Topic 3 - The selection and presentation of news, and moral panics

Victor Mendon
Mind Map by Victor Mendon, updated more than 1 year ago
Victor Mendon
Created by Victor Mendon about 6 years ago


A level Sociology (The Mass Media) Mind Map on Topic 3 - The selection and presentation of news, and moral panics, created by Victor Mendon on 05/01/2014.

Resource summary

Topic 3 - The selection and presentation of news, and moral panics
1 TV seems to be primary source from people obtain their news
1.1 TV is also regarded as the most trusted news medium and saw it as a 'window on the world' offering audiences a fair and unbiased view of events as they happen
2 Surveys have shown that newspapers often are cheerleaders for a particular political ideology e.g. Telegraph quite conservative
3 In 21st century there has been a large increase in ways people access the news (convergence); tv, internet, mobile phones
4 News
4.1 Sociologists have looked at why TV news is regarded as most reliable and suggest it is due to the way it is presented ...
4.1.1 Newsreaders are presented as 'neutral observers' in the way they read scripted news, their formality and eye contact with the viewer
4.1.2 Body language of newcasters is reduced as they sit behind desks which denotes authority
4.1.3 Newsreaders manners is always friendly, reliable and reassuring Creates impression that news reader is viewers friend and is trustworthy and reliable
4.1.4 Hi tech studio symbolizes scientific lengths broadcaster have gone to find the 'truth' and reinforces image of formal and objective authority
4.1.5 Critics have actually suggested that TV news creates an 'illusion of objectivity' for audience
4.2 Mcquail argues that news is nor impartial or objective, events happen but no guarantee they will become news
4.2.1 Mcquail notes that the news is actually socially constructed as it is an end result of a selective process made up of gatekeepers Gatekeepers are people within the media who have the power to let some news stories through but also stop others e.g. editors decides what counts as news
4.3 Critics point out that process of news selection is biased as it is generally dependent on 3 broad influences
4.3.1 Bureaucratic Routines
4.3.2 News Values
4.3.3 Ownership, ideology and bias
5 Bureaucratic Routines
5.1 Source of News
5.1.1 Many newspapers and TV news producers purchase most of their news items from press agencies These press agencies sell stories 24 hours a day
5.1.2 They also receive press releases from pressure groups, government agencies, public relation companies, private companies, individuals
5.1.3 Many stories appear in the news simply as press agencies deem it as important or a spin doctor public relations officer wants to plant a story about government or celebrity
5.2 Financial Costs
5.2.1 Sending personnel overseas and booking satellite connections can be expensive and may give us news reports even if very little is happening In order to justify the heavy costs involved
5.2.2 Organisations will usually have news reporters already stationed in european countries and the USA (HIC) so when an event happens it can be covered as respondents are already there However events in developing countries such as Ruwanda are less likely to be reported as there will be little or no reporters there
5.3 Immediacy and Actuality
5.3.1 Events are more likely to be reported especially on television if they are accompanied by sound and also any film/video footage, especially any live background from event
5.3.2 Reports done live add a sense of dramatic actuality Technology has enhanced this a lot
5.3.3 Citezen journalists can also be brought into this - members of the public who record news events e.g. using mobile phones 2014 Donald Sterling case which was recorded using a audio recording device and story was sold to TMZ
5.4 The Audience
5.4.1 Proves news is a social construction as news is manufactured to meet needs of specific audiences, of those watching and their social characteristics E.g. Newsround and Channel 4 news Channel 4 news is aimed at quite professional and middle class Newsround is aimed at young children, seen through colours, informal dress of hosts and also language used
5.4.2 Particular times of the day may also influence selection of the news Lunchtime broadcast is more likely to be seen by women so more appropriate to talk about news items relating to their concerns e.g. price battle in supermarkets
6 News Values
6.1 News values are assumptions about what makes an event newsworthy that guide journalists and editors when selecting news items
6.1.1 What editors and journalists regard as newsworthy may differ from channel to channel
6.1.2 Galtung and Ruge identify the following news values used by journalist and editors ...
6.2 Extraordinariness
6.2.1 Unexpected, rare and unpredictable and suprising events have more newsworthiness than normal events as they are out of the ordinary
6.2.2 Charles A. Dana famously said that 'if a dog bites a man thats not news but if a man bites a dog then thats news'
6.3 Complexity
6.3.1 Events that are easy to grasp onto and easily summarised are likely to be reported
6.3.2 Links back to Harveys 'candy floss culture'; television that speaks to everyone but no one in particular
6.4 Reference to Elite Nations
6.4.1 HIC countries are more likely to receive news coverage as they are seen as more newsworthy, developing countries dont have same impact or importance Events in LIC/developing countries may seem un-meaningful to rest of the world
6.4.2 Mclurg said that 1 dead Briton was equal to 1000 dead chinese in terms of news coverage
6.5 Negativity
6.5.1 Bad news was regarded by journalists as more exciting and dramatic than good news and is also attracted larger audiences Good news is less interesting and less entertaining
6.5.2 Stories about death, bankrupcy, violences, damage, extreme weather all gained higher views and higher ratings
7 Ownership, Ideology and Bias
7.1 Neo Pluralism
7.1.1 Neo pluralists hold the view that journalists are objective, professional, pursuers of the truth (impartial)
7.1.2 Davies argues that basic function of journalists is to check facts, he notes that this has been corrupted in comtemporary society by failure to verify news stories Davies argues that modern day Britsh journalists are characterized by what he calls Churnalism (the uncritical overeliannce on facts produced by government spin doctors and public relation officers Journalists are now passive processors of unchecked second hand material Research by Davies found that only 12% of stories actually generated by journalists themselves and only 12% were throughly checked by journalist techniques
7.1.3 Davies also notes that journalists are under significant pressure to pursue stories people actually want to hear e.g. celeb stories as they attract larger audiences and higher advertising
7.1.4 Marxists are critical of neo pluralists as they believe this view of being neutral and impartial is an attempt to make profit Some suggest news is socially constructed in way that benefits ruling class and has negative effects for rest of society
7.2 Ownership of News Oganizations
7.2.1 Sociologists have identified a number of ways in which media owners may influence editorial prioities and impartiality of the news ...
7.2.2 Owners may give direct instructions or owner may be directly involved in setting editorial approach of news media This could be critiqued as one study shows that owners are too buys with global trade and investment
7.2.3 Owners may also influence the way news is gathered and presented in terms of resources and also what stories they regard as worthy investment
7.2.4 Owner may have a political ideology which may directly influence choice of stories and pursued by editors and also way in which they are presented
7.3 The Power Elite
7.3.1 The power elite is the wealthy minority that control political and economical power
7.3.2 Bagdikian is critical of American news media, he notes that almost all media leaders in the USA are part of this power elite Consequently media owners ensure that content of the news is politically conservative and that their news outlets promote corporate values A good example is that very little attention is paid to ordinary people (in this case Americans) The news seems uninterested in the growing gap between the rich and the poor in the USA
7.3.3 Bagdikian also argues that there are commercial pressures on journalists, this has meant neautrailization of infromation and reduction of objectivity because of he fears it may offend part of the audience and then reduce circulation and advertising revenue
7.4 The Glasgow University Media Group
7.4.1 The GUMG argue that the way news is gathered and presented has nothing to do with the rich and the powerful (owners) The GUMG argue that the news is a product of the social background of the journalists and editors who are usually white, male and middle class The lifestyle most journalists and editors live results in them seeing very little wrong with society, despite the inequality As a result they are rarely critical
8 Moral Panics
8.1 Media reactions to social groups or particular activities which are defined as threatening societical values and consequently create anxiety amoungst general population
8.2 Moral panics put pressure on authorities to control problem and discipline group responsible
8.3 Goode and Ben Yehuda note that moral panics produce what is known as a 'folk devil'
8.3.1 This suggests that the so called deviants are selfish and evil and steps need to be taken to neutralize their actions so society can return to normality
8.3.2 The media also engages in a type of social soothsaying They often adopt a disaster mentality and predict more problems if this problem group is not kept under surveillence or punished This increases social pressure of authorities to stamp down hard on problem group
8.4 Goode and Ben Yehuda note that the volatility of moral panics means they can erupt suddenly and can subsidise or disappear just as quickly
8.4.1 Some are dormant then reappear from time to time, but usually moral panic has long lasting effect even after problem group is stamped down on In some cases, it may have led to social policy changes or to law or action may be taken strongly Donald Sterling case NBA racism
8.5 However both publicity and social reaction to the panic may create potential for further crime and deviance in future
8.5.1 E.g. the 'just say no' drug campaign in the early 90's probably attracted more young people to use drugs such as estacy as they knew adults in society disapproved of this
8.6 Contemporary example of Moral Panics
8.6.1 In 2003 a moral panic focussed on the number of refugee and asylum seekers entering the UK
8.6.2 Alleged links between asylum seekers and terrorism created public anxiety
8.6.3 This moral panics reduced motives for people to enter the UK for terrorism, crime or taking advantage of UK's generous welfare system
8.6.4 The genuine reason why people would come to UK were neglected or ignored
8.7 Why do Moral Panics come about?
8.7.1 Reaction to Rapid Social Change Sociologists argue that moral panics arise when society fails to adapt to dramatic social changes, there is loss of control, especially over powerless groups such as the young People see themselves and family at risk from problem groups (folk devils)
8.7.2 Means of Making Profit Moral panics are simply product of news values and desire of journalists and editor to sell newspapers This is a good example of how people are manipulated by media for commercial purposes When these stories have run their cycle they become dormant, and may come back in future and be made newsworthy again to attract large audiences
8.7.3 Serving Ruling Class Ideology Marxists see moral panics as serving an ideological function e.g. Hall study of 'Black Muggers' This turned white working class against black working class (diverts attention from capitalism) Ruling class are able to divide and rule working class Ruling class are able to create and enforce laws in future to fight other 'problem groups'
8.7.4 Reflection of People's Real Fears Left realists argue that moral panics should not be dismissed as a product of ruling class ideology or news values They say moral panics have a real basis in reality i.e. media often identify groups who are a very real threat to those living in inner city areas They say moral panics are probably justified in some cases
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