How much of the news is really news?

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On Tuesday, August 25, 2009, WTAE's five o'clock news (till five thirty) consisted of several different news segments. The first category was the news being reported from the studio which was only 13 minutes. The second category was from the reporters in the field which resulted in nine minutes of coverage. Lastly, eight minutes consisted of commercials. This goes to show a viewer that a half an hour of news is really not a half an hour. I always knew that there were a lot of commercials, but eight minutes is almost as much as the time the reporters in the field were given.

On Thursday, August 27, 2009, I watched WTAE's five o'clock news again to determine if I would get similar or mixed results. The time of news from the studio was 16 minutes. The time from the reporters in the field was six minutes. Finally, the rest of the time consisting of commercials was eight minutes.

After comparing two days of news from WTAE, I decided that the news companies want to lure their viewers in because they want them to watch the commercials and hopefully that will result in them buying something that they would have not before. The news companies hope for this because the commercials help pay for the broadcasting of the news.

So, is the news business a money making process or is it designed to only provide information to the general public?

The second prompt for this text assignment was the comparison of WTAE’s news reporter and a journalist. After reviewing the details of both jobs, I discovered that they were both similar because of what they demanded. A journalist seems to require skills that a teacher would have and the WTAE reporter must have these skills, but also have flexible time and work schedules. The requirement of being available for almost anytime of the day is very demanding for a news reporter because if you want to go somewhere and an event occurs, then you must go to work instead. I guess we must take strides in the demands of life, but a news reporter does not have an easy job. I must say the same for a journalist because they, too, have to be on-demand and ready for work and the interaction of people.

I want to leave you with a question of how do the job descriptions of a news anchor, news reporter, and journalist differ? Is there a bias put on these job descriptions because of how demanding the news field really is?

Click here for the course web page devoted to Broadcast Journalism.

1 Comment

I think the news business faces the age-old dilemma of finding a balance between integrity and making compromises to make money. From the perspective of a theatre major, I know there's lots of really edgy artistic theatre I'd like to see done, but the reality is that that kind of theatre does not attract as big of an audience as a big splashy musical or a light and insubstantial comedy. In the end, you have to strike a balance between staying true to what you would really like to do and choosing to do things that will help make you money so that you can keep on doing the things you really would like to do. I suspect with the news business, it's somewhat similar. If someone's a reporter, they've probably fallen in love with journalism as an ideal and don't necessarily want to devote a lot of time to promoting products. Like some theatres, I'm sure certain news outlets are better at striking this balance than others, but in the end I think you can never really get away from the commercial side of things.

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This page contains a single entry by Derek Tickle published on August 27, 2009 4:42 PM.

The Camera, the Reporter, the News Room, AND YOU (or not) was the previous entry in this blog.

Is this really news in Haiti? is the next entry in this blog.

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