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Ex 1: News Comparison

The news that we consume each day has varying effects on the audience depending on the way in which it is presented. It is very possible that you could read about a particular story in a newspaper or on a website, and then see a broadcast of it on television. Even though the consumer may be exposed to the same news, the story might have left them with a very different impression, because of the medium which was used to present it. On Sunday September 10, 2006 I conducted an analysis of the news as it was presented in print by the Pittsburgh Tribune Review newspaper, as well as on the television by the Channel 3(ABC) WTAE Action News.

The first thing that I took into consideration was the issue of timeliness concerning the events being reported on television compared to in the newspaper. I picked up the paper early Sunday morning which lends itself to the idea that the news which I was reading about had likely happened the previous day. There is also the assumption that some of the stories may report on things that are scheduled to occur on the day the paper is printed, and will likely be mentioned in a follow up article in the newspapers next issue. I felt that overall the newspaper was more informative in regard to local events as well as world news because it was not as concentrated on one story as the television program.

I watched the news program at eleven o’clock at night under the assumption that the news featured would be from through out the day. This was only the case during some of the program. In totality the news program was thirty five minutes long, and featured ten small segments. I felt cheated as I wasted my time waiting to here something significant in the broadcast, and was eventually let down. Only the most interesting and “life-altering” of the stories seemed to actually make it on the air where as the less trivial and ones were left out. The focus of local television broadcasts is humanitarian stories, consumer reports, and general over-views of broader topics that the newspapers will go into detail about the next day.

In the past I would have said I found that the most appealing to my tastes was indeed the television broadcast, but in this instance I chose the newspaper because of its functionality. I noticed that the television news reports tended to focus on human interest pieces that were primarily about 911 and the terrorist attacks of five years ago. I understand that this is a large part of our country, but I do not agree that 60% of the news reported should be about it. The broadcast simply went in circles and even went as far to feature two different stories about visiting the flight 93 site.

The television broadcast was lead by a story involving a knife being found on a plane leaving Pittsburgh, and then the flight 93 stories followed. The local story brings these issues close to people in the area, but then again I feel like it almost attempts to create more hysteria about flying. It just seemed like the newscasters wanted to make a point about flying and terrorism. I honestly don’t think that is what the news needs to be about. Rather than informing that public that is watching, this form of television broadcasting is littered with mostly commercials and stories that leave me as uninformed as I would be had I chosen not to watch at all.

Some parts of me want to blame this particular station for being poorly run because it is local, and there is a stigma attached to the validity and actual impact of local news teams. I just can’t help but to consider that it was a local station and it didn’t even cover any local news except a story about a shooting in Oakland. The newspaper had an entire section devoted to local news. There appears to be a need as far as local news is concerned to broadcast more than just flowery human interest pieces that appeal to only one emotion; sadness.

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Channel 3(ABC) WTAE Action News
TV STORIES: 35minute Broadcast
1. Weapon on a plane (small knife). PITT Airport.
2. Remembering 911: Flight 93 – Shanksville.
3. Flight 93 Story Part II
4. President Placing Flowers to Remember 911
5. Pentagon Visits – American Heroes
6. Oakland Shooting
7. Saluting Pennsylvania’s National Guard
8. 911 Flight 93 Site – Hallowed Ground
9. Weather
10. Sports

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 11, 2006 12:17 PM.

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