zefinal3,4,5,6 - Vidovic 1 Sara Vidovic Professor Smith...

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Vidovic 1 Sara Vidovic Professor Smith English 100 J8 July 25, 2011 A Few Holes in the Logic In the book How to Watch TV News , the authors Neil Postman and Steve Powers argue that Television is one of the worst mediums used to portray news because the strategies involved in making a viewer-friendly show take away from substantial news. The substance, or lack thereof, in a broadcast would be of interest to audiences because viewers’ perceptions of society are based on what they see in the news. If TV-news is nothing but a catch to entice viewers, then one’s perception of society is nothing more than a hoax. By watching network news shows like Good Morning America and The Today Show and local news shows like KTVU, and KCAL-9 , I found that though several of the author’s ideas strongly support TV-news sacrificing substance for ratings, because the authors take a primarily negative approach in refuting the validity of TV-news, a few of their arguments are either out of date or help make TV-news slightly more informative to the viewer. Postman and Powers claim that directors don’t see good ratings and dependable news hand-in-hand. Hence, instead of paying attention to getting the facts straight, they hire a
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large staff to generate eye-catching “snipes” that run across Vidovic 2 the screen promoting the next show, put together ten-second “teases” before each broadcast that quickly list the big headlines, and make “bumpers,” or teases before commercial breaks that show what’s coming up next. In addition, the authors claim that since they work for only about three years on average, directors spend numerous amounts of time, energy, and money deciding what pace would be most ideal for their news shows, what theme they would like to convey to audiences, and who and what combination of anchors to hire to fulfill their vision. All of these time-suckers according to Postman and Powers make TV-news less substantive because they keep it from reaching its full potential. Supposedly teases, bumpers, and snipes make news less concrete because they are specifically designed by trainers like Grame Newell to keep the viewer interested; hence they take up the time, energy, and money could be invested on producing and researching actual news. Furthermore, because this training is associated with cable shows as well as television news, it seems that by showing teases and snipes, directors are degrading the news to a human-interest piece. For instance, one could say the tease before an episode of Good Morning America uses certain words and phrases like “fight for justice,” and “boiling point,” and not to mention “Breaking News,” to lure others into their
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program since these words convey how serious the leading stories are without giving away too much, or any information. Hence, Vidovic 3 viewers are filled with just enough suspense to stay tuned. But even if teases, bumpers, and snipes are conceived to keep the viewer from changing the channel, these technicalities actually
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This note was uploaded on 09/26/2011 for the course ETHNIC STU 101 taught by Professor Smith during the Spring '11 term at San Mateo Colleges.

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zefinal3,4,5,6 - Vidovic 1 Sara Vidovic Professor Smith...

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