XIong Caroline

Student, education

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News on television and in newspapers has an enormous influence on people's ideas and options. What is the function of news?

Currently,with the earthquake happening,I feel my life is inundated by the earthquake news which are sensational and impressive .Admittedly,we need to know the details about the earthquake and also I'm concerned with victims.However,I feel frustrated when I‘ watching news broadcast 24 hours a day.So I am suspicious what is the function of news,to make us sorrow or optimistic.

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    Apr 22 2013: News has one of two functions. First, in a free country the news, aka press, aka media, exists as a profit-making enterprise. More viewers/listeners/subscribers equals more profit. Giving people what they do not want is a poor way to make profit so the media gives people what they want which most often is pre-digested sound bites with enough bias to easily identify whether it is a Liberal or Conservative enterprise. It is amazing how often the answer is one word: PROFIT. Second, in a totalitarian state, the press is exclusively a propaganda machine to control and manipulate the people.
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    Apr 22 2013: The one and the only purpose of news, ideally, should be to inform us. It will not take sides, analyze,qualify, interpret, edit or be selective about the stream of information about events and people. I notice that you seek objectivity in news, ideal news is objective, it's facts reported.
    But we are not really ready for news, sadly. Mainstream media like television and newspapers sensationalize information. We like it and it sells.
  • Apr 21 2013: If one considers the adage that,"the pen is mightier than the sword, that all can be threatened by the media, as some in the British parliament claimed Rupert Murdock did to so many of them, you might start to realize what's going on-- to a degree. Think of the media as different corporations, serving not only their interests, but the multinational corporations that have so many self interest, in many different arenas, as they are owned by multinational corporations. Then do a google search on,-- who owns 96% of the WORLDS media.

    I doubt the Chinese have awakened to the real control in the world, but they may wake up someday, that is, the Chinese leaders.
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    Apr 21 2013: Xlong, Media has Three major objectives .. 1) Garner as much of the market as possable 2) # 1 makes the sell of advertisements possable to a large market .. and 3) to turn a profit.

    Stories are selected based on the editor / producers opinion of what will hold the audience and hopefull gain them as a perment viewer / reader. I took a journalism class and the rule is blood leads ... many complain about what bad taste and how bloody that was but few turn it off or change channels. As we pass by a auto accident all cars slow down to get a "better" look. The media knows this.

    The best selling papers in the world are the trash talking .. get the latest on the rich and famous ... I'm having Elvis' baby ... she / he is a cheat ... nude photos of rich and royal ... These get the best spot in the store .. right by the cashier to look over while you wait. I catch myself looking at these while I wait ... LOL.

    The last area would be political ... if you are a member of the grays and live in a gray area ... you would not read / buy a orange leaning paper .. this is important ... the channel you select supports your thoughts and idologies ... in the states the media is almost all liberal which leaves few options for the non liberal.

    In any election / coupe one of the first things is to control the media and remove all opposition (media, educated, libraries, political adversaries, etc )

    I watch China today, RT, BBC, and American stations .... The final decision as to what to put my faith in is MINE. I will not do it by listening to only one source. It saddens me as to how often I side with another source outside of America.

    News should be based on fact free from editorial influence thus allowing the decision to be yours not theirs.

    Remember the editors / owners / producers all live by the golden rule .... He who has the gold rules.

    I wish you well. Bob.
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      Apr 22 2013: Thanks a lot.I have learnt a lot from your comments.And I think it is worth doing that getting news from various sources.As I'm a postgraduate of global journalisim,I want to see more objetive news than the news which are inundated with profits or preference.
      Best wishes.Xiong.
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    Gord G

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    May 5 2013: I think news is a perversion of our survival instinct. We're physiologically inconsequential. We've survived because we're able to assess our environment for potential danger and circumvent it. News creates a sense of control over our hostile environment because we believe we will be able to avoid the same fate if we have knowledge of it. (probably the same feeling a cheetah has when they're at full stride on the savannah).
  • May 5 2013: As the media stands, it is all about a bit of information and a lot of entertainment and slant. Most news agencies are no different than other forms of entertainment.
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    May 5 2013: Function of news is just to make us aware from the world!! We can learn from news and many times it changes our thinking and Ideas bu its up to us whether we are taking it in a good or bad way. If there comes any accident news then it doesn't mean that they are telling us to avoid that place it simply mean to drive safe. So function of news differ from person to person.
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    May 5 2013: Allowing any form of media to make you worry is an internal thing. It is not something you can blame on the news. You should probably ask yourself if anything else makes you worry like that. Do you have a tendency to worry about things too much in general?

    The news has always been a form of entertainment. Before the time of television people would huddle around the radio to get updates on the latest events. These news broadcasts, even then, didn't necessarily contain nothing but facts.

    You need to take things with a grain of salt. Don't allow the news to do the thinking for you. You also cannot assume that a news broadcast will provide all available information.
    • May 5 2013: I agree - the news is as concerned about ratings as any show on TV.
      The news will play on a trend by reporting certain topics more, to gain attention and ratings. What better way to get you to keep watching, then to play on your basic emotion of fear? They're actually saying, "Don't change the channel, or you might die!" or even worse, "We're the only ones who know what's really going on, and we'll tell you... after this commercial break".
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    May 5 2013: I see this conversation is dominated by cynicism about the news media. I'm afraid I have to join that chorus. Any idealism about the function of the news media just won't survive the effect of experience. You use the word "function," and you could have said "purpose," because all news seems to be reported with a purpose, whether the news source is a state monopoly or a private commercial station or newspaper.

    For one thing, millions of things obviously happen each day, and the job of an editor is to select a few things to report on. This selection can't possibly be made objectively, and never is. As Ed has already said, the commercial source wants to maximize readers/viewers (i.e., profit), and print/shows what will attract these. They love a "serial" story - one that can carry readers/viewers' interest over many days or weeks, like a war or a criminal case. They love so-called "celebrities," (who are rarely worth celebrating, really), because they supply a source of gossip material and general titillation. You will note (and this must be discouraging for a journalism student) that very little of what's reported is actually of importance to the average citizen.

    Naturally, where the state controls the media, one gets the state's version of the "truth," which is always "massaged."

    Another modern effect of the news media is our saturation with worry. For a hundred thousand years, until just the past couple of centuries, our daily concern was limited to ourselves, our family, and our village. That was probably just enough to stress about. But now, every disaster anywhere in the world becomes part of our psychological burden. I suspect that this can't help but add to the stress of modern life, which is already considerable.

    One can perhaps best deal with the news media by ignoring them as much as possible. I'm not advocating ignorance, just a refusal to let the news media determine our concerns and priorities.
  • May 3 2013: I went through the process of watching a different new channel every week faithfully for one week. It seems as if each news channel provided biased information based upon what they wanted the viewers to believe or think about the different events being discussed. Once upon a time the news sole purpose was to inform, but that died a long time ago when large companies were created and influenced the media and government to do otherwise through monetary persuasion.
    We are often not given the information we need or like to have from the news nowadays. That is why I found a new appreciation for social networking, I like to add or follow people on those sites from various states, countries, cities, etc so I can get real updates on what's happening. Nowadays the news is a distraction, these last few terrorist attacks and bills are perfect examples of that.
    if anyone wants to or already has created their own news media site, I'd rather watch yours than FOX, so let me know.
  • Apr 22 2013: if we use the F.C.C. in a better way we will have better media and results try reading the influance machine great book .
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    Apr 22 2013: in a free country, media is controlled by the audience. there is a fierce competition, and whichever media outlet predicts better what the audience want to watch, wins. there is very little freedom.

    people control the media that in turns dominate the public opinion. so in effect, people control their own public opinion, but in a way that they have almost no conscious control over it and they are trapped by it.

    sorry to bring the bad news: big brother is not watching. nobody holds the steering wheel, we are sitting in the runaway vehicle of society.
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      Apr 23 2013: As you said, do you think the media need appropriate control by the authourities.I believe that if there is only audience control it may lead to the vicious competition among media industry.
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        Apr 23 2013: authorities are also chosen by people. so this people -> media -> people control flow is only convoluted to people -> government -> media -> people. i don't think that it is any better. in fact, i think it is worse.
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    Apr 22 2013: News is meant to inform, to influence, to manipulate and to make money.
    "Bad news is good news" so they say.
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      Apr 22 2013: I don't agree with you,as I think the news should be with objective,it should be covered with no preference.So much bad news will make us worse.
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        Apr 22 2013: Objectivity.....sometimes I think it is a myth. There is a wide chasm between what news now is, and what it should be in a world filled with honesty and love.
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        Apr 22 2013: Your post asks "What IS the function. . . " not "What SHOULD BE the function. Also, bad news does not make bad people. Bad people make bad news.
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          Apr 23 2013: Thanks,what I think is that the news' function is tell us the ture while it seems difficult in some cases.
  • Apr 21 2013: Labour committee member Tom Watson has been the most determined in pursuing the Murdochs. He was both a victim of News International’s operations and a close ally of former prime minister Gordon Brown—who was abandoned politically by Murdoch in favour of the Conservatives and targeted personally.
    Watson drafted the disputed passages of the final report. He was unrestrained in his comments after its release, declaring, “These people corrupted our country. They brought shame on our police force and our Parliament. They lied, they cheated, blackmailed and bullied and we should all be ashamed when we think how we cowered before them for too long.”
    His protestations are, of course, questionable. After all, everyone concerned has shown themselves to be more than willing to be “corrupted” by Murdoch—including the Labour Party, whose leaders, Tony Blair and Brown, grovelled before his media empire and did its bidding right up until the famous pre-election fall-out.

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      Apr 22 2013: Totally agree.To a large extent,the news is the best way for government control his residents.For instance,we can't access to Facebook in China.
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    Apr 21 2013: The main purpose is to sell advertising. They do this by pushing emotional buttons, it has very little to do with informing. In fact disinformation would be accurate. I don't watch the news for that reason as they would prefer that I need them for fear of what being uninformed might do.

    Try not watching it for a week and see how it changes your thinking and attitude.
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      Apr 22 2013: I can't imagine that what my life would be like if turn off the television.If I did this,I think I would lose some significant event.
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        Apr 22 2013: That is what they want you to think
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    Apr 21 2013: I think television news puts forward the stories and images the producers believe viewers will find most interesting.
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      Apr 22 2013: But some times they produced what they believed we may interesting,isn't it?
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        Apr 22 2013: That is what I am saying. The station chooses which stories to present and how to present a story. I don't know who at the station is part of deciding which stories to present and for how long.
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          Apr 22 2013: I think it is controled by politicians or authorities
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        Apr 22 2013: Oh, this is different in different countries! I did not check to see where you live.

        You are right that in some countries the government might determine exactly what gets shown on TV and might even run the only station. In that case it is not, perhaps, so much trying to show people what would interest them most or to appeal to commercial sponsors!

        Where I live, television is a business with most of the revenue coming from advertisers who pay to have their commercials aired during programs. A spot of advertising time costs more if many people are predicted to be watching than if few are. So the television stations want as many viewers as possible.