Local News Analysis Term Paper

¶ … Americans, then you certainly love being aware of your surroundings and like to remain in touch with what's happening in your area and your state, if not exactly your country or the world you inhabit. In other words, you want to gather as much necessary information as you can about local affairs. If that is so, local television news programs are definitely your most important source of information. According to a study conducted by Daily News, "twice as many Americans get their news from local news as they do from network newscasts" (2, a study cited in reference 1) even though most people agreed the local news programs were either too "sensationalistic" or "negative." However while national and international news programs including those aired on BBC and CNN offer news that contains more substance and less sensationalism, their viewer-ship has dropped considerably in the past two decades, i.e. from 41.2% in 1981 it has come down to 26.1% in 1996 (3, a study cited in referece 1). On the other hand local news programs have managed to attract more viewers because of their sensationalistic content. After recording a local newscast, I analyzed and compared it to previous day's local news bulletin to discover that normally a local newscast begins with some sensational cop story, which resembles a fake cop drama, only it is too real to be dismissed easily. This piece follows some thrilling yet unimportant car or helicopter...

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Sometimes all local stations would air the same news with different sets of pictures and comments. However on closer analysis of these news programs, I found that they all focused too much on violence, crime and the negative and there was usually microscopic mention of positive events. With news like local police sergeant charged with manhandling a journalist which is normally followed by violent footage of the reporter being beaten, the newscaster tries to grab the viewer's attention, the next step is to find ways to sustain his interest in the program. So before going to the commercial break, the anchorperson would give us a glimpse of all the sensational news we can see on the other side of the break, provided we don't switch channels or get up to do something better. The glimpses would contain picture shots of upcoming news with headlines such as "murder attempt at shining queen topless bar" or "Young college student found guilty of sleeping with a teacher."
With such sensational headlines, the news program manages to put a very strong hold on your curiosity and interest and you simply cannot afford to move or even switch the channel. What you get to see then is a long series of commercials but you still don't get up and do something better with your time, for how can you miss those stories that the…

Sources Used in Documents:

References

Local TV News and Violence," Issue Brief Series. (1998). Studio City, CA: Mediascope Press.

Hal Boedeker, "Documentary blisters film and television news," Daily News, March 9. 1997.

Richard Zoglin, "The News Wars," TIME, October 21, 1996.

Matthew R. Kerbel, "If It Bleeds, It Leads: An Anatomy of Television News," Westview Press, 2000


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