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44,000 news industry employees (including 34,00

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44,000 news industry employees (including 34,000 journalists) lost jobs in past 5 years ... Industry is obsessed with being first with breaking news ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: 44,000 news industry employees (including 34,00


1
intro to mass communication newspapers
February 1, 2007
2
The newspaper industry is hurting
  • Fewer newspapers and readers now than during 20th
    C
  • 2006 circulation 1950 circulation
  • But US has twice as many households!
  • Little intra-market competition
  • 1923 502 multi-paper US cities
  • 2004 20 multi-paper US cities
  • 44,000 news industry employees (including 34,000
    journalists) lost jobs in past 5 years

3
Differentiation by market/type
  • National dailies Wall Street Journal, Christian
    Science Monitor, USA Today
  • Large metropolitan dailies New York Times, LA
    Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe
  • Small-city, suburban, small-town dailies
    Billings Gazette, Alliance Review
  • Weeklies, semi-weeklies

4
Differentiation (ctd.)
  • Ethnic press (including 35 Spanish-language
    dailies)
  • Alternative and dissident press Village Voice,
    Boston Phoenix, Seattle Weekly

5
Slow, steady readership declinesbut continuous
differentiation by age!
6
Are newspapers still relevant in an electronic
age? Can they be?
  • Still considered most reliable, trustworthy
  • Still account for majority of advertising dollars
    in US

7
Where young people get their news
8
Can newspapers be saved?
  • An exercise in three acts

9
A not-too-unrealistic scenario
  • The Billings Gazettelike most U.S. daily
    papersis suffering circulation and
    advertising-sales decreases
  • Readership is down particularly severely among
    people aged 18-29 in the Billings area
  • The Gazette has decided to hire a consulting
    group to do 3 tasks

10
Task 1 Define the problem
  • Determine whats wrong with the paper
  • Specifically, why doesnt the current product
    appeal to 18-29-year-olds?
  • Hint to really address this task, you may need
    to step back and consider these broader questions
  • What should a newspaper be (or do)?
  • What is (or should be) the purpose of
    news/journalism?

11
Task 2 Solve the problem
  • Recommend whatever changes you think will help
  • Assume (for this exercise) that money is no
    object!

12
Task 3 Communicate
  • Recommend how to communicate about your
    (improved, revised, re-visioned) product to the
    target group
  • And persuade them to read/buy the Gazette
  • In other words, come up with a marketing
    communication plan
  • how, where, when to reach your target
  • what to say to your target

13
But what is news?
14
Criteria for newsworthiness
  • Timeliness
  • Proximity
  • ProminenceThese are what journalists are
    trained to focus on and define as news
  • Consequence
  • Novelty
  • Human interest

15
Two other, less obvious ideas
  • (1) News is deviance
  • What is worthy of being covered?
  • Only what deviates from the normal or the
    expected
  • That is, not the default

16
Other ideas
  • (2) News is about conflict
  • What becomes news?
  • Tensions between people, politicians, nations,
    ethnic groups
  • Not harmony or community

17
News values
  • News is information about events that are
    currently happening
  • or have happened so recently we havent heard
    about them ye
  • Industry is obsessed with being first with
    breaking news
  • This, plus the pressure to make news new, often
    results in reporting of rumors and incomplete
    information

18
News values (ctd.)
  • News has to have an impact on its intended
    audience.
  • It might be important because it will have some
    consequence on them or because it is useful.

19
News values (ctd.)
  • News has to grab the audiences attention
  • so a professional will find (or create?) a news
    hook or news peg or angle
  • to make important, timely information interesting
    to the audience as well

20
What ethical pitfall might result from the
pressure for a news hook?
21
The Tuned Out study
  • Tuned Out Why Americans Under 40 Dont Follow
    the News by David T. Z. Mindich (2005)

22
What young people say about news (and newspapers)
  • Not enough political coverage
  • Not global enough
  • Disrespects youth
  • Lacks information
  • Doesnt provide emotional payoff offered by
    entertainment media
  • Irrelevant

23
Marketing communications recommendations by young
people
  • Produce TV commercials about relevancy of
    newspapers
  • Air them during soaps and on ESPN

24
Product solutions recommended by young people
  • Actually cover more issues of relevance to young
    people!
  • Replace print newspapers with CD-ROM versions
  • Develop separate editions targeting young readers
  • Chicago Tribune produced RedEye
  • Chicago Sun-Times launched RedStreak

25
Mindichs comment
  • These solutions fail to take into account that
    good news organizations already exist
  • The REAL challenge
  • Creating a society in which young people feel
    that reading quality journalism is worthwhile

26
Mindichs big-picture recommendations
  • Take back the airwaves
  • Change expectations parents and teachers need to
    instill the idea that news (and awareness of
    news) matters
  • E.g., add a civic participation section to the
    SAT why only math and English?
  • make the news something that gives you social
    currency (cultural capital)

27
Make quality journalism accessible journalism
  • News personalities should reveal more of their
    personalities
  • As do Jon Stewart, many of the FNC hosts, Bill
    Maher

28
Suggestions by John Nichols
  • Change how newspapers are owned
  • Rather than chain/corporate owners, who focus on
    profitsand thus slash newsroom and reportorial
    staffsprovide incentives for local ownership
  • Restore to newspapers their role as community
    creators

29
Issues in the newspaper world
30
Competing epistemologies
  • What sorts of knowledge/information should
    newspapers make available?
  • What types of stories are to be privileged?

31
The ongoing tension
  • Is objectivity the ideal all newspapers should
    strive for?
  • Or does this ideal prevent important issues
    from being raised
  • and critical voices from being heard ?

32
20th-century objective journalism
  • The dominant trend
  • Led by New York Times
  • Adolph Ochs buys Times in 1896
  • Positions it to be direct opposite of Hearsts
    yellow journalism
  • Defined by devotion in-depth news coverage, not
    sensationalistic stories
  • Re-visions newspaper as almost pure information
    source
  • Not an entertainment source!

33
The legacy of the Times
  • Most 20th and 21st century papers
  • Separate news/fact reporting from opinion
  • Or create the illusion of doing so!
  • Use inverted-pyramid reporting style

34
Inverted pyramid
Most important, newsworthy, or dramatic Informatio
nanswer who, what, when, where, why, how
Key quotes, supporting evidence, and details
Supporting facts and Explanationsmore quotes
Supporting quotes and alternative explanations
Least important details
35
Critiques offered over the past half-century or
so
  • All stories look/feel the same
  • Inverted pyramid discourages reading past the
    opening paragraphs
  • Cant explain complex issues in depth
  • Little emphasis on why? in the pyramid
  • Creates illusion that there really are objective
    explanations
  • Creates illusion that stories have only 2 sides
  • or that there are only 2 opinions to possibly hold

36
Discourages criticizing/analyzing the status quo
  • Michael Schudson (scholar media critic)
  • Objectivity in journalism, regarded as an
    antidote to bias, came to be looked upon as the
    most insidious bias of all.
  • For objective reporting reproduced a vision of
    social reality which refused to examine the basic
    structures of power and privilege.

37
One response interpretive journalism
  • Tries to explain issues
  • Tries to provide context for issues
  • Found originally on radio and in newsmagazines
  • Now a regular part (but just a part!) of most
    newspapers, too

38
Another response literary/new journalism
  • 1960s ? present
  • In-depth feature stories
  • Uses technique of fiction/novels
  • focus on character and narrative
  • Authors voice/presence visible often part of
    story
  • Big names
  • Tom Wolfe
  • Truman Capote
  • Joan Didion

39
Where is objectivity not the goal?
  • Editorial pages
  • Op-ed columns
  • What is op-ed short for?

40
And yet even on the front page
  • Editors make choices!
  • What goes on the front page?
  • What goes above the fold?
  • What is covered inside the paper (and thus seen
    less)?

41
An alternative standard
  • Rather than objectivity
  • Perhaps more worthy of pursuit (and more
    realistic) is fairness
  • How would we distinguish fairness from
    objectivity?

42
An eternal critique news quality
  • In an age of entertainment, what kind of content
    do we find in our papers?
  • What kind of culture develops on a diet of soft
    news rather than hard news?
  • What happens to journalistic integrity when front
    pages are given over to reports of starlets
    affairs, sports heroes retirements, and
    full-color photos of plane wrecks?

43
The eternal conflict
  • Public information (re)source vs. business

44
The internal structure
  • Business
  • Advertising
  • Circulation
  • Promotion
  • Editorial
  • Reporting
  • Writing
  • Editing

45
The Chinese wall
  • Employees on the business side are NOT supposed
    to have interactions with those on the editorial
    side
  • Why not?
  • What could happen if the wall is breached?
  • Where is the wall breached on a daily (hourly?)
    basis?

46
What does it mean when
  • Our fourth estatea pillar of democracy
    enshrined as such in the Constitution
  • Is at the same time beholden to, and must answer
    to
  • Readers
  • Competitive media
  • Advertisers?

47
What might this mean for the product we consume?
  • A product whose content is 60 advertising!

48
In short
  • Why would a newspaper be any less driven by
  • Sales pressure
  • Advertiser pressure
  • Operating-cost pressure
  • Profit pressure
  • than any other business?
  • And what does THAT do the content we receive?

49
conflict-oriented journalism vs.
consensus-oriented journalism
  • In conflict-oriented journalism (typical of
    dailies)
  • front-page news is often defined primarily as
    events, issues or experiences that deviate from
    social norms
  • As opposed to consensus-oriented journalism
    (typical of local weeklies, which build community)

50
An even stronger view
  • David Domke (2004)
  • Primary orientation of journalism (especially
    newspapers) is to focus on conflict
  • Whos fighting or disagreeing?
  • Where is there a challenge or struggle?

51
This raises some questions
  • What does this predict for coverage of
    agreement/unity?
  • Is news deviation?
  • Is news that which was not intended for you to
    see?
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