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September 28, 2003

homework: response to "Local TV News" links

alright, here's the homework! These are some very thought-provoking links. Even if you aren't in this journalism class, you may want to skim them out of pure interest--here's the link!

Reading just the first link on the page conjured up some very intense feelings on my behalf--mostly of disgust and curiosity. Disgust, because I have to think about how many times I have seen the tactics which are presented in the article (ie. "this could happen in YOUR neighborhood!" to get emotional response, or keep people glued to the TV). And curiosity because I've got to ponder both sides of the arguement before jumping to conclusions. Perhaps some of the accusations about TV news are true; yet, I do know that the news is not purely interested in entertainment and what the majority of people are going to be interested in (because then, in my opinion, there wouldn't be any stock market reports or everyday-business government coverage--it'd all be lottery numbers, weather reports, and shocking stories of scandal and triumph). (And since when is sex an emotion?! You have to have read that one... gads, that's a stretch.)

On the second page, I found it to be mostly informational, rather than critical, like the first link. I agree that the news stations seem to put far too much emphasis on the looks of their news anchors, but I have seen some that are better journalists than "barbie-and-ken-look-alikes," as it was so plainly put--take Sally Wiggin on channel 4 action news, for instance. She's not exactly young anymore, but she's a great journalist, and people still watch channel 4...

You know, the third page really bothered me. What kind of suggestion is it that news is just to fill space between commercials?! I agree that there are certain deadlines that must be adhered to, but newspaper reporters often have the same rush in producing stories to publish as do television reporters. Television reporters don't always have to hurry and throw something together. I have seen very informative, well put together stories about events and investigations that stations claim to have spent time researching (I know they "claim" to it, but there's a valid arguement for suspicion of everything if we can't believe anything anyone says...). What I found most astounding, however, is the ploy to undermine the fact that "visuals are everything." IT'S TELEVISION! Of course visuals are everything!!!

I've always had a problem with the weather casts on the TV news. I find it irritating that a meteorologist is the only person in the business world that can be right or wrong--or any variation inbetween--and still get paid. (The rest of us have to be right... or else. Can you imagine if doctors predicted thing the way meteorologists do...?) The failings of ethics mentioned are honest, yet, I find difficulty in believing that the TV news can get away with much more than the newspapers. There is a similar sense of ethics in both situations, so the assumption of the "public right to know" is really stretching the truth.

It's true that news in general tends to attack government, but I believe that the reasoning behind that is because we can. Since this is America, and we have the right to free press and speech, I think that newscasts run rampant with the stories on shady politicians and how a new tax will rip through the community merely because they can. Unbiased news when it comes to advertisers is always hard to come by, as well as is negative press for the so-called protectors of the community (policemen, firemen, etc.), but I believe that this is because no one wants to offend these people because of their status, their power that stems from their status, and the fact that their jobs aren't easy either.

News "on-demand" is an interesting thought, however, it's already been done--the Internet has presented itself as a reliable and, for some, more convenient source of news. I don't personally believe that the Internet will fully take over the TV news circuit, but that's just me.

The idea of feedback is a beautiful thing--typically, people complain, but don't ever turn proactive to do anything about what they find wrong with it. Diligence and honesty are probably the most important things to consider when giving feedback, though. Being 100% honest, an at the same time making sure that what you're complaining about is a viable complaint is vital. Sitting down to watch one measly newscast and deciding that there's something tragically wrong is a bad idea, especially if you expect anything to change.

It's fascinating how many people seem to agree with this article and its author. I don't agree or disagree entirely--just in parts. I do believe that there are somethings tragically wrong with the way that TV news is presented (the need to have attractive reporters, the brevity of important stories, the novelty of serious stories such as murders, fires, and what have you); however, I do think that there are things that are quite worthwhile about it as well.

Posted by KarissaKilgore at September 28, 2003 10:07 PM


Great reflection!

One reason I chose the article is that we already get the "opposing view" -- the one that says "TV News is Great!" every time we watch TV news.

And the bit about TV news only existing to fill up space between commercials? All TV shows serve exactly the same purpose. By the same logic, of course, the stuff in printed newspapers also exists only to fill the space between ads.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at September 28, 2003 10:55 PM

Thank you. I was really motivated to write something because of the intensity with which the article was written. I was pretty bothered by the fact that we KNOW that there are other things going on in the world outside of what we find on the TV news. The "censorship" that Paul talked about in his recent entry on the NMJ site is exactly the type of thing that keeps citizens from being truly informed. (link: http://blogs.setonhill.edu/nmj/000365.html#more )

What's the world coming to? We can't possibly know everything that's going on around us if the TV censors things, and we find the newspapers to time-consuming to actually read. Wow.

Posted by: KarissaKilgore at September 30, 2003 3:49 PM

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