Chapter 9: Make the News Comprehensive and Proportional
CHAPTER 9make the news comprehensive and proportional
make the news comprehensive and proportional HOW CAN MODERN NEWSROOMS MAINTAINCOMPREHENSIVENESS AND PROPORTION WITH SUCH LITTLE (AND SHRINKING) RESOURCES question to think about
THE CARTOGRAPHY METAPHOR cartography was historically inaccurate • sea monsters, mythical creatures accounted for what was unknown • the size of land was determined according to which audience the cartographer catered to
cartography was historically inaccurate NON-COMPREHENSIVE AND UNPROPORTIONAL MAPS MADE POOR GUIDES FOR EXPLORATION AND BODEDEVEN WORSE FOR THE UNDERSTANDING OF NEW LANDS innacurate cartography created problems
JOURNALISM IS THE MODERN CARTOGRAPHYjournalism serves as “map for citizens to navigate society”• sensationalism is the modern version of cartographers’ sea monsters• makes short-term economic sense but misleads the traveler
journalism serves as “map for citizens to navigate society”IF JOURNALISM IS SOCIAL CARTOGRAPHY THAT REQUIRES COMPLETENESS AND PROPORTION, WE NEED COVERAGE OF ALL COMMUNITIES; NOT JUST THOSE WITH ADVERTISING APPEAL the fallacy of targeted demographics
DIFFICULTIES IN AVOIDING TARGETED DEMOGRAPHICS journalism as a professional institution is struggling• severe lack of employees and resources due to cutbacks• hard to produce enough material to begin with (nearly impossible to cover all communities)• public becomes more diverse each day with immigration and social change
journalism as a professional institution is strugglingHISTORICALLY, JOURNALISM HAS CATERED TO A CERTAINDEMOGRAPHIC (MIDDLE, UPPER-CLASS WHITE) IN ORDER TO BRING IN REVENUE FROM ADVERTISING SKEWS FOCUS OF NEWS TO ONE ‘COMMUNITY’ PREVENTS OTHER COMMUNITIES FROM GAINING ACCESSPOORLY INFORMS AUDIENCES OF LARGER, COMPREHENSIVE PICTURE UNIFORMED PUBLIC LEADS TO POOR DECISION MAKING do you think that targeted demographics has played a major role in the decline of journalism for modern generations?
LIMITS OF MAP METAPHOR journalism is not an exact science like cartography• comprehensive coverage as well as proportion are both subjective• journalists must therefore seek proportion and comprehension... how?
journalism is not an exact science like cartographyCITIZENS MUST FEEL THAT JOURNALISTS ARE ACTING IN THEIR BEST INTEREST JOURNALISTS SHOULDN’T COVER STUFF JUST TO SELL CITIZENS DON’T EXPECT PERFECTION--JUST GOOD INTENTIONSI disagree: with so many other ways to get news, people have this expectation of perfection from professional news org.s
PRESSURE TO HYPE STORIESthe naked body and the guitar principle of attracting audiences • naked body in public will attract attention quickly but will not necessarily keep their interest • guitar player in public will begin to attract interest and will be more apt to maintain loyalties from an audience that will continue to watch over a period of time
the naked body and the guitar principle of attracting audiences JOURNALISTS BATTLE WITH THIS PRINCIPLE NEED TO GENERATE AN AUDIENCE FAST IN ORDER TO STAY IN BUSINESS BUT WHICH ROUTE SHOULD NEWS ORG.S PURSUE: THE NAKED BODY OR THE GUITAR?many org.s have chosen the naked body and shifted away from ‘hard news’ in favor of larger audiences drawn to celebrity or lifestyle news.
HOW DID HYPE EVOLVEreporters began telling people how to feel about the news• used emotional code words like: ‘stunning’, ‘horriﬁc’, etc• has emotional reporting unattached the news from its commitment to unbiased and dispassionate reporting of facts?
reporters began telling people how to feel about the news ARE EMOTIONALISM AND OUTRAGE WHILE REPORTING THE NEWS EVER APPROPRIATE?book argues that it’s okay only when “any other reaction would seem forced”
KEEPING NEWS IN PROPORTION news must resist sensationalism to maintain proportion • to do this, reporters need a better understanding of changing tastes, trends of audience... unlike Rick Sanchez.
news must resist sensationalism to maintain proportion DESIGN COVERAGE THAT RESPONDS TO ALL PEOPLE BY REPORTING ON AND FIGURING OUT WHAT THE COMMUNITY IS UP TOTHE WAY A STORY IS TOLD IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE TOPIC ITSELFultimately change the approach to ‘uninteresting’ topics: number balance, credibility of sources used