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 people But we can try for a definition... • • • • • Timeliness Magnitude Unusual aspects of a story Direct or indirect identification Drama 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 laws • Economic policy used as tool for “social good” • 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 Liquor Student loan interest Deductions on mortgage Corporations 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 groups • Sometimes don’t understand implications • 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... Securitized 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 work 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 example. 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.