The Culture of Journalism

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					   Chapter 13

The Culture of Journalism:
   Values, Ethics, and
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  Nellie Bly’s Lasting Influence
 “A lifetime champion of women and the
poor, Nellie Bly pioneered what was then
called detective or stunt journalism. Her
   work inspired the twentieth-century
  practice of investigative journalism—
      from Ida Tarbell’s exposés of oil
  corporations in the early 1900s to the
   2010 Pulitzer Prize for investigative
               reporting . . .”
                   What Is News?
   The process of gathering information
    and making narrative reports that help
    the public make sense of daily events
   Criteria for newsworthiness
       Conflict
       Prominence
       Human interest
       Consequence
       Usefulness
       Deviant, the bizarre
        Values in American Journalism
   General belief that journalists should present
    news from neutral standpoint
   Sociologist Herbert Gans offers four subjective
    values that shape news judgments:
       Ethnocentrism
       Responsible capitalism
       Small-town pastoralism
       Individualism
   Reporters as neutral “channels” of information
    as opposed to citizens actively involved in
    public life.
              Ethical Predicaments
   Deploying deception

   Invading privacy

   Conflict of interest
       Any situation where a journalist may stand
        to benefit personally from the story he or
        she produces
         Ethical Predicaments (cont.)
   Society of Professional Journalists
    (SPJ) Code of Ethics:

       Seek Truth and Report It
       Minimize Harm
       Act Independently
       Be Accountable
    Reporting Rituals and the Legacy
           of Print Journalism
   Focusing on the present
       1840s: With the rise of the telegraph,
        editors wanted to focus on the present.
       Modern journalism rejects “old news” for
        new events or ideas.
       News often lacks historical context.

   Getting the story first (scoop)
       Herd journalism

   Reliance on experts
    Reporting Rituals and the Legacy
       of Print Journalism (cont.)
   Balancing story conflict
      Two-dimensionality of news

      Misrepresents the multifaceted complexity of
       social issues

   Adversarial relationship between leaders,
      “Gotcha” story

      Tough questioning style

      Reporter located between “them” and “us”
Differences between Print and TV
   In TV news, the image is everything.
   Sound bite
       Broadcast format forces compression.

   Credibility based on live, up-to-the-
    minute broadcasts

   Pretty-face and happy-talk culture
     Pundits, “Talking Heads,” and
   24/7 news cycle has changed definition of

   Less expensive “talking head” pundit
    standard for cable news

   Channels have built their programming
    along partisan lines.

       Conservative: Bill O’Reilly on Fox News
       Liberal: Rachel Maddow on MSNBC
         Convergence Enhances and
            Changes Journalism
   Print and TV news can continuously
    update breaking stories online.

   Problems with online news:
       E-mail interviews gives power to interview
       Convergence puts new demands on
    The Public Journalism Movement
   Public journalism focuses on public
    life, participation in the community,
    sees the public as participants in
      Critics fear losing credibility built up
       over decades of “objective” reporting.
      Removes traditional editorial role

      Changes reporting style to
      No balance
    “Fake” News and Satiric Journalism
   Appeals to many cynical young people

   Critiques the unimaginative quality of
    traditional news stories
       The Colbert Report satirizes partisan
        news hosts like Bill O’Reilly.
       The Daily Show parodies the conventions
        of evening news programs.
    Democracy and Reimagining
        Journalism’s Role

   Social responsibility: James Agee,
    Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

   Deliberative democracy: journalists
    should be activists for public life.
       Representative democracy
       Deliberative democracy

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