1.5: The Role of the Media

§1.5: The Role of the
September 22, 2010
The Media
transmission channels over which information
and/or data is delivered
print media (newspaper, magazines),
broadcast media (radio, TV),
Internet-based media (blogs, Youtube, websites)
The Role of the Media
to report objectively on current and historical
events and how they affect our social, cultural
and physical environments
Investigative Journalism
a type of journalism in which reporters carefully
and deeply investigate a particular subject of
relevant interest to the public at large
sometimes called “watchdog journalism”
Woodward and Bernstein: Watergate
News Journalism
a type of journalism in which the facts are
reported objectively and sources are verified
can be on radio, TV or Internet
The Elements of Journalism
A book by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel
detailing what they see as being journalist’s
professional obligations to society
The Elements of Journalism
Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth
Its first loyalty is to the citizens
Its essence is discipline of verification
Its practitioners must maintain an independence from those they cover
It must serve as an independent monitor of power
It must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise
It must strive to make the significant interesting, and relevant
It must keep the news comprehensive and proportional
Its practitioners must be allowed to exercise their personal conscience
From The Elements of Journalism, Kovach and Rosenstiel (2007)
Yellow Journalism
a type of journalism (usually print media) that
presents research-absent or poorly-researched
news and instead uses sensationalism to attract
Yellow Journalism
Frank Luther Mott (American historian and journalist) (1941)
defined yellow journalism in terms of five basic
scare headlines in huge print, often of minor news
lavish use of pictures or imaginary drawings
use of faked interviews, misleading headlines, pseudoscience, and false conclusions from fake experts
emphasis on full-colour Sunday supplements (w/comics)
dramatic sympathy with the “underdog” against the “system”
Media Bias
refers to the bias of either journalists or news
producers in the deliberate selection of which
events and stories are reported and how they are
Types of Bias
advertising bias: when stories are selected or modified to please
corporate bias: when stories are selected or modified to please
corporations with a vested interest in a media outlet
mainstream bias: a tendency to report what most other media
sources are reporting and avoid stories which may offend anyone
sensationalism: over-hyping, being deliberately controversial or
being “loud” about a story to increase its exposure beyond what
it might normally be accounted
Tools for Measuring Bias
A study by Richard Alan Nelson (2004) entitled,
“Tracking Propaganda to the Source: Tools for
Analyzing Media Bias” cited that there are at
least 12 methods used to analyze the existence
of and quantify bias
Tools for Measuring Bias
Surveys of political/cultural attitudes of
Studies of journalists prior professional
Collections of quotations in which a journalist
reveals their beliefs about politics and the role of
their profession
Computer word-use and topic analysis of article
Tools for Measuring Bias
Studies of policies recommended by journalists
in news stories
Comparison of the agenda of entertainment
and news medias with agendas of political
Positive/negative coverage analysis
Reviews of the personal demographics of media
decision makers (media outlet owners, news
producers, reporters)
Tools for Measuring Bias
Comparisons of advertising sources/content which
influence information content
Analyses of the extent to which government
propaganda and PR industry impact the media
Studies of the use of experts and spokespeople vs.
those not selected to determine the interest groups and
ideologies represented vs. those excluded
Research into payment of journalists and the effect this
may have on their news coverage