NBC Nightly News Broadcast
Broadcast date: February 23, 2011
Class: CI5830, Spring 2011
[Opening News Block]
0:15 - 1:07: Introduction, brief run through of stories, greeting from Brian Williams
1:08 - 2:10: “Rebellion in Libya”
2:11 - 6:22: “War Zone”
6:23 - 8:47: “Gaddafi’s Empire”
8:48 - 9:06: “Surging Oil Prices”
9:07 - 11:25: “Race Against Time in New Zealand”
11:26 - 11:47: “Budget Protests”
11:48 - 14:25: “Doing the Right Thing?”
14:26 - 14:48: “Defense of Marriage Act”
14:49 - 15:11: “Mr. Mayor”
15:12 - 15:30: Segue into commercial break and mentioning of top remaining stories
[First Commercial Break]
15:31 - 16:00: MEDIfacts/Biotene ad
16:01 - 16:15: Coricidin HBP ad
16:16 - 17:15: Enbrel ad (joint pain relief)
17:16 - 17:30: Alka-Seltzer Plus ad
[Second News Block]
17:31 - 18:07: “Head Injuries”
18:08 - 19:56: “Hidden Dangers”
19:57 - 20:10: Segue into break, brief account of next story, listing of daily stock figures
[Second Commercial Break]
20:11 - 20:40: Smith & Nephew hip replacement ad
20:41 - 21:10: State Street Global Investors SPDR ad (retirement plan/investing)
21:11 - 21:41: Chevrolet Volt ad
21:42 - 21:55: Phillips (Bayer) Caplets ad (constipation pills)
21:56 - 22:11: Advil Congestion Relief ad
22:12 - 22:41: AARP ad
[Third News Block]
22:42 - 23:19: “Losing Streak Ends”
23:20 - 23:57: “League of her Own”
23:58 - 24:06: Segue into next break, quip about next story (Brotherhood)
[Third Commercial Break]
24:07 - 24:37: Aleve ad
24:38 - 25:06: T. Rowe Price Investments ad
25:07 - 26:37: Niaspan ad (cholesterol medicine)
26:38 - 26:52: Local NBC Affiliate ad (Jeopardy Teen Tournament)
[Closing News Block]
26:53 - 29:03: The Grio’s 100 History Makers in the Making: “The Brotherhood”
29:04 - 29:25: Brian Williams signs off
The following analysis uses a critical eye to break down the elements of an NBC News broadcast.
The program uses certain elements to gain the interest (and keep the focus) of an audience. To analyze
these aspects of the broadcast, we will be using the following elements from Considine and Haley’s
(Visual Messages, Integrating Imagery into Instruction) framework: Story, Sequence, Sponsor, Scope,
Structure, Style, and Slant. We will be focusing on several news stories featured within the broadcast,
each having unique significance, viewpoint, and/or motivation. This news analysis will aid in
understanding order and selection, bias versus balance, target audience, and media style.
Opening the newscast, anchor Brian Williams is shot within a head and shoulders frame next to
a graphic that displays a visual of the headline stories. As he moves from one headline summary to the
next, the graphic changes along with a sound effect indicating the change. Each graphic has a short title
that describes the event, utilizing words that the viewer hears from the anchor’s introduction of the
story. The viewer is able to use this style to make a psychological connection between the audio they
hear and the visuals they see for upcoming stories. As such, audiences can now make decisions on what
they will watch, and what they deem as important or irrelevant within the newscast. As Williams
finishes his introductions, the newscast then transitions to its standard everyday opening including the
broadcast’s famous musical score enhanced by bright, modern graphics. The broadcast starts the
sequence of stories with “Rebellion in Libya”, satisfying the media literacy principle “Media
Constructions have Commercial Purposes”. The producers of this newscast made their decision of what
the public wants to know and needs to know. As this newscast is just a small piece of the massive media
industry, the purposes and intentions are the same; to make a profit, construct a reality, and affect the
Crisis in Libya- 1:08-8:47
Brian Williams introduces the first featured topic of the night: turmoil in Libya. The stories on
this topic include “Rebellion in Libya”, “War Zone”, and “Gaddafi’s Empire”. This opening trio chronicles
aspects of the present crisis in Libya, including the effort to safely evacuate American civilians from the
unstable region, ongoing power struggles and war between pro-democracy protestors and those
protecting Gaddafi’s regime, and the extravagance and excesses of the Gaddafi family. Brian Williams
reports from New York, Foreign correspondent Richard Engel reports live from Libya, and Andrea
Mitchell reports from NBC’s Washington D.C. office.
By placing Libya as the first in the broadcast sequence, producers deem the present conflict to
be the most urgent news, thus it is prioritized in the lineup. At nearly eight minutes in length, this trilogy
is the lengthiest topic of the night, emphasizing its importance. The present social and political climate
in Libya is relevant for the American public as our government is intervening in the conflict and thus,
American civilian lives are at stake as are the lives of foreigners stranded in the region unable to escape
while the overall stability of the country has been shaken. U.S. gas prices are affected by this conflict, as
evidenced by the next topic in the sequence, a news story titled “Surging Oil Prices”. Given the
nighttime slot of the news program, adults are the assumed target audience, this news topic would be
most interesting and relevant to adult viewers.
The scope of these stories use a combination of footage, interviews, and live reporting to
update the American public on the present conflict while emphasizing the need for civilian evacuation
and offers insight into current threats posed by Muammar Gaddafi and his regime. The blend of
dialogue and visuals stress to audiences the escalating intensity of the crisis and demonstrate the plight
of Libyan pro-democracy protestors whose lives are in peril as they fight for the democracy they would
like to see. As the conflict is a complex situation that has evolved rapidly into chaos and war, these
stories provide background information about the divided population in Libya and their desires as well
as those of Gaddafi’s regime while Richard Engel’s brave reporting in the midst of clashes offer first-
hand reports and visuals that transport viewers to the scene. Engle provides additional live updates on
air with Brian Williams via split screen. As Libyan conflict was chosen to be the first topic presented in
the broadcast lineup, war is a top priority to the intended American adult target audience.
While each story has a slightly different focus within the topic, the trio works together as one to
provide a comprehensive picture of the current challenges in Libya. The structure of these stories is
created through a combination of dialogue from multiple reporters (including voiceover narration),
graphics, and various footage which serves to relay information and provide differing perspectives. In
“Rebellion in Libya”, excerpts from speeches given by President Obama, State Department Spokesman
P.J. Crowley, and Muammar Gaddafi and his family offer multiple points of view. Interviews with Libyan
protestors and former captives demonstrate the strong will of several people who joined the Libyan pro-
democracy movement, which struggles in the face of suppression. These personal additions affect
audience perception by eliciting viewer empathy. Footage of life on Libya’s chaotic streets demonstrates
the dangers of this conflict as anti-Gaddafi protestors and loyalists clash in fights while fires blaze.
Footage of frustrated protestors desiring reform (carrying old Libyan flags representing the country prior
to the regime) and crowds dancing and cheering offer humanistic angles into the turmoil . Excesses of
Gaddafi’s regime (as seen in “Gaddafi’s Empire”) are portrayed through pictures depicting the leader’s
flashy clothing style and footage from parties attended by his sons featuring American singers Beyonce
and Mariah Carey, who were paid millions to perform at family events. These images were chosen as
Americans are familiar with the artists and can be convinced that the regime is prioritizing
entertainment and frivolity over the needs of the Libyan people.
Mass graves: The human cost of war.
The style of these news stories indicates the intensity of
the present conflict, portrayed through shaky cell phone
footage of street clashes, images of Brian Engel reporting
as angry protestors demand democracy, and images of
rebels shooting automatic weapons in the air and pro-
democracy fighters standing atop a captured military
vehicle in celebration. In “War Zone”, mass dug graves
are shown empty awaiting anticipated bodies. This shot
(left) evokes strong viewer empathy and reinforces the dangers and human cost of the conflict. The
reporting of Brian Williams, Richard Engel, and Andrea Mitchell are given with serious and long faces
while the fast editing of news footage provides a frantic look and feel to this news piece.
A confident Obama. A shaky Gaddafi.
Differences between President Obama and
Muammar Gaddafi are emphasized by shots of
the two leaders giving speeches. President
Obama is depicted as cool, collected,
conservatively dressed, and positioned in the
center with a calm but firm voice, situated
between two flags which create a feeling of professionalism and patriotism. Gaddafi can be seen giving
his speech off-center in a medium close up in front of a dimly-lit background, making him appear less
focused, smaller, and more erratic and chaotic. The slant of these initial three stories creates empathy
in the American people towards pro-democracy Libyans while villainizing Gaddafi. Camera angles are
used to affect audience perception for maximum emotional effect.
A defenseless crowd.
Protestors are shot from a high angle making
them look small and weak as they chant for
freedom while images of rebels capturing a
regime vehicle are shot from a low angle,
making them look heroic and victorious.
Shots of innocent children shouting for freedom strongly resonate emotionally with audiences while the
anger and frustration of the protestors can be heard as they shout with clenched fists in the air. Anguish
is evident in the faces of former captives who were nearly executed by the regime. This abundance of
sight and sound overwhelms audiences and influences perception as the footage creates a mood of
chaos and despair.
Gaddafi and his regime are not depicted favorably. Aside from
images of Gaddafi’s military dress and flamboyant style, footage
depicts his entourage of female bodyguards (left) holding automatic
weapons while a voiceover reveals his odd request that they all be
virgins. As such, the stories are biased in that particular footage and
images are chosen to elicit specific emotional reactions to alter
viewer perspectives (sympathy for the protestors and discontent with Gaddafi). Empathy in viewers
connects them with the plight of the people of Libya, possibly building public support for U.S.
intervention in the conflict. While Brian Engel reports that people on the street were “mostly friendly….”
and that he only received “a few hard stares”, negative depiction of protestors was mostly absent.
Viewers were shown images of riled protestors and innocent children who wanted change and would
fight for the democracy they wish to one day see, citizens seeking a future free of Gaddafi’s dictatorship.
As such, the slant of these stories is positive.
Head Shots - 17:31- 18:56 Williams discussing Duerson.
The stories “Head Injuries” and “Hidden
Dangers” feed off one another. The first (“Head
Injuries”) is about the suicide of Dave Duerson, a
former Super Bowl Champion with the Chicago
Bears. Before he died, Duerson asked family and
friends to have an autopsy performed on his
remains to see if he had sustained lifelong brain
damage through concussions suffered during his playing days. The second (“Hidden Dangers”) is about
how his death has increased awareness of concussion damage to athletes, which serves to caution many
parents in the target audience of the dangers inherent in allowing their children to play contact sports.
In the sequence of the broadcast, these were the only two stories in the second news block. The fact
that they got their own block represents the importance of this story to the viewers as well as the
producers. The stories would appeal to many different viewing groups. Parents and grandparents of
school-aged children would be gripped by the fear of sports-related injuries to their loved ones. Sports
fans would be interested because of Duerson and the Bears, as well as what his death could mean for
the future of football. The general viewer would likely stay tuned in because death sells, as Considine
and Haley noted in Visual Messages. The suicide of a former professional athlete who, in some ways,
killed himself to prove a point, would also be an instant draw to the schadenfreude crowd. For the
producers, these pieces were a great way to keep many different people tuned in for the scope of the
slightly under two and a half minute combined runtime of the stories before the broadcast cut to
commercials. The structures of these two stories are quite different. “Head Injuries” book ends with
head and shoulders shots of Brian Williams as he talked about the suicide and some of the fallout. In
these shots, a small logo appeared with a football, a helmet, and the words “Head Injuries” in the upper
Duerson in action.
right-hand corner of the screen. In between those shots were
images of Duerson from his career. Most of them just show him
playing or standing. One shot (left) showed him landing on his
head which, in terms of the style of this segment, allowed the
show to make an allusion to the head injury storyline.
The “Hidden Dangers” story, however, took different
approaches to structure and style. It started with a brief introduction from Williams and then segued
into a report filed by Dr. Nancy Snyderman, Chief Medical Editor for NBC News. To start her segment,
there was a mixture of clips of different athletes taking blows to the head while playing. It is important
to note that all but one of the clips shown came from sports and broadcasts that also appeared on NBC.
This was a nice way to advertise one’s own programming in the middle of a news broadcast. The one
non-NBC clip was from ESPN showing the injury sustained by Eric LeGrand of Rutgers who was paralyzed
from a hit he took in a game. This was probably put into the broadcast because it was one of the most
infamous and scary injuries suffered by any athlete over the past couple years.
After the injury clips, viewers saw footage of a high school hockey
player at the office of a concussion specialist in Pittsburgh (left). Note
that the camera remained angled downward on the boy, making him
look vulnerable. His doctor, however, was usually shown with an
upward camera angle making him look dominant and projecting him as
a hero. The doctor had pictures of his family behind him, showing that aside from being well trained in
the medical profession, he was also a family man who cared about others and was just as concerned
about his daughters’ well being as he would be about these athletes. Note the computer technology in
his office, suggesting that the doctor is modern and probably attuned to medical advancements.
Next, the segment cut to clips of a concussion testing facility in
Out of whack.
Canada. Many of the clips showed a dummy head being rammed
by a mechanical arm simulating the types of hits athletes take
that cause concussions. One of the most interesting shots from
this part of the segment placed the dummy head close to the
edge of the screen as it quickly disappeared from view following
the head being rocked again by the machine. This shot
demonstrated to viewers very quickly just how dangerous and sudden headshots can be for players.
Next, audiences saw a clip of Dr. Snyderman standing in front of a screen to the far right of the
camera with two giant football helmets taking up the rest of the image. The CGI helmets crashed into
one another while an image depicted an x-ray view of how a brain is jostled around during such a
collision. Here again, Dr. Snyderman is filmed with an upward camera angle creating an illusion of
authority as she analyzed the hit. The segment ended with more clips of the doctor where she was
shown as strong and the athletes as weak through camera angles.
The slant of this piece has to do with the sponsors, or in this case, the NFL who has recently
begun putting some of their program back on NBC, including the Super Bowl once every three years.
With this story, what was not included about the suicide is much more important than what they
actually put into the report. The Duerson suicide could not have come at a worse time for the NFL
owners because a few weeks later their collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players’
Association was to run out. Several of the issues that had bogged down negotiations dealt with
concussions and player safety. This past season, the NFL saw more general injuries and concussions
than ever before, at least more than had ever been reported, which was one of the major problems that
Congress made the NFL address. In an attempt to cut down on these injuries, the league started
enforcing greater penalties on hits that could lead to concussions. While this seems proactive, the
problem arose when the owners wanted to expand the NFL regular season from sixteen to eighteen
games. Naturally, the players were quite upset because injuries were up and the owners not only want
them to play more games, but to also take a pay cut in the process. Duerson’s death only showed how
dangerous some of these injuries could be and made the NFL owners look bad for demanding that their
players put their lives at greater risk.
As far as NBC is concerned, playing out this aspect of the Duerson story could hurt their
relationship with the NFL. Within the past decade, NBC has been able to get NFL programming back on
their network, including the Super Bowl. By leaving some of this information out of their broadcast, NBC
is helping to protect the image of the NFL owners. To add to this, the second story, “Hidden Dangers,”
actually aids the NFL. By NBC doing a piece depicting efforts made to help concussion victims and
improve safety for athletes, the NFL is, by proxy, being made to look proactive in these labors as well,
which the NFL actually is, but through the recent labor struggles does not always appear to be. The way
these stories were slanted should allow for continued friendly relations between the NFL and NBC.
The Brotherhood 26:53-29:03
This story, titled “The Brotherhood”, is an informative news report about a man named Dale
Long, and his passion to make a difference in the lives of African-American youth. Brian Williams
introduced the story by saying that Dale was “a man making history, one barbershop at a time.”
Reported by NBC news reporter Ron Mott, the story looks into Dale’s mentor relationship of 40 years
with the Big Brother/Big Sisters organization. This report came last in terms of sequence of the
newscast; however the scope of the story was higher than that of the other ‘featured news’ stories.
Brian Williams introducing “The Brotherhood”.
At about 2.5 minutes, this story gave the
audience information on Dale Long’s work for the
organization, various interviews, and offered a
glimpse at what Dale is looking to do in the future
for his group. This story begins with anchor Brian
Williams in a head and shoulder shot (left) with a
slideshow of Dale Long and his work to the right
of him. Contributing to the style of the story, Williams provides an ear-catching opening when he
introduces the story for the reporter by saying Dale is “…helping young African American boys become
successful men.” After the anchor introduces the story and NBC’s news partner “Grio.com”, the
audience views a scene of Dale Long and one of his mentees.
A participant interview. The structure of this story includes actual footage of
‘mentor time’, interviews from participants of the
program (left), and recruitment at local barbershops.
The story includes current video, with the exception
of a few pictures of Dale and a past mentee at the
White House where he won a national award for
being Big Brother of the Year. The combination of
one-on-one interviews and recorded footage of Dale’s impact (both now and then) help keep the
structure of this report on track and focused on the mentor’s goals. The anchor does not bring closure
to this story specifically; he brings closure to the newscast as they sign off.
The slant of this news story could be perceived as both positive and negative. This perception
depends on the audience, as audiences negotiate meaning. The story is biased in that it only gives one
view of African American youth, which in this story can be seen as negative, underprivileged, needy, etc.
Returning to the introductory comment about Dale “helping African American boys become successful
men”, if the race of the boys could be visually seen by the audience, why was it necessary to make this
statement? Are African American men not normally successful? These are questions that an audience
may have when the meaning of this line is negatively interpreted. On the other hand, some may view
this story with a more positive slant. With all of the negative press in the news, this story is informing
the audience about the Big Brother organization and its mission, which is to help make a difference in
the lives of our youth.
The sponsors chosen for this news program suggest the target audience (adults) while remaining
consistent with the general mood and feel of the news program: serious with an emphasis on potential
danger and suffering. Provided the target audience for this story would be concerned citizens, the
sponsors are quick to offer alleviation with medications for fighting cavities, the cold and flu, and even
arthritis. As mentioned in Considine and Haley’s framework, the sponsorship following “gloom and
doom” and “crisis and conflict” stories play on fears by
offering relief. Medicine that “cares”.
The first block of advertisements for this
newscast involves medicines that alleviate pain and
make life more bearable. Biotene “provides soothing
relief” for dry mouth, which, if ignored, can cause oral
health problems. Coricidin HBP is “a powerful cold
medicine with a heart”, the ‘heart’ (right) emphasized
by both a visual graphic drawn around the speaker and a
heart on the packaging for easy location. The heart is applicable as the medicine doesn’t interfere with
high blood pressure which can affect cardiac health and also stresses that the makers of this product
care deeply about customer well-being. Rheumatoid Arthritis can be aided by Enbrel, which can “help
bridge the gap between the life you live and the life you want to live,” as depicted (left) by a miserable
woman in pain who, thanks to Enbrel, is able to spend
time with her family and smile as relaxing music plays
in the background. Alka-Seltzer Plus cold formula
offers a “powerful pain reliever wherever you need
it,” demonstrated by an office employee who goes
from sneezing to a smiling worker ready to tackle the
Your reality versus your dreams. day thanks to her pills.
After the story “Head Injuries”, the next block of commercials features methods of pain relief, a
gas saving vehicle, and financial advising. BHR Hip is a new alternative to hip replacement for active
patients, well placed after the sports segment. It features an animation of an active male engaging in
outdoor activities from mountain climbing to surfing while the soundtrack suggests speed, with the
tagline “Rediscover your go.” SPDR Global Advisors advertise themselves as “precise in a world that
isn’t”, appropriate during a news broadcast that thus far has focused on the unstable Libyan climate and
unanticipated concussions. The commercial is in black and white, featuring a dog chased by children and
other dogs as he collects their assets and digs a hole to bury them in. The lack of color depicts light and
dark contrasts and evokes a feeling of the extremes of life when financial problems abound. The Chevy
Volt, dubbed the “2011 North American Car of the Year”, can cut gas costs by being an electric hybrid
(which ties into the news story “Surging Oil Prices”). Phillips’ constipation tablets alleviate a teacher’s
pain as he goes from sitting in discomfort to teaching a class with joy. An advertisement follows for Advil
Congestion relief in which a woman is unable to sleep due to sinus pressure while a man who appears as
the literal embodiment of mucus proceeds to tell her that taking these pills “treats the real problem”,
words that also appear onscreen with ‘real’ standing out in red.
AARP (a group that advocates for the rights of
AARP creates greener pastures for retirees.
retirees) advertises its services and challenges
viewers to “discover more of what we do for
every generation.” This powerful commercial
utilizes high production value that depicts the
abandoned insides of a chicken coop and
emphasizes feelings of emptiness through
images such as a lone padlock and a close up of
a fence. Eventually, serenity is depicted through
images of the sun and grassy fields (above). A male voiceover provides a narrative about a teacher who
lived in such a coop as she couldn’t afford anything else, which inspired her (Ethel Percy Andrus) to
found AARP. In sharp contrast to the initial negative images, later shots reveal more optimistic images
reflecting life changes citizens can experience as a result of AARP (growth, positive change). Slow
poignant music emotionally affects viewers as the narrator insists that AARP has continued Ethel’s
original vision, which is to “help all Americans pursue their best life”. The inclusion of this advertisement
suggests the adult demographic for the news program includes an elderly population.
After a few brief sports stories, the final block of commercials plays to viewers, featuring more
pain management products and an investment firm. Aleve Liqui-Gels are advertised by a woman who is
taking two pills multiple times a day to cope with pain as she tries to manage her job giving tours at a
museum. She is later seen happily guiding the tour, thanks to these gel capsules she doesn’t have to
take as often as Tylenol, according to a male narrator. (Note that males have been continuously used for
voiceover commercials including those advertisements chronicling women’s experiences presented
during this broadcast, an indication of a patriarchal society and gender bias.) T. Rowe Price advertises
that they understand “the connections of a complex global economy” through graphics that depict
threads that bind together to form images discussed by the narrator. The threads form visual
representations detailing everything from power consumption in China to New Zealand wool to textiles
from Spain as a means of showing how the world is “connected”, fitting during a news broadcast that
covers global issues. A Niaspan commercial tugs at emotional heartstrings through the use of
performance and photographs. A concerned brother speaks directly at the camera as if he is speaking to
his own brother, insisting that dietary changes and exercising is only part of the response he must
employ to deal with his coronary artery disease. This use of the mise-en-scene element of frontality in
which the brother speaks directly at the camera makes the conversation feel more personal and heart-
felt. A graphic of plaque clogging an artery is depicted while a blue screen announces that this
advertisement is “an intervention”. The brother suggests he is just trying to look out for his brother and
as such should take his doctor’s advice and use Niaspan while the camera pans across images of the two
close siblings growing up over the years as they age together. “Fight back. Fight plaque,” is the tagline,
the word “fight” is appropriate given a news broadcast that has just described fighting people must do
in real life – from Libya to fighting for their health due to a concussion.
In our sponsor analysis, not only did we find the psychology of sponsorship and advertisement
to be cohesive with Considine and Haley’s framework, but also by examining the people and products
nestled into these advertisements we found a strong representation of the target viewing audience. The
commercials featured older actors and actresses all over the age of forty, some with graying hair. Their
medical problems were typical for men and women of their age, but rarely seen in younger generations
(high blood pressure, arthritis, and coronary artery disease). Advertisers and sponsors are reaching out
to an older audience with products in mind for senior citizens. As broadcast news becomes less directed
to youth, stations like NBC find security in their elderly devotees.
A graphic of protestors.
The final story of the night, “The Brotherhood”,
closes out the news portion. A shot of Dale and potential
mentees fades into a shot of Brian Williams at his desk.
Williams thanks the audience for watching and mentions
he hopes they tune in tomorrow. Graphics (like the one
on the left) are no longer visible, allowing viewers to see
the set design of the studio, which is populated with
countless TVs. This shows audiences a working news room while suggesting that NBC is up-to-date on
the latest technology, important as a surplus of technology and tools aid in quickly delivering new
information and breaking updates. The medium close up of the anchor dissolves into a shot that allows
viewers to see more of the desk, including the day and date of the broadcast. This shot reveals him from
a low angle, making him look triumphant, all the more appropriate given that the theme music (which
plays at this time) is also victorious in tone. The shot dissolves into a view of New York City at nighttime,
emphasizing the location of the broadcast while graphics and font appear onscreen revealing the web
address for the station and the logos of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, which tell
audiences that NBC has an active online component that viewers can log into for the latest in news.
Considine and Haley’s Framework for Critically Viewing Broadcast News remains a relevant and
accurate illustration for analyzing NBC Nightly News and broadcast news as a whole. Through the use of
this literature, our analysis gave us the opportunity to pay particular attention to the style of the
broadcast. In turn, this gave way to similarities as the music has a direct correlation with the opening of
a broadcast. The NBC Nightly News program began with dramatic music which we noted as being
directly related or themed to the conflict and crisis news that followed. Likewise, the audience was
provided with a brief synopsis of stories to come later in the program, used as a strategy to keep the
attention of viewers. Low angle and high angle shots were used in the production of NBC News pieces to
convey both weakness and power, such as varying shots which make Libyan protestors look small while
triumphant rebels appear heroic.
Several “weighted words” used inside of the broadcast created a context for emotions and
dispositions held by the anchor, correspondents and the station itself. The “loaded language” technique
was used to prompt a positive and cheerful news story transition. In his efforts to transfer the mood of
the broadcast program, Brian Williams inspires audiences and makes them care about the subject with
the power of his words, such as his introduction of Dale Long as “a man making history, one barbershop
at a time.” The Libyan crisis is described as “On the brink,” a metaphorical device used to refer to Libyan
society as it edges closer to disaster, giving the impression that the situation is about to erupt even
further. Images can also be powerful tools in shaping audience mood and perception as demonstrated
in the introductory piece titled “Rebellion in Libya”, which sets a tone of chaos, devastation, and
upheaval. Commercials are quick to capitalize on the fear induced by the news stories, proving that the
expression “If it bleeds, it leads” continues to hold true in describing broadcast news. Camera angles,
music, shot composition, anchor positioning, and dialogue serve to heighten audience empathy and
emotion while relaying the information producers deem newsworthy.
Considine, D.M., & Haley, G. (1999). Visual messages: Integrating Imagery into Instruction. 2nd ed. New
York: Teacher Ideas Press.
Shantell Strickland-Davis (Cover page, Introduction, “The Brotherhood”)
Carla Segurola (“Rebellion in Libya”/”War Zone”/”Gaddafi's Empire”, Sponsors, Conclusion)
Gregory Osborne (Sponsors, Conclusion)
Allen Sherrill (Log, “Head Injuries, “Hidden Dangers”)