Supplementary articles on TV News

Herman and Chomsky’s Propaganda Model of News
Five filters which ensure only certain kinds of information filter through; filters which ensure privileged info which suits the interests of powerful elites. These filters are:

  1. ownership: a few large and wealthy organisations – news is more apt to be pro their owner’s interests.
  2. advertising: affluent audiences needed; advertisers need a buying mood – lighter stories
  3. sourcing: tight timetables lead to journalists accepting pre-packaged information therefore well-resourced organisations can gear up to supply these ‘packages’ and they can reflect their interests.
  4. flak: certain stories can generate expensive legal battles e.g. evidence against the tobacco industry.
  5. ideological: unquestioned assumptions about the superiority of capitalism over communism; currently US v Iraq.


Van Zoonen 1994
“In feminist research the conclusion is that media output fails to represent the actual numbers of women in the world (51%) and their contribution to the labour force.”


From John Hartley
How to analyse a news programme:

News as an industrial commodity

Journalism: news values
Competition: news as a commercial commodity; sources; rival news media
Entertainment – how to retain viewers while telling them unpalatable truths; how does news appeal and appal?
Regulation: licensing; ‘decency’; self-censorship; violence (but not between intimates); dead bodies but not in close-up (broken during most recent gulf war!)


News as a generic form

Visual elements; décor, set, graphics
Verbal / sound effects; institutional voices (reporters/ commentators / anchors) accessed voices (‘real’ people);effects (music/ dubbed sounds)
Narration: plot of stories; characters(we/they) (personifications: heroes/ villains / victims); action and dialogue within and between stories.
Differentiation: how news is like and unlike other genres (advertising /talk shows /drama) and media (papers / radio / internet.)


News as dramatisation of democracy

Our representatives – talking heads (decision making); Visualised by location (reporters outside no. 10); celebs (actions and remarks) based on bodily recognition.
Vox pops: ‘ordinary’ people’s views, soundbites of the ‘chorus’ of politics.
National identity: myths of who we are, ‘we love children’, ‘we are free’, ‘ …they are illegal immigrants’…


News as a regime of truth

Impartiality versus bias
Conflict: truth as a ‘product’ of both sides; truth as violence!
Eyewitness ideology: ‘being there’ is trustworthy; but the info comes form a handout and a reporter stands in front of the relevant scene.
Fact versus fiction: news has eye contact but no music, drama has music but no eye contact!


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