Roots of News Media • Mass media – entire array of organizations which collect and disseminate info to the public. • News media – provide new info about subjects of public interest. • Print med – newspapers, magazines, newsletters, journals • Partisan press – news media are organs of political parties.
Penny press – New York Sun was first – more profit oriented media. Free from single political party. Forerunner of modern newspapers. • Yellow journalism – late 19th century – pictures, comics, color, sensationalized stories – goal was mass circulation to maximize profits. • Muckraking – early 20th century – reform government and business conduct – focus was issue oriented and used investigative reporting – higher standard of factual accuracy.
Broadcast media – television, radio, cable, satellite services. • Radio news – KDKA first station – broadcast results of 1920 election – talk shows • Television news – by 1970’s was chief provider of news – recently comedy news shows are popular – The Daily Show with Jon Stewart – The Colbert report – evolved from Saturday Night Live’sWeekend Update.
New media – internet • Blogs – web-based journal entries
Current Trends • Media consolidation – dynamics of business are pushing firms to consolidate for larger market shares and financial survival – possible problems – manipulation of the news – focus on entertainment and sensational issues. • Use of experts – pundits – “talking heads” – hired to discuss the issues of the day. Why? What is the potential problem here?
Narrow casting – targeting of programming to specific populations. • Citizen journalism – collecting, reporting, and analyzing of news by people who are not professional journalists.
Rules of Governing the News Media • Journalistic standards – professional norms and journalists level of integrity - oversight by editors. • On background – info provided not attributed to a named source. • Deep background – not attributed to any source. • Off the record – info provided that is not released to the public. • On the record – can be released and attributed to a named source.
Government regulation of electronic media – airwaves are considered public property and are leased to broadcasters by federal government. • Telecommunications Act of 1996 – deregulated segments of electronic media to provide optimal balance of corporate interests, technological innovations, and consumer needs. • Result was merger of distinct kinds of media – Viacom, Time Warner, Comcast.
Content regulation – attempt by government to control substance of mass media. • Equal time rule – must sell airtime equally to all candidates in a campaign.
Covering Politics • Press release – document offering an official comment of position. • Press briefing – restricted session between press secretary and press. • Press conference – unrestricted session between an elected official and the press.
Toward Reform • Media effect – influence of news sources un public opinion – effect is limited – mostly on independents – very limited on domestic issues. Why? • Agenda setting – process of forming list of issues to be addressed by the government. Example? • Framing – defining a political issue - affects opinion about the issue.
Media bias to the left – many are Democratic in party affiliation and voting habits – Actually probably more moderate than anything. • Media bias to the right – Corporate interests may balance left-leanings of reporters – conservative bias may be more pervasive – most journalists are white, male, highly educated, and relatively affluent – may ignore issues of racial and ethnic minorities, poor, and others critical of big business.
Dynamics of contemporary media bias – recent bias is intentional. Why? • Narrowcasting – one-sided message to secure competitive edge in niche market. Example? • What causes the deepest bias among political journalists? • Public confidence in the media – unfavorable – Pew research found that 29% of respondents to a poll said that media gets facts straight. 63% believe press is often inaccurate.