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chapter 14 - Journalism is the only media enterprise that...

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1 Journalism is the only media enterprise that democracy absolutely requires—and it is the only media practice and actual business that is specifically mentioned and protected by the U.S. Constitution. However, with the gradual decline in traditional news audiences, the growing criticism of a corps of East Coast celebrity journalists, and the rise of twenty- four-hour cable news and Internet news blogs, mainstream journalists are searching for ways to reconnect with citizens. Modern Journalism in the Information Age First, in a world entangled in media outlets and computer highways, we may be producing too much information. second, related problem suggests that the amount of information the media now provide has made little impact on improving public and political life. “When watchdogs, bird dogs, and bull dogs morph into lap dogs, lazy dogs, or yellow dogs, the nation is in trouble.” –Ted Stannard, former UPI reporter
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2 What Is News? newsworthiness: the often unstated criteria that journalists use to determine which events and issues should become news reports, including timeliness, proximity, conflict, prominence, human interest, consequence, usefulness, novelty, and deviance. news: the process of gathering information and making narrative reports—edited by individuals in a news organization—that create selected frames of reference and help the public make sense of prominent people, important events, and unusual happenings in everyday life. Neutrality and Other Values in American Journalism The idea of respectable detachment wasn’t conceived as a moral principle so much as a marketing device. Once newspapers began to mass market themselves in the mid-1880s, after steam- and rotary-powered presses made it possible to print lots of papers and make lots of money, publishers ceased being working, opinionated journalists. They mutated instead into businessmen eager to reach the broadest number of readers and antagonize the fewest. . . Neutrality and Other Values in American Journalism Reporters and editors turn some events into reports and discard many others. This process is governed by a deeper set of subjective beliefs that are not neutral.
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