Using material from item C and elsewhere, assess the view that selection and presentation of the news ‘is inevitably partial and biased’

  • Created by: tishaaa
  • Created on: 12-03-13 17:24

This is a 18marker essay and I got 16 so thought this would help anyone doing mass media :)


Sociologists point out that the process of news selection and presentation is inevitably partial and biased because it is dependent upon the power of those who work in the media, the culture of the society as well as the day to day organisation routine of the media companies. There has always been a debate about how reliable the news is and as to whether the process of selection and presentation of news is objective and unbiased or inevitably partial and biased. This essay is going to assess the view that selection and presentation of the news is ‘inevitably partial and biased’.

A reason why news selection and presentation is biased and partial is because of gatekeepers. Kurt Lewin was the first person to use the word gatekeepers and this simply means editors and journalists weigh up which stories are more newsworthy and will gain more viewers. They decide what is newsworthy based on news values and organisational routine of a certain event (something that took place last 24hours). However a problem with gatekeepers is that they can abuse power by deciding what information to discard and what to let pass. White agrees with this view as he also argues that particular individuals play a significant role in determining which items make the news. This as a result supports the capitalists and it often goes against the less powerful groups in society. Therefore it is made clear that the selection and presentation of the news is inevitably partial and biased because news is selected by the journalists/ gatekeepers therefore it can be argued that it is a social construct because they make it up to gain people’s attention.

For news to be understood more easily, stories are put into common frameworks. For example one story can be put into a framework of a ‘barbaric terrorist attack and another similar story as an ‘understandable accident’. This shows that news is biased because the news from countries that are less important are ignored whereas news from great countries like America are given more attention and are most likely to be on the news. This therefore highlights that every news story is framed and the country of where the story comes from and the people involved is very important because if it does not fit the editor/journalists framework it is not considered as news worthy. Frame works help us interpret a story the way journalist, owners, government and editors want us to believe a story should be making the news biased and very partial.

Another reason why news selection and presentation is inevitably partial and biased is because of news values. News vales are guidelines




Thank you for sharing!



This is a really good example of an essay question which can be useful to students in order to identify a good structure to support their essay planning. This could also be used as an in class activity by asking students to identify different aspect of the structure - point, explain, evidence and criticism  for example. Even just identifying the key terminology which is always very helpful.

Aiste - Team GR


Very good essay, clear and a good use of theory and sociologists. Thank you :)