Life in Prison” as the main (first) story. This is because there is a footage interviews. This is a story that will get the audiences attention from the very beginning.
As the second story, I would place the “Old Man Bashed in Frankston”, which is the local story of the day. This is the story that involves locals and what locals are interested in.
“Bus Crash in Scottish Mountains, 4 Dead, 15 injured, including two Australians” will be third in the line of the news sequence. This is the first international news as it has happened overseas but also involves Australians. The second international news story will be the “Bomb in Palestine kills 25 Children on a School Bus”. The reason why this story will come after the “Bus Crash in the Scottish Mountains” is that it not only doesn’t involve Australians, but there is also no footage available. Anything with footage will have more priority than ones without, as the footage will help catch the viewers’ eyes and raise more ratings for the news network.
The fifth news story will be “Premier Introduces New Tax Cuts for Local Businesses”, which is a financial story. This directly relates to the audience of Melbournians; therefore, it is placed before “Interest Rates Rise by 2% in USA” because the interest rates of the US does not affect us Melbournians.
The sport’s section of the news will come after the Financial news. “Collingwood beat St Kilda in the AFL Grand Final” (sport news) will not only contain an interview with the Collingwood captain, but a footage of the match will also be supplied. This sports story is placed before the “Geoff Huegill Wins Gold Medals at the Commonwealth Games” news because AFL is a sport that the majority of the locals participate in, whereas the Commonwealth Games are followed by not that many. There are also no footages to be shown the Commonwealth Games or Geoff Huegill.
Story number nine is a weather story about “Drought in the New South Wales Outback. Stock footage of dry landscape and dead cattle, along with current interviews with farmers will hopefully make an impact and raise awareness of the current drought conditions of Australia.
Ending off the news broadcasting with a Feel Good Story will put the viewers in a light mood, just as the name itself suggests. This will let the audience be happy and might raise some more ratings. The feel good story will be the “Delta Goodrem promotes Red Nose Day at the Royal Children’s Hospital” story. There will be shots of smiling children with Delta. The news will then end just like a classic fairy tale, on a high note.