Functions of the Mass Media • Reporting the news • Interpreting the news • Influencing citizen’s opinions • Setting the agenda for government action • Socializing citizens about politics
History of the Press • Early newspapers were sponsored by parties • New York Sun, nonpartisan, for-profit newspaper • Beginnings of “Yellow Journalism” • Changes in technology led to changes in journalism as well
Contemporary Media • Print Press (thousands) • Electronic Media -- radio and tv • Impact on government and politics • Change in electronic media • competition w/three major networks
Covering Politics and Government • Presidency -- most coverage • Congress -- more difficult to cover • Concentrate on: Leaders of both parties; key committee chairs (if subjects related), local media focus on local reps. • Coverage of hearings (Watergate, Campaign Finance) • Courts
Watergate and Beyond • Watergate • Increase in investigative reporting • Character issue of politicians • Ideological bias?
Media’s Influence • Sway uncommitted • More impact on issues removed from individuals • Helps determine what to think about (agenda setting)
Government Regulation • Print media not as highly regulated • Creation of the FCC • Telecommunications Act • Content Regulation • Censorship
Interactive Lecture(if time permits) • How many of you read the newspaper regularly? • How many watch TV news regularly • How many read a news magazine? • What is the difference between TV news and newspaper/magazine news?
Interactive Lecture (con’t) • What topics seemed to be the key news items? • How long did each key item get covered? • What biases could be noted on the part of the reporters or anchors? • What was the impact of commercial interruptions?