Week 5 – Researching Production
Dr. Carolina Matos
Lecturer in Media and
Communications
Department of Sociology
Researching Production: news, quality and war
“infotainment” coverage
Required readings
Required:
•Bantz, Charles R. (1999) “News Organizations: Conflict as a Crafted
Cultural Norm” in Tumber,...
Core themes
• News production continued
• News as a space of and for conflict
• The “quality” of news and audiences expect...
News Organizations: conflict as a crafted cultural
norm (Bantz, 1985, 1999)
• Author identifies 5 factors that suggest tha...
Professional versus entertainment norms (Bantz,
1985, 1999)
• “…news workers utilize a calculus that includes the legitima...
TV news stories as stories of dramatic conflict (in
Bantz, 1985, 1999)
• Medium of television: has traditionally been “dom...
Selection of “newsworthy events” (in Hall et al, 1978,
1999)
• What stories are of interest to the reader?:
• There is an ...
The media coverage of crime and entertainment (in
Schlesinger and Tumber, 1991)
• As the authors note, crime is one of the...
Ofcom, the UK’s regulator of broadcasting

• (http://www.ofcom.org.uk/)
Ofcom: an evaluation of UK broadcast journalism
(in Frost, 2012)
• Ofcom came into existence in January 2003 and was set u...
Ofcom: an evaluation of UK broadcast journalism
(in Frost, 2012)
• “Ofcom is required by the Communication Act 2003 to up ...
Ofcom code and its operation (in Frost, 2012)
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•

Section 1: Protecting the Under-Eighteens
Section 2: Ha...
Subject of complaints and key issues (in Frost, 2012)
• Biggest subject of complaints within news and current affairs is f...
Television audience theories and entertainment (in
Matos, 2012)
• Traditional views on entertainment by the Frankfurt Scho...
“Entertainment” versus “serious” TV news (in
Matos, 2012)
• “Television can be seen as a site of contested struggle, havin...
Methodological issues
* Triangulation approach is considered to largely avoid the biases
of a single method, working towar...
‘Private’ versus ‘public’ dichotomy
Private

Public

Right/Conservative/Centre/Left – the
consumer

Centre/Left/Liberal/so...
Television viewing in the UK and the public sphere
(in Matos, 2012)
• Some explanations for the growing similarities betwe...
BBC and the tradition of quality journalism (in
Matos, 2012)
• “…the nature of the medium of television is different from ...
What constitutes “quality programming” and to
whom? (in Matos, 2012)
• There are thus difficulties when one wants to estab...
Comparative TV viewing: audiences responses in
UK and Brazil (in Matos, 2012)
• The dichotomy ‘quality’ versus ‘quantity’ ...
Ofcom 2013 report on the media: key findings
• News consumption in the UK
• TV remains the most important and frequently-u...
War and “infotainment” (in Thussu, 2007)
• “….the visual spectacle of violence and death grabs the attention and
engages t...
“Infotainment” and news (in Thussu, 2007)
• Representation of war on TV has evolved in the past decade in parallel
with th...
“Infotainment” and news (in Thussu, 2007)
• TV coverage of war has resembled “war games amongst boys”
• Some TV producers ...
Group presentations in weeks 9 and 10
• Consider the following criteria:
• Structure of the presentation: logical progress...
Iraq war 2003 - Shock and awe live coverage
TV

• (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjGr5_a5yBU)
Seminar questions – Part I
• 1. Using the texts for today, examine the relationship between
entertainment and television. ...
Seminar activities of this week 5 – Part 2
• Seminars will address readings of the week, as well as a pre-planned
seminar ...
Readings for week 7
Required:
•Students should visit web sites to find updated information
about changing audience habits ...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

Week 5 – Researching production

438 views

Published on

Published in: News & Politics, Business
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
438
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
1
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
3
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • {}
  • Week 5 – Researching production

    1. 1. Week 5 – Researching Production Dr. Carolina Matos Lecturer in Media and Communications Department of Sociology
    2. 2. Researching Production: news, quality and war “infotainment” coverage
    3. 3. Required readings Required: •Bantz, Charles R. (1999) “News Organizations: Conflict as a Crafted Cultural Norm” in Tumber, H. (eds.) News: a reader, Oxford University Press, 134-143 •Frost, C. (2012) ‘Ofcom: An evaluation of UK broadcast journalism regulation of news and current affairs’. Ethical Space: The International Journal of Communication Ethics. Vol 9, No 1 •Matos, C. (2012) “Audience perceptions of quality programming and the public media” in Media and politics in Latin America: globalization, democracy and identity, London: I.B. Tauris, 111-139 •Thussu, D. K. (2007) News as Entertainment: The Rise of Global Infotainment, London: Sage, chapter 5 Additional: Schlesinger, P., & Tumber, H. (1994). Reporting Crime: The Media of Politics and Criminal Justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    4. 4. Core themes • News production continued • News as a space of and for conflict • The “quality” of news and audiences expectations regarding quality programming (from week 3) • Ofcom report 2013 • Television coverage and news • TV coverage of war and “infotainment” • Conclusions • Group presentations • Seminar activities (from week 2) • Readings for week 7
    5. 5. News Organizations: conflict as a crafted cultural norm (Bantz, 1985, 1999) • Author identifies 5 factors that suggest that the presentation and the organization of cultures in newsrooms, particularly in TV news, “normalize” the occurrence of conflict. The incompatibility of factors such as professional and business norms results in conflict being “normal” and “ordinary”. • 1) News worker’s distrust and dispute of individuals who propagate a point of view; • 2) Conflicts between professional and business norms; • 3) Conflicts between professional and entertainment norms; • 4) Controlled competition among newsmakers; • 5) Structure of TV news messages
    6. 6. Professional versus entertainment norms (Bantz, 1985, 1999) • “…news workers utilize a calculus that includes the legitimate value of disputing sources and conflict when balancing their relationship with sources and the demands for work.” • Professional versus entertainment norms: • Conflict is manifested in a number of ways: 1) the source of information for decision-making; 2) internal organizational inconsistency as to which set of norms is primary and 3) differing definitions of performance. • In other words, from a more contemporary perspective in an age of increasing media commercialization and economic pressures on news, we can understand this as resulting in growing pressures on “serious news” and current affairs, the pressures to make complex issues more entertaining and the ways in which journalists have had to focus on human interest stories, on celebrities lives, on emphasising the visual, appearance and image • Criticisms: lowering of standards of quality and “dumbing down”
    7. 7. TV news stories as stories of dramatic conflict (in Bantz, 1985, 1999) • Medium of television: has traditionally been “dominated by entertainment norms in the majority of its schedule and throughout most of its history” • “Television news stories often present events that are conflicts by definition and frequently present non-conflict events in that social conflict…Further, the structure form of television newscasts often present stories as dramatic conflicts between two or more parties” (see Bantz, Robinson, and Ewbank, 1984). • Conflict within the newsroom and outside will be seen as normal: • “The daily creation of nonfiction drama, which is supposed to be the reconstitution of reality, utilizing a conflictive form is likely to encourage the news worker to view the everyday world (including the world of the news organization) through the flame of conflict….The use of this form of storytelling by news workers to understand social life contributes to an organizational culture where conflict is a normal occurrence…”
    8. 8. Selection of “newsworthy events” (in Hall et al, 1978, 1999) • What stories are of interest to the reader?: • There is an “orientation to items which are ‘out of the ordinary’, which in some way breach our ‘normal’ expectations of social life, the sudden earthquake or the moon-landing…” • Extraordinariness does not exhaust the list…..”events which concern elite persons or nations, events which are dramatic; events which can be personalised so as to point up the….human characteristics of humour, sadness, sentimentality, etc; events which have negative consequences, and events which are part of…..an existing newsworthy theme, are all possible news stories.” • “Disasters, dramas, the everyday antics – funny and tragic – of ordinary folk, the lives of the rich…..the first is that journalists will tend to play up the extraordinary, dramatic, tragic, elements in a story in order to enhance its newsworthiness: the second is that events which score high on a number of these news values will have greater news potential than ones that do not.”
    9. 9. The media coverage of crime and entertainment (in Schlesinger and Tumber, 1991) • As the authors note, crime is one of the “biggest and most competitive areas in journalism…..Twenty-five years ago, crime coverage mainly concerned murder, jewel thefts and petty crime. It now encompasses drugs, terrorism, child abuse, rape, mugging and policy matters.” • Television has developed an audience for this type of news and programming: • “Routine press and television coverage is structured in terms of the organization of specialist and non-specialist reporting. In response to the growing prominence of crime and criminal justice issues, and recognizing that audiences can be built for such programming, television has developed a number of specialised vehicles with diverse approaches…” • Crimewatch UK – controversial popular action-oriented television, focusing on crime and aiming at the mobilization of the audience in order to catch criminals. “Despite its factual, documentary features slot, it has many of the characteristics of entertainment…” Audience of 11.5 milion.
    10. 10. Ofcom, the UK’s regulator of broadcasting • (http://www.ofcom.org.uk/)
    11. 11. Ofcom: an evaluation of UK broadcast journalism (in Frost, 2012) • Ofcom came into existence in January 2003 and was set up by the Office of Communications Act 2002. Its main duties are: • 1. ensuring the optimal use of the electro-magnetic spectrum; • 2. ensuring that wide range of electronic communications services is available throughout the UK • 3. ensuring a wide range of TV and radio services of high quality and wide appeal • 4. maintaining plurality in the provision of broadcasting • 5. applying adequate protection for audiences against offensive or harmful material • 6. applying adequate protection for audiences against unfairness or the infringement of privacy. • “People wanting to complain about broadcasting standards or unfair treatment in TV or radio programmes in the UK can complain to Ofcom.”
    12. 12. Ofcom: an evaluation of UK broadcast journalism (in Frost, 2012) • “Ofcom is required by the Communication Act 2003 to up broadcasting code against which is can measure complaints made. This must cover programme standards (minors, impartiality, accuracy, harm and offence) and fairness and privacy”. • “The Broadcasting Complaints Commission had been set up by the Broadcasting Act 1998 to consider complaints concerning unjust or unfair treatment….The two were combined by the Broadcasting Act 1996 to become the Broadcasting Standards Commission. This covered the dual role of the two former bodies. The BSC was obliged under the Act to produce a code and it relied on past codes, the BBC code and codes in use elsewhere to produce a code very similar to the one still in use today. This was taken over by Ofcom when it replaced the BSC, ITC and Radio Authority in 2003”. • The Ofcom code broken down into ten sections.
    13. 13. Ofcom code and its operation (in Frost, 2012) • • • • • • • • • • Section 1: Protecting the Under-Eighteens Section 2: Harm and Offence Section 3: Crime Section 4: Religion Section 5: Due Impartiality and Due Accuracy and Undue Prominence of Views and Opinions Section 6: Elections and Referendums Section 7: Fairness Section 8: Privacy Section 9: Commercial References in TV Programmes Section 10: Commercial Communications in Radio Programming
    14. 14. Subject of complaints and key issues (in Frost, 2012) • Biggest subject of complaints within news and current affairs is fairness, closely followed by privacy with 112 complaints (48.5% of the total) being fairness and 51 complaints about privacy (22.1%).An average of 78 fairness and privacy cases are dealt with each year of which 28% are upheld. • Ofcom has sanction powers, can reprimand a licence holder, levy a fine, suspend or remove a licence altogether. • There have been three major issues that have drawn complaints: the first to draw large number of complaints was the BBC2 Jerry Springer: the Opera (January 2005), with critics saying it was blasphemous. Ofcom received more than 45.000 complaints about racism in Celebrity Big Brother (C4) in 2007-8, which was followed by the Russell Brand show (BBC Radio 2) in 2008-9, in which Russell Brand and his guest Jonathan Ross rang actor Andrew Sachs and left an offensive message on his answering machine (October 2008).
    15. 15. Television audience theories and entertainment (in Matos, 2012) • Traditional views on entertainment by the Frankfurt School: • “…entertainment was seen in a negative light by Adorno (1950) in The Authoritarian Personality, mainly as being a vehicle used by the cultural industries to manipulate the consciences of the population and provide them with escapist and fantasy material that would boost individualistic attitudes and undermine collective action (Curran and Seaton, 1997, 267). It was also closely connected to the idea of the ‘hypodermic needle’ and the injection of particular capitalist values into the mindset of passive audiences”. • High brow versus low brow culture: • “Entertainment was thus constructed in sharp opposition to ‘serious’ news and ‘high’ culture, seen as enlightening and authentic art in opposition to mass culture, perceived as a ‘low’ form of cheap and mass produced art for easy consumption and dismissal”. • Discussion in the literature on the “negative” effects of TV viewing.
    16. 16. “Entertainment” versus “serious” TV news (in Matos, 2012) • “Television can be seen as a site of contested struggle, having both progressive as well as reactionary tendencies” • A more complex understanding of the role of television in contemporary societies and in everyday life shows that it is one among many influences on an individual (i.e. peer pressure, etc), but also it makes evident the fact that entertainment does not necessarily need to stand in opposition to ‘serious’ journalism, quality programming or politics. • “For media entertainment can articulate various social values and identities, which can ‘strongly influence political positions…’ (Curran, 2002, 238)”. • “Both ‘serious’ and ‘entertainment’ genres (i.e. talk shows, sci-fi) are shown on both private and public television. Quality entertainment can be enlightening. What is deemed problematic is a heavy entertainment diet purposely undermining the media’s democratic civic duty and encouragement of in depth analyses and political debate. Such a style is generally associated with a more paternalistic and populist stance.”
    17. 17. Methodological issues * Triangulation approach is considered to largely avoid the biases of a single method, working towards providing a thick description (Jick, 1979: 608-9 in Jankowski and Wester, 1991) •Online survey applied to 149 communication university students •Conduction of in depth interviews with 12 journalists and policy-makers •Hypotheses – that the public media differs from the private regarding quality programming. Results have shown that the differences are subtle •Programmes and genres have become increasingly blurred and are shown on both the private and public media
    18. 18. ‘Private’ versus ‘public’ dichotomy Private Public Right/Conservative/Centre/Left – the consumer Centre/Left/Liberal/some conservatives - citizen ‘Objective’ and informational journalism ‘Objective’/’public’/’serious’ journalism Talk shows/sit-coms/reality TV – Realism in American programming, some content films/documentaries/reality TV – from other countries ‘arty’ and European programming, some US material Advertising/aesthetic of consumerism ‘Quality’ aesthetic/Challenging – self/intimacy/the private sphere (i.e. material - collective/the public sphere Sci-fi, horror) Dreamy/fantasy/’escapism’ texts – occasional ‘serious’ material Historical material/in depth analyses – some entertainment (i.e. Soaps, drama, sci-fi, horror).
    19. 19. Television viewing in the UK and the public sphere (in Matos, 2012) • Some explanations for the growing similarities between the public and private TV: • “The report The ownership of the news of the Select Committee on Communications of the House of Lords (07/08) indicated a fall in the viewing of television in the UK amongst mainly the younger strata of the population. Other research work has come to similar results, underscoring a fall in viewing which includes also socially excluded and ethnic minorities. These groups have began to turn away from PSB (Tambini and Cowling, 2004, 173)”. • Criticism towards the ‘elitist’ nature of PSB, which placed further pressures on UK broadcasters to invest in more entertaining programmes capable of catering to younger audiences. Nonetheless, as the Ofcom 2013 report showed, TV is still the dominant medium, and not the Internet • The genres associated to entertainment (i.e. talk-shows, sit-coms, fantasy, sci-fi, see Table 1) have an advantage over the ‘serious’ television material (i.e. historical narratives, documentaries and in depth reporting).
    20. 20. BBC and the tradition of quality journalism (in Matos, 2012) • “…the nature of the medium of television is different from print media. We therefore must discuss its educational, cultural and informational potential taking into consideration the nature of the medium….there are increasing blurring of the boundaries between the private and the public sphere within social and political life…. • “Dahlgren and Sparks (1991, 58) have underscored how it is not the case that television cannot transmit knowledge, but the difficulty lies in transmitting in depth analytical information to a large audience. This evidently puts more pressure on both television and audiences”. • Television can thus transmit knowledge and information only within the limits of its own ‘essence’ as a medium built on the fleeting image. • Public television in the UK: • BBC model has been recognised for its success in managing to blend both serious information with entertainment.
    21. 21. What constitutes “quality programming” and to whom? (in Matos, 2012) • There are thus difficulties when one wants to establish the boundaries between ‘elite’ and ‘popular’ culture, and a lot of anxiety on how to provide ‘quality culture’ for a mainstream audience without ‘boring’ them. • As Bignell and Orleber (2005) note, there is a lot of controversy amongst academics and professionals on how to judge quality. Critics have defined it differently (Brusdon, 1997:134-6), either referring to the public service function or to aesthetic criteria, professional expertise or even to categories such as ‘experimentation’. • Different understanding of what “quality” is according to ideological positions: • “Thus for conservative market liberals, ‘quality’ is judged by ratings. The popularity of a programme can be seen as already an indication that the programme has quality, whereas public sphere liberals and others understand ‘quality’ as being associated with the impartiality criteria, high production costs of a programme, accurate information and/or challenging or original texts”.
    22. 22. Comparative TV viewing: audiences responses in UK and Brazil (in Matos, 2012) • The dichotomy ‘quality’ versus ‘quantity’ - in the sense of should ‘quality’ be sacrificed in favour of more of the same type of entertainment genres, and/or a wider variety of channels to choose from – has remained central to the assessment of the role that PSBs have had in the UK. Some of the UK’s PSB successes have been programmes judged as being of a high quality standard (i.e. classic English literature adaptations, such as Jane Austen and Charles Dickens). • Both the Ofcom study on what audiences want from TV and the Brazilian study point to a common concern with information and entertainment. • In the UK, audiences might question PSB and criticise it, but value its role in everyday life and see its importance. In Brazil and other Latin American countries dominated by commercial broadcasting and a heavy entertainment diet, many are beginning to realise a potential for PSB and broadcasting regulation in democratization and nation-building, in contributing to raise quality standards and extend more in depth political debate to wider segments of the audience
    23. 23. Ofcom 2013 report on the media: key findings • News consumption in the UK • TV remains the most important and frequently-used mode of news consumption, and one in five people say their only source of news is television. • Nearly 8 in ten (78%) UK adults say they use television to access news. Newspapers by four in ten; radio by just one-third (35%); and the Internet, either on a computer or mobile, by just one third (32%). • TV channels are seen as the most important source, but one in seven people nominate a website or apps as their most important news source • TV channels are the most popular source of local news, although one in three respondents say they browse online for local news and information. • Across all platforms, BBC One is the most-used news source. After the BBC, Facebook and Google are the most used online news sources. • The UK television industry generated £ 12.3 bi in revenue during 2012, an increase of £ 103 m (or 0.8%) on 2011 in nominal terms.
    24. 24. War and “infotainment” (in Thussu, 2007) • “….the visual spectacle of violence and death grabs the attention and engages the audience like few other media subjects, whether its causes are human (wars, riots….), natural (floods, earthquakes, hurricane) or both (famine). The potential for constant 24 hour breaking news was most clearly demonstrated by the sudden rise to global fame of CNN in 1991… CNN created a new paradigm of 24 hour news culture, which comes alive during conflict situations.” • “…the demand for 24/7 news, as well as competition among new providers, can lead to the sensationalization and trivialization of often complex situations and a temptation to highlight the entertainment value of news. • Organizational professional and economic pressures on news: • “Given the demands of a 24 hour news cycle, reporters may find it difficult to obtain sufficient material to fill the air time….During the events of 9/11, TV networks had sometimes to resort to speculation and suggestion rather than accurate reporting.”
    25. 25. “Infotainment” and news (in Thussu, 2007) • Representation of war on TV has evolved in the past decade in parallel with the globalization of “infotainment”, “demonstrating a tendency to use entertainment formats, including video/computer-game style images of surgical strikes by intelligent weaponry….and satellite pictures, and a ‘chat-show’ style of ‘experts’. • Homogenization of the coverage of conflicts: • This results in the appearance of a bloodless conflict “largely devoid of any real sense of death and destruction – the audience can be desensitized to the tragedy and horror of war (Thussu, 2003)”. • TV’s news obsession with high-tech war reporting has grown since the 1991 US war on Iraq – • I.e. the US “Shock and Awe” campaign – showed the ‘awesome’ power of the bombardment. • The use of embedded journalists was also perceived as a strategy that reinforced the control over the images of the war and did “PR for the Pentagon”
    26. 26. “Infotainment” and news (in Thussu, 2007) • TV coverage of war has resembled “war games amongst boys” • Some TV producers have used the ‘war on terror’ to make reality TV programs: one was MTV’s Military Diaries, based on daily life examples of US soldiers in Afghanistan. • As Boyd-Barrett (2004: 26) has argued: • “Classic warfare is the epitome of a ‘good story’, high in tension and drama, with complex main plots and sub-plots played out within traditional binary oppositions of aggressors and victim, winner and loser. While expensive to cover, warfare is commercially rewarding for the media, since its threat and unfolding ignite insatiable audience appetites for news. Advertisers may initially fear the risk of juxtaposing products with unsavoury and unsettling issues, but they soon benefit from higher audience numbers and from the potential for linking merchandise with semiotics of patriotism.”
    27. 27. Group presentations in weeks 9 and 10 • Consider the following criteria: • Structure of the presentation: logical progression from one point to another. • Relevance of content: Description and analysis and theoretical frameworks • Presentation skills: Timing, pace, clarity • Use of Power Point • Individual Diary: Non Assessed • To accompany your presentation, ALL STUDENTS must also write a submit non-assessed INDIVIDUAL diary report of 500 words that outlines the group’s activities from conception to presentation. This diary is a formative exercise and can therefore be written informally. The purpose of the diary is to help you to clarify your thinking and working within a group. It should include details regarding how you decided upon your topic, how you focused the literature you were using, how you decided upon the key themes for analysis.
    28. 28. Iraq war 2003 - Shock and awe live coverage TV • (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjGr5_a5yBU)
    29. 29. Seminar questions – Part I • 1. Using the texts for today, examine the relationship between entertainment and television. Does the medium of television itself, in both the private and the public broadcasters, imposes limits on the capacity of TV to explore serious news in depth? • 2. Using Matos’ text, look at the differences between public and private television as well as the similarities and differences between what audiences expect of TV in advanced democracies as well as emerging societies. • 3. Using Thussu’ text, look at the ways in which television news coverage has covered war within an “infotainment” lens. What possible effects can this have on viewers? • 4. Discuss Ofcom and its regulation practices in the UK, making reference to the Ofcom 2013 key findings.
    30. 30. Seminar activities of this week 5 – Part 2 • Seminars will address readings of the week, as well as a pre-planned seminar activity. Students continue in their groups from WK2 and select one text on news production to discuss during seminars WK5: • Bantz, Charles R. (1999) “News Organizations: Conflict as a Crafted Cultural Norm” in Tumber, H. (eds.) News: a reader, Oxford University Press, 134-143 • Davis, Aeron (2007) “Media production: discursive practices, news production and the mobilization of bias in public discourse” in The Mediation of Power: A Critical Introduction, Routledge • Galtung, J., & Ruge, M. (1973) “Structuring and Selecting news” in S. Cohen & J. Young (Eds.), The Manufacture of the News: Social Problems, Deviance and the Mass Media. London: Constable. • Molotch, H., & Lester, M. (1974) “News as Purposive Behaviour”, American Sociological Review, 39, 101-112. • Schlesinger, P,. Tumber, H,.& Murdock, G (1991) ‘The Media Politics of Crime and Criminal Justice’. British Journal of Sociology. Vol 42, No. 3. Pp.397-420 • Tuchman, G. (1999) “Objectivity as strategic ritual: an examination of newsroom’s notions of objectivity” in Tumber, H. (ed.) News: a Reader, Oxford University Press, 297-308
    31. 31. Readings for week 7 Required: •Students should visit web sites to find updated information about changing audience habits across the world. A relevant UK site is: http://wearesocial.net/blog/2010/08/uks-mediaconsumption-habits. • •Iosifidis, Petros (2011) ‘The Public Sphere, Social Networks and Public Service Media’, in Information, Communication & Society 14(5): 619-37. Available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1369118X.2010.51 4356.

    ×