Criteria for inclusion
- The cultural air has both a form and content. The content, the substance of taken-for-granted values, has often been discussed. Gans (1979) arrived at a list for American journalism that includes ethnocentrism, altruistic democracy, responsible capitalism, small-town pastoralism, individualism, and moderatism as core, unquestioned values of American news. They are the unquestioned and generally unnoticed background assumptions through which the news is gathered and within which it is framed...
By 'form', I refer to assumptions about narrative, storytelling, human interest, and the conventions of photographic [plus televisual] and linguistic presentation that shape the presentation of all of the news the media produce. Weaver (1975) has shown some systematic differences between the inverted-pyramid structure of print news and the 'thematic' structure of television news... Hallin and Mancini (1984) demonstrate in a comparison of television news in Italy and the United States that formal conventions of news reporting often attributed to the technology of television by analysts, or the 'the nature of things' by journalists, in fact stem from features of a country's political culture. All of this work recognizes that news is a form of literature and that one key resource journalists work with is the cultural tradition of storytelling and picture-making and sentence construction they inherit, with a number of vital assumptions about the world built in. (Schudson 1991, p. 154-5)
- In countries like Britain or the United States, this means the ideas promoted on TV news tend to fall somewhere between the status quo and the political right, with a few occasional bursts of liberalism thrown in. Ideas that subvert the existing power structure (usually somewhere on the political left) are, on the whole, either ignored or treated as a problem. This is not a conspiracy (although we should not pretend conspiracies never happen), but a prodict of an elaborate and disparate array of social and semiotic deteminations. (Lewis 1991, p. 124)
- Those stories, or rather those ways of teling the stories, write the journalists. The stories are already largely written for them before the journalists take fingers to typewriters or pen to paper... Let me make the point that if you tell a story in a particular way you often activate meaning which seem almost to belong to the stock of stories themselves. I mean you could tell the most dramatic story, the most graphic and terrible account of an event; but if you construct it as a children's story you have to fight very hard not to wind up with a good ending. In that sense those meanings are already concealed or held within the forms of the stories themselves. Form is much more important than the old distinction between form and content. We used to think form was like an empty box, and its really what you put into it that matters. But we are aware now that the form is actually part of the content of what it is that you are saying. (cited in Fiske 1987, p. 293)
- Television news... does not offer the viewer a coherent vision based on historical connections; it deals in a series of disparate associations. As long as these associations appear to float above the ebb and flow of historical reality, they are immune from the contradictions it may expose. Cultivation analysis has produced evidence that appears to confirm this analysis. A detailed examination of attitudinal data suggests that the more TV we watch, the more we are able to hold contradictory ideas simultaneously. (Lewis 1991, p. 156)
- Anderson, James A & Timothy P Meyer (1988): Mediated Communication. Newbury Park, CA: Sage
- Curran, James & Michael Gurevitch (Eds.) (1991): Mass Media And Society. London: Edward Arnold
- Fiske, John (1987): Television Culture. London: Routledge
- Goodwin, Andrew (1990): 'TV News - Striking the Right Balance?' in Andrew Goodwin & Garry Whannel (Eds.) (1990): Understanding Television. London: Routledge
- Hartley, John (1982): Understanding News. London: Methuen
- Hartley, John (1992): Tele-ology: Studies In Television. London: Routledge
- Lewis, Justin (1991): The Ideological Octopus: An Exploration Of Television And Its Audience. London: Routledge
- McQuail, Denis (1987): Mass Communication Theory: An Introduction (2nd edn.). London: Sage
- Schudson, Michael (1991): 'The Sociology of News Production Revisisted'. In Curran & Gurevitch (Eds.), op. cit.
- Taylor, Laurie & Bob Mullan (1986): Uninvited Guests. London: Chatto & Windus