We are living in a society which is changing constantly. It is called the “society of information” because the majority of people have access to all information. This society began to appear when 90's. In 1992's Iraq War we could see the power of the information. The CNN started to grow up thanks to the war's images they emitted. And Saddam's regime tried to persuade sending images of American prisoners in the Iraqis jails.
According to this, people can read newspapers or magazines, can watch the television, listen to the radio, or use internet. They can choose between many media sources, contrasting news. Television, radio, press and internet are the most important media our society has. The last one means that news can be sent at the same moment to elsewhere in the world but sometimes is not contrasted.
2. Noticeably Criteria
But despite of that, we are not well informed at all. There is lot of news that we cannot receive, because the information it contains is not as important as another one. We name it “noticeably points”. So a new cannot appear if it does not have enough “noticeable points”. According to this, we can make us the following question: who or what decides if a new is noticeable or not? Which are the standard criteria? We have to check every factor that makes “noticeable” a new. And if we are looking for that, we will find the answer sooner than we hope. There are a few communication groups that control all mass media. And that occurs not only in England. We can say that all “big countries” have this premise. Apart from that, there are other main factors as political, economical or socials. And the history's media is different in each country and also influences media criteria.
Some of the standard criteria that are said to make up the news are the following:
Consequences (effect upon community)
Novelty (the unusual, even the extremely unusual)
Human interest (emotional background)
Timeliness (freshness and newness)
Proximity (local appeal)
(Dennis, E. & Merrill, J. (1996) Media debates: Issues in Mass Communication, 124).
3. The case of study: football versus events in Middle-East
I. Advanced Criteria according to nowadays:
First of all, we have to know how football influences our society. After that, we should to compare this influence with the news that comes from Middle-East. If we consider the points given a few lines before, we find there is not a valid criteria showing a football player on the daily news report before than an accident in which are died ten people. In the second one we find conflict, disaster and, ethically, there is a hard human interest on it. And which is the criteria used to follow a football player to everywhere he goes and not sending a journalist in the Middle-East to report about the disaster? Probably we can find the answer in another book which explains very well other types of criteria, apart from the others we have explained before:
Reference to elite nations: a hierarchy is often discernible here which gives priority to events in those countries which are regarded as “directly affecting the audience's well being”, such as the USA and other members of the “First World”.
Reference to elite persons: activities performed by politicians, members of the monarchy, entertainment and sporting celebrities, corporate leaders, and so forth, are far more salient in news terms than those of “ordinary people”.
Cultural specificity: events which conform to the “maps of meaning” shared by news worker and news audience have a greater likelihood of being selected, a form of ethnocentrism which gives priority to news about “people like us” at the expense of those who “don't share our way of life”.
Allan, S. (1999) News Culture. Buckingham: Open University Press.
These lines have explained to us very well in what consists this “new criteria”, in which we can include together princes and princesses with footballers and their wives. According to this, we can say people prefer seeing David Beckham on TV than a catastrophe or a disaster. Some sociologists and psychologists believe that people try to escape from the bad news, evading them and looking to another place where news will be better. And this premise has been caught by already all mass media communication groups. It is not moral or ethical, but that is the reality. There have been done a lot of audience studies and the results are that news is moving away from foreign affairs towards domestic concerns.
If we reflect this in our example of Middle-East and a well-known (and paid) footballer, we can admit that, generally, people prefer to see a football match or an exclusive interview of that famous and beautiful footballer on television than the daily report about the bad news that bring the journalism from Middle-East. It is a reality, it is out there, but society tries to forget, evading from reality.
II. Principal causes of this news's criteria changing:
The main cause of this is the apparition of 24's hour channels, as BBC News 24 or Sky News, as well as CNN +, and their proliferation, stills giving information during all the day long. What does it means? That if somebody wants to see news, he or she can. There are different specific channels for everything: documentaries, talk shows, cartoons… To this manner, the editorial leader gets on the following conclusion that explains very well Stuart Allan in the same book:
“People absorb what interests them: if news is too worthy, it goes in one ear and out the other” (p.190)
I think that people want news that you can use, news which talks about the problems of everyday life. And this kind of news is the opposite of international news, which only seems to interest politicians.
Another cause I find is the apparition of Internet and the home using that we are doing to it. If we need something specific, internet is the easiest way to find what we are looking for. We can find for preparing rice with curry or what is the latest breaking new from Iraq. What I want to say with this is that if somebody really needs to know how the crisis between Israelins and Palestinians is, he or she can know about it at the same moment, instead of waiting for the 21 hours news bulletin on television or radio. People thought radio was the fastest communication media. We have to start to think that Internet has advanced it and all the communication processes are changing rapidly. Radio resisted television's apparition because of the instantaneously of its news. Nowadays communication world is capable to send to your mobile phone last news through a text message. A lot of people are permanently connected to internet, because the work requires it or for “pleasure” at home if they have access to internet at home. According to this I think the television's programme is changing and it is going to change a lot in the next years. Except the exclusive private 24's hour news programmes, public television will be changing their programme to adapt to the new people's needs. There are big communication companies, so public broadcasting have to find alternative methods to get the audiences, have to adapt their programme to the people's needs and to create other ways to inform the society.
But in my opinion, public television has to do an effort to solve some general questions. I think there are some points in which public television “breaks” the limit. I am referring to the violence that is showed on television, many of them inside the American films, and other kind of rules, like masochism or other aspects we can find in every day public programme or in advertising.
III. The society's opium:
Football is a characteristic sport from Europe. In USA, baseball, basketball or American football are national sports. Despite of this, football is the most important sport in the old continent. Its origin was on England around 1850's and its power has been increasing until nowadays, when we can find now stadiums with more than 100.000 people capacity.
We can compare it with similar rituals in other cultures. An example of that could be Roman baths, where citizens used to go there, like a social event, a place where they could talk with others. And our actual society has chosen the sport as a principal distraction. We have to take a look on all the new gym's companies that are growing up in all around the “First World” countries. The health and to take care of our bodies are the main premises. And I am not against it. I believe it could be a good way of life, without carrying the situation to the limit.
But we must to admit that there are a lot of people who is thinking in which channel is emitting that interesting match? instead of worrying about what happens around them. I think we can enjoy having both things.
Returning to the object of this assignment, what is the cause of this evasion of the people? It seems there is not any leitmotiv to wakes up the people's reaction. There is some passivity that does not like me, and news with general interest would have to be on the top of the audiences.
Critics such Habermas could be on right when he argues that the commercialization of mass communication networks has virtually displaced the active citizens into indifferent consumers. I think journalism needs a formal code of moral and ethics. Maybe some sociologist could answers ours questions…
This last part of the assignment wants to propose some questions, just for our own reflections.
First of all, editors and news makers do not have all the responsibility of this problem. It sounds more about an economical and market forces. We have to do another reference more from the book we have talked yet, where Deenis, E. says: “Editors have too much control over selecting what news to present to the public. But since news is difficult to define and numerous perspectives exist on what actually is news, it is preferable to have news selection determined by market forces”
(Dennis, E. & Merrill, J. (1996) Media debates: Issues in Mass Communication, 127)
The second premise we have to be present is that public television is not dead or in decadence. There will be more changes in this type of television, and I am sure that public television will continue this difficult work which is to show what happens in the world, teach and give general and independent information for free. Or something likes that.
And for last, only to say that public television will have a long life yet. We have to wait for the changes and believe in the journalist's work, which is not easy as people think. Personally, I have enjoyed a lot doing this assignment. I have read many interesting chapters of the books I am referring on next lines which have made me to think about the actual English media's situation.
Price, V. (1992) Public Opinion. London: SAGE Publications.
Allan, S. (1999) News Culture. Buckingham: Open University Press.
Burgoon, M. & Atkin, C. (1982) What is news? Who decides? And how? East Lansing: Michigan State University.
DeFleur, M. & Dennis, E. (1996) Understanding Mass Communication. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Meyer, P. (1987) Ethical Journalism. New York: Freedom House.
Sreberny-Mohammadi, A. & Winseck, D. (1997) Media in Global Context. New York: Arnold Publications.
Lord Windlesham (1980) Broadcasting in a free society. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
Smith, A. (1991) The Age of Behemoths: The Globalisation of Mass Media Firms. New York: Priority Press.
Christians, Clifford, Ferre, J. & Fackler P. (1993) Good News: Social Ethics and the Press. New York: Oxford University.
Davis, M. (1995) Public Journalism and Public Life: Why telling the news is not enough. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
1. We name “big countries” to all developed countries: USA, UK, France, Germany, Japan and other European countries. We can also name them as “First World” countries.
|Enviado por:||Guillem Sànchez Monclús|