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How to Watch TV News

The big picture of How to Watch TV News is that it is a frame of reference for critical thinking about television journalism, or, more generally, mass-market merchandising of the presentation to the public of information that is called--but is not necessarily--news. Taking as its starting point the fact that access to news means, or more exactly is widely believed to mean, access to informed perspective on what is important to understand about the culture, the political environment, and the status of social and personal well-being, How to Watch takes the view that the form (usually) and content (frequently) of television journalism increasingly tend toward having entertainment rather than information value. The result is that television news is performance masquerading as presentation. And in consequence, argue the authors, the news (so to speak) is not good.

How to Watch provides relatively arcane information about the attributes of what and who it takes to get television news broadcast. It explains the duties of on-air and behind-the-camera personnel, from reporters and camera crew in the field to floor managers in the studio and news directors in the assignment office to the on-camera anchors. But mere explanation and information are hardly the whole story. The authors also dissect and analyze the foundations of news broadcasts, which they argue have most to do with corporate and marketing interests. For whatever else is true about television news available on cable and commercial networks, it is also true that news is sandwiched between a multiplicity of marketing and advertising messages. Such messages are the source of funding for news organizations; that is, they pay the news directors' and reporters' and anchors' salaries and fund all manner of expenses associated with news gathering and presentation.

However, such messages are also in tension with the news that they enable, to the degree the news may be structured in a w...

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How to Watch TV News. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 21:31, January 20, 2019, from