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Topic 3 - The social construction of news

In 2005, 72% of people indicated that television was their primary source of news coverage.
Only 10% relied upon newspapers to obtain their news, a further 9% relied upon radio.

Selection and presentation of news

McQuail argues that `news' is not objective…

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Extraordinariness ­ unexpected, rare, unpredictable and surprising events have more
newsworthiness than routine events because they are out of the ordinary. E.g. The
unexpected death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997.

Threshold ­ the intensity of the event. E.g. Hurricane Katrina was the deadliest and most
destructive Atlantic tropical…

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journalism is characterised by what he calls churnalism ­ the uncritical over-reliance by
journalists on `facts' churned out by government spin doctors and public relations experts.
He found that 80% of news stories in two national newspapers were sourced in this way
over a two week period in 1997. Only…


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