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Is television news a ‘window on the world’?

The law says the news should be a ‘window on the world’ and Television news claims to be.

Starting Sequences Starting sequences are the opening sequence to the news or other programs/films, however starting sequences are mainly used for the news. A starting sequence can include the following features.       

Rushing graphics Clocks Technology Phallic symbols Male voiceovers Eyes Transparent objects

All these features can be seen as a representation of different things such as accuracy, balance and impartiality. For example transparent objects represent the news being impartial by not hiding anything and showing us the truth. Rushing graphics show us that technology has been improved dramatically and this tells us that the new is accurate because of this. Sets & Presenters Sets can vary depending on the different news programs, therefore BBC and ITV news sets are very different to each other, BBC is red and has a large desk to sit at when presenting the news and ITV is blue with a small skinny stand which their laptop sits on and they stand up and provide us with the news. Presenters (studio news readers) are a main part of putting across that TV news is impartial. This is done by the way they dress, Males usually wear suits and females dress in formal clothes, as well as the way they dress is the mode of address to the viewer and they do this with standard English accents which are neutral, clear and understandable. Viewers who watch the news will see and listen to these well speaking and formally dressed people and assume that the information they are being fed is impartial. The Legal and Regulatory framework As I have previously pointed out, the Ofcom laws state that TV news should be a ‘Window on the world’ meaning it should be impartial and accurate. There are also other laws such as ‘Prevention of terrorism act’ this act states that news which involves terrorism and in anyway may promote it should not be presented on the news. As well as the laws, there are also regulations and these regulations are monitored by regulatory bodies. One example of a regulator is Ofcom, Ofcom are used to regulate a lot of media types from


radio to TV channels such as ITV and Channel 4, and TV news. One of Ofcom’s laws is that “News, in whatever form, must be reported with due accuracy and presented with due impartiality” News Selection Process TV news has to get a selection of stories which can be presented to the public in a matter of hours; therefore a selection process is needed to choose which stories will make it on the news for it to be able to present them in the time they have on TV. This is where the view on news changes because how can the news be impartial if the news is being selected by someone; this means some news is not being presented because they think it’s not important enough, their opinion on what news they think is important is the news which we have to watch. Two sociologists ‘Galtung and Ruge’ made a list of news values, these are the values which are seen important and which will mostly be seen on the news.            

Elite Persons Elite Nations Frequency Threshold Unambiguity Meaningfulness (Remembering the veterans of 'forgotten war') Consonance Unexpectedness (Kitten found on London Tube train) Continuity Composition Negativity (Canada blast missing 'probably dead') Visual Image

When selecting the news they also have to keep backup news stories in case something goes wrong and another story can be used in its place. News Construction Process Each news story will be constructed and made into a package; this ‘package’ includes the edited story which will have been cut to give it a narrative, and also graphics would have been added to make the story easier/clearer to understand and more interesting too. The typical narrative structure that is used in TV news involves normality, the enigma, path resolution and closure. ‘Packages’ are constructed to give the news story a professional look and to make it look trustworthy. However making it look professional by editing the original footage is changing it, which means it may be seen as not being impartial. Actuality footage is footage which is real and not edited, this footage is impartial however when constructed into a package of other footage it will not be impartial because it could be used to tell a different story from what it originally was. Realism is footage that looks real, however this is not reality, therefore footage which is 2 years old could be used for a story today and we would assume its real meaning they have edited footage together to make realism.


Mediation of Reality When news stories have been selected and constructed into ‘packages’ the news cannot be a transparent mediation of reality. This is because it’s been selected by an individual and this means we are not seeing all the news because it’s been chosen what we are going to see. Also as well as it being selected it’s also being edited which means we are not seeing the whole picture and some news is being hidden from us. Because of these reasons news is not impartial and it is not a mediation of reality. Does It Matter? The question ‘does it matter’ is a question a lot of people think about, I personally do not think it matters. This is only because there are more places to receive news and sites such as ‘twitter’ provide me with daily news stories which the news does not provide. The news has to sum up the top news stories and unfortunately a news selection team has to do so, this has to be done because we can’t possibly tell every news story and we need to let the nation know what is happening around the world. People argue the news is not impartial and biased, I agree with this however in less the news was on 24/7 everyday providing us with the newest stories then it has to have a system where they selected which they see as being important and ‘Galtang and Ruge’ have made it clear which categories make the news. 20 years ago I may argue that it matters that the news is not impartial, however in our generation with social network sites and many other sites which provide us with all stories from around the world. The Impact of New Technology New technology has made news very easy to get, most people have a mobile phone which can access the internet and receive news. Technology has advance a lot in the past 10 years and I believe TV news is now seen as a sum up; this is because people seem to get most of their news of Social network sites where other people talk and share opinions about it. I believe less people watch TV news now than they did 10 years ago. Also as well as TV news, Newspapers are bought less because technology which we have today allows us to read it all online. There are different forums and sites now which allow different people to find the news which suites them, for example a farmer may want to know about the crop turn out for this year, or maybe a teenager who like skateboarding wants to know about the latest skating news. News has changed and so has the way of receiving it.


News essay