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Youth Indifference to News: Story Ideation Discussion

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On how news is created. Implications of that knowledge for consideration of youth indifference to news ... Business. Reporters. City Desk. Page Designers ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Youth Indifference to News: Story Ideation Discussion


1
Youth Indifference to News Story Ideation
Discussion
  • Lee Becker

2
Focus of my comments
  • On how news is created
  • Implications of that knowledge for consideration
    of youth indifference to news

3
Make reference to 2 studies
  • Both case studies
  • Two separate communities selected for analysis
  • One in Spring of 2001
  • The other in Spring of 2004
  • In 2001 study, focus on daily newspaper and tv
  • In 2004 study, included daily newspaper, weekly,
    city magazine, radio and television

4
News Construction Literature
  • Acknowledges that something called story ideation
    takes place
  • In fact, the hint of this exists in most of the
    key studies on news construction
  • Underestimates it importance
  • Focuses more on selection than on ideation

5
Gans Perspective on Beats
  • For Gans the key process in news creation is
    story suggestion.
  • Reporters have the responsibility for thinking up
    story ideas.
  • To this end, they are required to keep up with
    what is going on in the beats they patrol or in
    the areas of the country assigned to their
    bureaus, and they are evaluated in part by their
    ability to suggest suitable stories.

6
Story Ideation
  • The process of story idea generation is called
    story ideation by Bantz, McCorkle and Baade.
  • Something becomes news as a result of a process
    that begins with the story idea.
  • Individual newsworkers assess the information
    flowing into the newsroom from various sources to
    determine what could be a story.

7
Story Ideation
  • Raw material has the potential to become news
    only if it is recognized as having that potential
    by someone in the news construction business.
  • Journalists have the responsibility for thinking
    up story ideas.
  • Bantz, McCorkle and Baade (1980) have termed this
    process of story idea generation story ideation.

8
Measurement Ideation
  • One of the activities of journalists is to come
    up with story ideas. On most days, what
    percentage of the ideas you turn into stories
    come from your editors, and what percentage do
    you generate yourself?
  • Where do you usually get the story ideas you
    generate yourself?
  • Id like talk a little more about the generation
    of story ideas. On a typical day for you, how
    much time do you invest in generating ideas that
    you will turn into stories?
  • Is this something you think about a lot? If so
    Could you explain how this fits into your average
    day?
  • Do you have particular people you talk to or
    places you visit, sources you contact or other
    techniques that you use to generate the ideas for
    stories? If so What are they? If has not
    specified Do you have a beat or specialization?
    If so What is that?

9
Study 1 Expectations
  • All news organizations will have some routines
    used for generating story ideas. If they dont
    use beats to this end, they will have other
    routines.
  • Newspapers and television stations can be
    expected to employ story generation routines
    reflective of their strategies for competition
    within the market.

10
Methodology
  • Selected a single community served by a daily
    newspaper and three-plus television stations
  • Visited the two top rated television stations and
    the newspaper
  • Spent two days observing in the newsrooms
  • Focused particularly on the techniques used to
    create story ideas
  • Monitored the newscasts and papers produced
  • Goal was to observe how the media organized
    themselves

11
Figure 1 Station 1 Newsroom Layout
Studio
Meeting Room
Control Room
Monitors
News Director
Reporters
Monitors
Editing Suites
Exec. Produ- ucer
Faxes
Assign. Mgr.
Asst. Assign. Mgr.
Producers
Anchors
Editing
Suites
Technical Areas
12
TV1 Story Meetings
  • The assignment manager arrived at the station at
    8 a.m., an hour earlier than the other daytime
    members of the newsroom.
  • He contributed most of the information or stories
    to the day file.
  • The day file consisted of telephone tips called
    in by citizens, e-mail suggestions from viewers
    and contacts in organizations, questions from
    viewers, and developing stories monitored by him
    or by the executive producer from the scanners.
  • In addition, the day file included notes on
    stories appearing in the metropolitan newspaper
    and other local media. It also contained
    suggestions on follow-up opportunities from the
    previous days stories or stories that appeared
    in earlier newscasts. Court and city records,
    and government committee and council meeting
    schedules and agendas were checked every day by
    the assignment manager.

13
Figure 2 Station 2 Newsroom Layout
Cafeteria
Editing Bays
Sports Office
Asst. to ND
Studio
Control Room
News Directors Office
Meeting Room used for Morning Meeting
Photographers Office
Door
Door
Door
Window
Assignment Desk
Reporters Desks
Scanner
Monitors on ceiling
Producers Desks
Traffic Monitor
Anchors Desk
Anchors Desk
Anchors Desk
14
TV2 Story Meeting
  • The producer of the 6 p.m. newscast, who also
    held the title of managing editor, ran the
    meeting.
  • The managing editor asked each of those present
    to offer story suggestions. The reporters ideas
    came from phone calls from viewers, other media,
    and some of the suggested stories are follow-ups.
  • The managing editor passed out a list that
    contained 19 items. These came from a computer
    file the newsroom maintained, tipping the station
    off to things in the future or things that were
    scheduled.
  • The producers also suggested stories some of
    them either originated in other media or were
    follow-ups of previous materials. For example, on
    the first day of observation, a producer said he
    noticed how much pollen there was in the air on
    his way to work and suggested that the station do
    a story. In fact, the story was used by the
    station in the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts.

15
Figure 3 Newspaper Newsroom Layout
Editorial Page Editors Staff
Editorial / Letters to the Editor Assistants
Library
Web Staff
Sports
Graphics
Sports
Photo Lab
City / Regional Reporters
Newspaper Shelf
Managing Editor
Newspaper Shelf
City Desk Reporters
Asst. Managing Editor
Newspaper Shelf
Newspaper Shelf
Lifestyles Reporters
Executive Editor
City Desk Page Designers
Lifestyles Reporters
Conference Room
Receptionists Desk
Business Reporters
Conference Room
Elevators
Interview Room
Interview Room
16
Newspaper Budget Meetings
  • The morning budget meeting began at 1030. The
    purpose of the meeting was to plan the next days
    paper. Before the 1030 meeting, each of the
    editors had already talked to the reporters to
    assign them stories from tips, news releases,
    calendars and follow-ups or to allow them to
    pitch their own story ideas. The editors then
    produced a list of potential stories and
    presented them in the morning meeting.
  • At the beginning of the meeting, the assistant
    managing editor gave a verbal critique of that
    days paper. In the critique, he noted stories
    that should be followed for the next days paper.
  • During the afternoon meeting at 4, the assistant
    managing editor elicited more detail from the
    section editors, with definitive story angles and
    possible placement in the paper. On the first day
    of observation, the paper was working on a
    breaking story about a worker killed at an
    industrial plant. The story had been discussed at
    the morning meeting. The story developed during
    the day after the city desk received an anonymous
    phone tip about an industrial accident and
    fatality.

17
Finding TV Has Specialists
  • Though TV newsrooms do not seem to have as
    obvious of a specialization structure as
    newspapers, they do have specialists.
  • Specialists cover weather, sports, consumer news,
    and health, as the two television stations
    observed in this study illustrate.
  • These specialists are responsible for generating
    story ideas and stories or other content in their
    special areas.

18
Finding Beats Not Needed
  • TV newsrooms do not have the elaborate beat
    structure of newspaper newsrooms simply because
    they do not need it.
  • The TV newsrooms need fewer stories than the
    newspapers, and they can generate the story ideas
    and the stories from scanners, casual observation
    of their general assignment reporters, web sites,
    press releases, and listings of community
    activities that are readily available to them.

19
Finding When TV Needs Specialization, It Creates
It
  • This is done by designating individuals whose job
    it is to create this type of content.
  • At one of the television stations studied, these
    specialists were called franchise reporters.
  • Sports reporter and even the weather person
    functioned in the same way.

20
Finding Beats Can Grow
  • As beats grew at the newspapers, they became
    bureaus or departments.
  • The sports department at the paper studied had
    many reporters, and they specialized in terms of
    coverage of a professional team in the area and
    in coverage of athletics at the local college.
  • The newspaper also had a features department,
    with many specialists within it.

21
Finding News Philosophies Matter
  • The philosophy at the first station was to
    provide coverage reflective of the community.
  • At the second station the philosophy was to
    select pieces of the community that were
    interesting to the audience.
  • The newspaper was concerned with
    comprehensiveness, completeness of news coverage,
    and breadth of topics covered.

22
Conclusion Need for Material
  • Each of the news organizations began each news
    day with a need for raw materials, namely, the
    ideas to be used to generate news stories.
  • The organizations had limited resources available
    for the acquisition of these materials, and they
    developed routines or procedures to guarantee
    their availability.
  • For the newspaper, these involved beats.
  • For the television stations, they involved less
    elaborate specialization, but specialization
    nonetheless.

23
Conclusion News Philosophy
  • Anticipated consumer demand helped shape the
    characteristics of the news product.
  • Each of the media organizations seemed to have a
    news philosophy, or a sense of its mission,
    that was shaped by what was successful in the
    market.
  • Market forces were not the only determinants of
    the characteristics of the news operation and
    resulting news products.
  • The past histories of organizations, and even
    professional norms, played a role.

24
Summary
  • There is a good fit between the premises offered
    and the observational data gathered.
  • The news product is profitably viewed as the
    consequence of a series of activities of the news
    organization designed to allow it to efficiently
    operate and routinely produce its product.
  • A defining characteristic of such organizations
    is their need for story ideas, as they are the
    raw material of news.
  • The structure of the organizations and their
    routines result from this need, and they, in
    turn, shape the final news product.

25
Study 2 Expectations
  • Rather than differentiating the news media by
    tradition and technology, it may make more sense
    to differentiate them in terms of their news
    philosophy.
  • Story ideation should vary in response to the
    philosophy of the news organization.
  • News philosophy should influence the techniques
    used to tell the story.

26
Methodology
  • A research design employing in-dept interviews
    was used.
  • Central to the design was the comparison of
    different types of media, based on technological
    classification, and comparisons within media
    type, where possible.
  • To standardize context, a single, medium-sized
    market in the southeastern part of the United
    States with variability in terms of media type
    was selected.

27
Measurement News Philosophy
  • Can you articulate for me what you believe to be
    the news philosophy of this station/newspaper/maga
    zine? In other words, what does your
    station/newspaper/magazine like to be known for
    in terms of news coverage?
  • Probe if necessary What is the news mission of
    the station/newspaper/magazine? Probe if
    necessary How does this station/newspaper/magazin
    e brand itself?
  • How does that news philosophy affect your
    reporting and writing?

28
Measurement Ideation
  • One of the activities of journalists is to come
    up with story ideas. On most days, what
    percentage of the ideas you turn into stories
    come from your editors, and what percentage do
    you generate yourself?
  • Where do you usually get the story ideas you
    generate yourself?
  • Id like talk a little more about the generation
    of story ideas. On a typical day for you, how
    much time do you invest in generating ideas that
    you will turn into stories?
  • Is this something you think about a lot? If so
    Could you explain how this fits into your average
    day?
  • Do you have particular people you talk to or
    places you visit, sources you contact or other
    techniques that you use to generate the ideas for
    stories? If so What are they? If has not
    specified Do you have a beat or specialization?
    If so What is that?

29
Measurement Narration
  • Were interested in learning how journalists
    decide how to tell stories, that is, what
    narrative techniques they use when they actually
    turn the story idea into a story. Can you think
    of a story you did yesterday or maybe in the last
    few days we could talk about? Id like you to
    tell me how you developed and ultimately told the
    story.
  • This was followed with the following six probes
  • How did you structure the story?
  • Did you develop characters, and, if so, how did
    you do that?
  • Did you try to set the scene or describe the
    location, and, if so, how did you do that?
  • Did you try to create a sense of drama in this
    story? If so, how did you do that?
  • Did you write the story from a particular point
    of view, and, if so, what was the point of view
    and how did you develop it?
  • What sources did you use to develop this story?
    Where did you get the information?

30
Findings Characteristics of the Journalists
Interviewed
22 had title of producer, reporter or editor
31
Findings News Philosophy
The journalists ability to answer the question
about news philosophy and the differences in the
philosophies identified provides empirical
support for the utility of the concept and
provides evidence of the nature of variability of
it. The news director at one of the television
stations quickly rattled off the terminology for
the differences among the three stations. The
magazine had a news philosophy that
differentiated it clearly from the other media.
I think our editorial philosophy is to represent
(the city) and its proximity in an entertaining,
fun, enlightened way, the assistant editor said.
One thing that readers appreciate about us is we
usually cover things from a positive angle, not
positive in the sense that we are going to sugar
coat something to make it sound good, but usually
the stories we go after are the positive
stories.
32
News Philosophy and Ideation
The news philosophy of the media organizations
has at least some correspondence with the
ideation process or techniques used by the
various media. The story ideas generated by the
radio station were very time sensitive. The
station also has a mobile news department--two
reporters who work out of a car--who monitor the
police radios in the area and go immediately to
the scene to interview people and file reports.
At Station 1, the consumer investigative
reporterwhose On Your Side feature is at the
heart of the stations approach to news, says he
screens calls he gets every day from people
complaining about businesses, or government
things. Sometimes theyve been ripped off, want
their money back, want a refund, or a rebate, or
whatever. So I go through those and try to
research them and get their documents and help
them out.
33
News Philosophy and Narrative Structure and
Techniques
Most of the journalists interviewed seemed to
understand the questions on narrative structure
and techniques. There also were some clear
differences among the media in terms of the
narrative structure used. At TV station 3, the
reporter said he went to the family home and
interviewed the mother and the grandfather. He
used pictures of them holding the baby. It is
inherently dramatic, the reporter said. He said
he told the story from the point of compassion
and caring. As a parent, you feel it when you
do this kind of story, he said. At the weekly,
the editor used as an example a story about a
meeting on zoning issues. She said she structured
the story in a straightforward way, did not
develop character, describe the scene or create
drama.
34
Summary Concepts
  • The data provide strong empirical support for the
    concept of news philosophy.
  • The journalists also were able to talk
    meaningfully about story ideation.
  • The journalists understood that they could tell
    stories in different ways, and that they could
    use different elements, such as drama, scene
    setting and character development, in telling
    stories.

35
Summary Relationships
  • The data show that news philosophy differed by
    traditional media type and that news philosophy
    varied within media category.
  • There is a linkage between news philosophy and
    story ideation.
  • At least a weak linkage exists between news
    philosophy and story narrative structure and
    techniques.

36
Additional Comments on Where Story Ideas Come From
  • Church and community contacts
  • African American journalists comments
  • Spouses
  • Neighbors
  • People in restaurants

37
How would news of interest to young people get
into the media?
  • From the young journalists?
  • They learn professional definitions of news as
    part of training
  • Editors make final decisions on which ideas
    become stories or which stories are used

38
News definitions
  • Conflict
  • Problem oriented
  • Point out shortcomings
  • Negative
  • Serious

39
Gender Parallel
  • Large number of women in journalism programs
  • Generally interested in public relations and
    advertising more than print or broadcast news
  • Generally interested in magazine and
    feature-oriented journalism rather than current
    events

40
Economist Question
  • Is the newspaper industry suffering from a lack
    of interest in its basic product
  • Or
  • Is the newspaper industry suffering from an
    inability to distribute and market its product?
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