Posted: July 31st, 2013
For this assignment, you’ll need to watch one station’s local TV news, at least three different times. (You will need to make reference to each newscast that you watched.) Who owns the station? What is its approach to news? In particular, what subjects do they seem to regard as news, and what don’t they seem to cover as much? How much of the half hour is devoted to reporting and how much to advertising? Do you think they do a good job? Where does this station rank in the Seattle market?
Remember — this is an assignment about a news operation. So you need to talk about specific stories. What leads the broadcast? That tells us, for example, what they thought was most important on that day. And what stories that might be important don’t they cover? As it’s a local newscast, we can’t fault them for not covering world events in some depth, but do they tend to one kind of topic over another? I’ve seen local broadcasts in which the first 15 minutes were nothing but crime and accidents, including a neighborhood gas leak in which no one was injured or affected. And I thought, you couldn’t find any real news out there?
TV is limited by the time available, so they can’t cover everything. On the other hand, they have live pictures! So they tend to follow things that are more visual in nature, so they can show off all that video equipment. Your job, this week, is to watch and observe and try to understand what they do and, perhaps, why they do it.
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