Sociology G673 power and control social construction of the news

Info on social construction of the news

HideShow resource information

Social construction

1 of 34

Journalists are trained media professionals. A factor influencing the selection of a story is whether it is seen as news worthy. Journalists use a range of criteria known as news values, these reflect the beliefs and attitudes journalists hold, some unconscious which shape the way the news in constructed. The beliefs will influence stories and the way they are written.
(Galtung and Ruge, see sociologists set)

News values...

2 of 34


3 of 34

An event that fits with the frequency of the broadcast or publication is more likely to be selected than one that unfolds over a longer timescale.

4 of 34


5 of 34

The size of an event: a story with greater drama or intensity is preferred. 

6 of 34


7 of 34

The easier a story is to explain, the moe likely it is to be selected.

8 of 34


9 of 34

Stories that are geographically close to the audience are seen as more newsworthy. Also, stories that are more culturally close to the audience are more likely to feature. E.g. Stories about events in the western world rather than the developing wold.

10 of 34


11 of 34

A story is more likely to be selected if the journalists can construct a mental image of the event. To do this the story must connect with the journalist's way of understanding the world.

12 of 34


13 of 34

Events that are unexpected have more value than those expected to happen.

14 of 34


15 of 34

An ongoing story with updates on developments that keep it in the spotlight.

16 of 34


17 of 34

Some stories are included to give balance to the newspaper or broadcast. E.g. A relatively unimportant foreign story may be included if the foreign news section is in need of filling or a story may be included because it reinforces another issue being reported.

18 of 34

Reference to elite nations

19 of 34

Stories about dominant countries are seen as moe newsworthy.

20 of 34

Reference to elite people

21 of 34

Stories about important and/or powerful people are peferred.

22 of 34

Reference to persons

23 of 34

Stories about people have human-interest value. There is curent cencern that this type of reporting has increased in relation to well-known people and has led to the development of the cult of celebrity and to dumbing down.

24 of 34


25 of 34

Bad news is more likely to feature than good news.

26 of 34

Role of editors

27 of 34

  • Editors are trained media professionals who supervise journalists' work and can select, make changes to and rewrite stories.
  • Media professionals in news organisations who have final sayin what appears in news reports.
  • Journalists my include material they think will meet the editors approval so increase stories chances of staying intact.
  • Editors (and journalists) are gatekeepers.
  • Curran and Gurevitch (see sociologists set)
  • Sumpter (see sociologists set)
28 of 34

Role of owners

29 of 34

  • Strive to ensure their organisation is as profitable as possible and able to compete effectively with other media companies
  • Employ media professionals, including journalists and editors to write and reprt stories.
  • No general agreement about role of owners
  • some sociologists believe owners leave it to the media professionals to construct news.
  • Others argue owners seek to exert influence over content of the news.
    • May be due to a particulare viewpoint they wish to be expressed or to maximise profits.
  • Owners responsible for emphasis in news on personalised stories about celebrities because they think they're more popular so will make more profit.
30 of 34

Role of the state

31 of 34

  • State-refers to institutions that goven society including the goernment, civil service, royal family and military.
  • Government has a role in control of the media and is able to influence construction of the news in numberof ways:
    • Laws-Stories can be censored or banned. E.g. Officials Secrets Act, Terrorism Act 2006 and Defence Authority Notices. These are official but voluntary requests to editors not to publish things on specified subjects on national security grounds.
    • Spin doctors-Concern that government officials gettin involved in flow of info to media and manipulating stories to benefit government.
      • Put particular 'spin' on stories to convey in particular way they want.
      • Delay release of bad news until time when it'll do less damage. E.g. 9/11 bombings-press officer Jo Moore sent email saying was a good time to release news government wanted to bury.
32 of 34

Role of the state continued...

33 of 34

  • Constitutional consrtaints-BBC state owned by public service broadcaser. BBC royal charter renewed in 2007 for 10 years,sets out public purpose of BBC:
      • Sustaining citizenship and civil society
      • Promoting education and learning
      • Stimulating creativity and cultural excellence
      • Representing the UK, it's nations, religions and communities
      • Bringing the UK to the world and the world to the UK
      • Promoting its other purposes, helping to deliver to the public the benefit of emerging communications technologies and services and taking a leading role in the switchover to digital TV.
    • BBC required to maintain an independent approach; 'The BBC shall be independent in all matters concearning the content of its out put, the times and mannerin which this is supplied, and in the management of its affairs' (BBC Royal Charter, 2007)
34 of 34


No comments have yet been made

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all Mass Media resources »