What`s News and Too Big to Fail Intro

What’s News?
Journalism Principles and Practices
The definition of news...
Best definitions are jokes...
• What an editor says is news
• Same thing happening to different
But we can try for a definition...
Unusual aspects of a story
Direct or indirect identification
Unusual aspects of news...
• Sometimes no one pays attention
until camera is pointed right way
• Inherent bias toward and against
certain types of stories - toward
visual, away from complex
In addition, news is...
• Often something that happens, but
often pseudo-event
• Pseudo-event is also part of
managing news cycle
• Waging symbolism
Perfect example: Economic Crisis of 2008
How did it happen?
• Story about economic policy -- drives some
• Economic policy used as tool for “social
• In addition to regulation, have deregulation -both are used to influence public good
Laws made to enforce “public good”...
Cigarettes -- tax in NJ 2.70, NY 2.75
Student loan interest
Deductions on mortgage
Deregulation works for some but not for others
• Airfares to Tampa
• Communication act and how it
benefited cable tv
But popular legislation can lead to bad policy
• Regulators and legislators pander to
• Sometimes don’t understand
• Effects are right in this room
The Bottom Line
• Trust
• Perception
And note...both those qualities are generated
through media
Case History of Media Symbiosis with Major
News Event
• The meltdown was caused by perception
• Mortgages were the main cause...
 Deregulation affordable homes
 Wall St. took advantage of
corporate structure
More about the mortgage crisis...
Sliced and diced
No model for if it tanked
Credit default swaps
• Moral Hazard
Setting the stage...
• We have a story that fits all the
definition of news
• The purpose of news is to explain
• One purpose of government is to get
public opinion to support its actions
Note the pseudo-events...
Press conferences
Capital injections
Bankruptcy of Lehman
Trial Balloon
Classic example of the news cycle at
Viewing Guide for “Too Big to Fail”
What’s Ahead:
This film begins the second major section of our course content:
understanding news, the news cycle, the news industries, and why and how
news is important. It bridges the first section – critical thinking – by showing
how pseudo-events (events designated for media coverage) can in reality be as
important as “real” events. Note how the major players involved were
concerned, even obsessed, with press coverage and public perception.
Think about the “What’s News” chapter you read for today and how those
concepts in the definition of news relate to this story as it unfolded.
Viewing Guide, continued...
Why It’s Important
Each year JPP takes a major news event and focuses on it in some depth in
order to have a coherent case history that can be used to study how news is
reported, its effects, and its importance.
The global financial crisis is certainly the top story of the year and perhaps the
century so far; it underlies the presidential campaigns, the unemployment rate,
the crisis in Europe, and all of our futures.
Viewing Guide, conclusion...
Things to Watch for in the Film:
Note how in the financial world perception is sometimes just as important as
reality. In fact, as perception drives stock prices, it IS reality.
Pay attention to the importance of news coverage as depicted in this film. The
lions of Wall Street and Washington were fixated on CNBC’s coverage, for
Think about the difficult task handed the news media: Explaining a complicated
story – a story so complex that even the movers and shakers didn’t completely
understand it.