exemplar essays

Three exemplars for questions for mass media.

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"Both the selection and presentation of news are ideologically controlled." To what extent do
sociological arguments and evidence support this view? (33)
Some sociologists say that the selection and presentation of news is socially constructed. This means
that society constructs what the mass media portrays to their audience. In 2005, 72% of people said
that their main source of news coverage was TV, only 10% relied upon newspapers, 9% relied upon
radio stations and 67% regarded TV as the most trusted news source because it was stated as `the
window of the world'. Sociologists say that the way the news is presented may be important in
influencing the ways in which people are encouraged to view the stories. This is due to the order of
importance the stories are given, the choice of headlines that they give and the films or photos
surrounding the story that influence attention.
A pluralist sociologist, McQuail 1992, suggests that news is not objective or impartial because events
happen but they are not guaranteed that they even become news at all. Not all events that are found
can be reported as there is not enough time or money to cover them all. He also suggests that
gatekeepers, such as editors or journalists, make choices and judgements about what events are
`important' enough to be covered and how they get covered.
Some sociologists say the selection and presentation of the news is biased because it depends upon
influences which include bureaucratic routines and news values. Bureaucratic routines are things such
as time, money, deadlines and audiences.
Financial constraints are important as there has been a decline in expensive forms of news coverage,
for example travelling abroad because it is very expensive to send a journalist out there if the story
is not good enough. Gatekeepers may also report news if they have travelled far away that cost a
lot, just because it will make the trip worthwhile but the information is not considered interesting
enough by the audience.
Time is also an important factor when selecting and presenting news. A story will only be shown if
there is enough available time for a news bulletin or the column space in the newspaper or magazine
will determine whether news is reported or not.
Deadlines are also important. Newspapers by their nature are already dated as the news that they
report has already happened the day before the newspapers write about it. However, TV news is
more immediate as the news is reported right when it happens for example, 9/11 and the Royal
The audience has to always be considered when news is selected and presented. When news is
reported, gatekeepers have to decipher what type of audience is going to be receiving the news.
For example, news that is reported in the day will need to be relevant to the kind of person that is at
home in the day such as the elderly and retired. The news will have to be relevant to their lives in
order for them to consider watching it.
Spencer ­ Thomas in 2008 suggested that editors and journalists use the concept of news values to
determine the news worthiness of a particular story and to judge whether it will attract a significant
readership or audience.
Galtung and Ruge came up with nine news values in 1965. These are; extraordinariness which is
events that are unexpected such as 9/11, threshold which is the bigger the event, the more likely it
will be reported such as Princess Diana's death, unambiguity which is events that are relatively easy
to grasp and won't take a lot of working out to understand the story, reference to elite persons

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Another is reference to elite nations which are stories about people who speak English as their 1st
language are involved more.…read more

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Marxists suggest that media audiences are very passive and absorb everything that the media shows
them and they believe everything that the media tells them. They suggest that the mass media
owners portray a ruling class ideology where ruling class ideas are presented and are put across to
the audience. Traditional Marxists would say the media owners control what the audience's sees in
the media.…read more

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Blumer and Gurevitch in 1995 argue that journalists and politicians have a shared
culture where journalists rely on politicians for information and will tend to present the politicians
view of the world. The pluralist model of media assumes that the content of the media is diverse,
meaning that provides a wide range of media products that are available, rather than providing
evidence that it is.…read more

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This news value suggests that bad news will equal good news so it
means that a story that involves tragedy and general bad news will be more popular than good news
that is reported.
To support the idea that these news values do exist, Buckley carried out an experiment where he
asked 12 TV editors to classify the newsworthiness of 64 news stories.…read more

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Examine ways in which age are portrayed in the mass media. (18)
There are two groups in which the mass media focus on negatively when portraying them in the
media; these are youth and older people.
Youth is classed as the age of 15 to the early 20's. Sociologists suggest that this group are known as
the `problem group' but this definition is usually represented of the young working class males.…read more


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