Analysis Paper II
For this analysis paper, I made the choice of watching a local news broadcast and then reading a local newspaper on Sunday, March 3rd, 2007. I was visiting my aunt in Ocala, Florida so I read the local section of the Ocala Star-Banner newspaper and viewed the local news on “Fox Channel 51” in Ocala, Florida. To be honest, I usually get my news via the Internet so watching an entire news broadcast on television was quite a foreign way for me to get the news.
For the local newspaper, I liked the fact I could at least go from one story to the next in the order I preferred to read them without someone else determining for me which local stories were most important. Watching the local news, I would have never chosen most of the stories the local news chose to spend time on. For example, as I viewed the local news I had a paper and pen and was writing down for example, #1 and the first story, etc. They went to the weather lady 8 times during one single broadcast. I suppose many people watch the news to catch the weather so that’s why they do this but for those watching the entire local news broadcast, that became redundant. How creative can you be with the same forecast?
As far as how the order of the news stories, in the local Star-Banner, the editor of this section, road clean-up, Art in the Park, motorcycle lobbyists and a World Fair at Weirsdale Elementary School were the stories that were on the first page of the local section of the newspaper. This would tell me that the newspaper is catering to an audience of local residents who enjoy seeing the less serious local happenings and what their “neighbors” are up to lately. In fact, there was no real serious or “dark” news in the local section of the paper. On the broadcast news, it began with the weather, followed by state lawmakers, a man who attempted to murder his mother after being released from prison for attempting to stab a deputy followed by a segment on gangs. The end of the broadcast contained spots on competitive eating, the weather, homestead taxes and ended with a 90 year-old man who has donated a record amount of blood. The broadcast news contains more serious subjects in general, I suppose to pull the viewer in quickly and then it lightens up towards the end, possibly to leave the viewer on a more positive note. What is newsworthy for the local section of the newspaper overall is much lighter than what was considered newsworthy on the local broadcast news.
The coverage of national news in regards to the local news broadcast was minimal, although not surprisingly more than what was in the local section of the newspaper. Anything national news related was shown in rather brief segments, possibly just to entice the viewer to stay tuned for the national news. The newspaper didn’t need to do this since there was a separate section for those interested in this area.
Although the “drama and visuals” were fairly minimal in the local news broadcast, if you are watching the entire broadcast they help to make the news a little more interesting, differentiates it from the radio news. They showed snippets of what Fidel Castro now looks like today, Paris Hilton (of course), floating homes that are now being built especially for flood-prone, hurricane-prone areas. Their was definitely less drama to the “drama and visuals” of the local newspaper. The local section had photos of a Storyteller, Art in the Park, and things such as an Elementary School’s version of the World’s Fair. The visuals in the paper stress a local personal feel whereas most of the visuals in the news were of national people and things that could be of interest. However, the broadcast news did always film the weather woman from outside in a aboretum-type setting which added to the positive feeling of the weather and the weather segments. This may also appeal to the visitors/tourists in the area since that’s partly why they come to this area.
In as far as the type of detail given by each format, I guess it isn’t too surprising that whereas the broadcast news would only touch on mostly the main or major points of the stories in the broadcast, the newspaper that doesn’t have the same time limit or air time restrictions, touched on the main points and then went into details of every story published in the local section.
As far as objectivity or spin, at least the stories today both in the news broadcast and the local paper were pretty much straight to the point. But because of the events covered, there was not even much possibility to present the stories otherwise. The only thing possibly close to a “spin” was the news broadcast was explaining the dangers of trying to save gasoline as opposed to the positive side we usually hear and I suppose you could include the floating house as a spin on flood-proof housing.
As far as the information that is actually revealed through the local broadcast news, it was pretty much concentrated a lot of time on the stories that affect the average Joe’s pocketbook or home in a sense. There were stories on hybrids and hypermiling, property taxes, and how to beware of unlicensed contractors. Whereas the newspaper concentrated on what activities the children in the area schools are involved in, what activities are going on in their downtown, finding a mission bell and for the first time in decades there is an increase in those becoming nuns and how Mexicans are taking to the streets to protest increased tortilla prices because of the ethanol now being used for a fuel source.
As far as reading the local section of the newspaper and viewing the local broadcast of the news, one would learn very little information about significant events in the world today. Even had I chosen the national news broadcast and the national news section of the newspaper, I don’t think I would think I could state that a “critical reader and thinker” would learn much from these sources either.
I feel that some questions one should ask while watching or reading the news is are you hearing one side of the story, how much bias could be in the version of the news you are watching or reading. If I got on the Internet and read some international papers, how would the identical news story change? What cultural differences may determine the perspective on each story? What defines news-worthy in different areas?
In just seeing and noting the differences being presented in two formats of news, helps us to become aware of the differences in what is news in various formats, locations and perspectives. I think we all can better ensure that we are seeing a broader spectrum of the news by including multiple formats and various areas in our information-seeking process.
Ocala Star-Banner. June 03, 2007, Local Section.
“Fox News at 5:00.” Fox 51. Fox News. WOGX, Ocala. 3 Jun. 2007.