Introduction- Page 3
Section 1- Page 3, 4 and 5.
Section 2- Page 5 and 6.
Section 3- Page 6 and 7.
Section 4- Page 7 and 8.
Conclusion- Page 8.
Analytical essay on newsgathering and distribution
The technological advancement in technology, most notably the internet, has altered the fundamental dynamics of newsgathering and distribution. Ten years ago the news was obtained and distributed differently with the majority of the public receiving their news through either televised broadcasts or newspaper content; while the news was gathered through the use of word of mouth, user generated content, and press agencies. Technological developments such as video cameras, voice recorders and currently smart phones such as Iphones have increased the mobility of journalists and has allowed for news to be gathered at any time. Also it has allowed the audience to receive news information direct to their mobile phones. The emergence of such technology has allowed the audience to become the journalist and has created the age of the citizen journalist, with the audience being the ones who investigate, photograph, record and gather new stories.
The advancement of social networking and blogging websites has played a key role in the way journalists are now able to investigate, gather and distribute news e.g., journalists and media organisations use websites such as Twitter to ask for information from the public about certain subjects which they want to create a story about. Smart phones such as Blackberry’s, play a key role in journalists remaining anonymous in certain situation and allows them to gather news whenever a story should arise. This essay will examine the current overview of the newsgathering and distribution process by analysing various examples of newsgathering such as hyper local and user generated content. Analysis will be made of both gathering and distribution processes and the skills that are required of journalists who are reporting on the news.
Section 1- Analysis of how the news is gathered and distributed
News stories are important in the relaying of information to a mass audience, they inform the audiences on a regional, national and international level of topics of that are of interest to them e.g, crime, entertainment, and current affairs stories. Glassner states that ‘stories are an important part of out lives’ and that ‘every one of us tells a story everyday’ (Glassner, page 3, 2004), journalists in this retrospect do not make the stories, they only put the stories into a written or televised context. News gathering is an important role of any journalist and by researching and investigating possible new stories they are able to produce news items of relevance to a mass audience. News is gathered through the use of technology such as: video cameras, digital cameras, the internet and voice recorders.
The news is primarily gathered by journalists and it is their role to write, broadcast, produce and distribute the news they have gathered. (Massey, 2012.) Social networking websites such as Twitter has allowed reporters the opportunity to gather news in an alternative technologically forward way and has allowed reporters the chance to get stories, ‘interviews’, ‘see what topics are trending’ and obtain ‘case studies’ all through their social networking medium (Massey, 2012). News stories are obtained through building up successful relationships with their contacts which they build upon and prove useful for future articles and broadcasts. Journalists ‘keep up a regular relationship with their contacts’ (Randall, pg 33, 2000) which is beneficial for the reporter if they hope to follow up an article they have previously distributed to the public. Building up relationships is key to being a successful reporter as if you have a previously reported a story and the people involved in the story trust you they may inform you of any future stories they believe would be beneficial for you.
By going out and actively sourcing stories journalists are able to gather original news stories which have yet to have been discovered and publicised. Randall argues ‘It is only before or after a meeting or interview that something that may make a better story may be mentioned’ (Randall, page 32, 2000) and in doing so they are able to gather and uncover news stories which would have previously not been discovered. Universities and research institutions are another viable source of news information. Journalists may source news from such institutions in the hope of uncovering news stories, ‘whether it is pioneering medical research, or a study of your nations wildlife’, such stories interest the general reader and provide a common interest for the mass audience.
Other mediums of news gathering include:
(Randall, pg 37, 2000)
In this current technological climate, televised newsgathering can be obtained using alternative methods such as blogging and by simply going out and meeting people with interesting case studies. Further newsgathering methods include:
“going out and about”
“Freedom of information”
“Monitoring all other news organisations to check you havent missed anything”
“In newspapers little by lines or adverts can spark off a big story idea for the BBC”
“Going back and re-visiting stories”
“Relying on your contacts and people to give you exclusive stories”
“Could ring emergency services & crown prosecution services to see if there has been any stories”
News distribution consists of the progression of investigating stories to media organisations producing a written content of the article in question for the readers to read or view. Such content must be reported to the media organisations at a certain time ready for publication. Newspaper organisations for example use the written articles they have been handed by their journalists and with the graphic designers, editors and circulation department produce a written visual content for their readers.
Televised news and radio distribution is broadcasted differently to print media as the media product is distributed through television sets and on the internet, e.g. BBC Iplayer. Quinn states that “information that is broadcasted involves people saying the information out loud while audience takes it in by virtue of listening to it” (Quinn, 2005, page 55) The main people involved in the editing distribution aspect of televised news are: editors, graphic staff, producers, and journalists. Although “most news content is viewed whilst watching the news” (Massey, 2012), the internet has become prolific in the way that people can watch the news. The internet has given the audience the opportunity to watch the required news programme at any time which gives the audience a sense of freedom when it comes to televised news. Radio stations have undergone a technological breakthrough with the use of internet radio stations being used as a form of media distribution. Furthermore, radio journalists have the opportunity to broadcasts their news by using “an iPhone to broadcast live bulletins” (Easton, 2012) which offers the audience the chance to hear any breaking news the minute it happens.
Section 2- Explore examples
International organisations often publish “data, reports, statistics and staffed by experts” (Randall, 2000, page 39) revealing great stories of interest to local, national and international audiences. Government organisations are bound by law to reveal any upcoming plans they have to the public and in doing so create press releases about any upcoming news which will affect people on a local, national and international scale. Organisations such as the Hull City council publish press releases and articles regarding topics such as crime, health, weather etc, which are of interest to the local people. Stories such as “Olympic Hopefuls: come and support us at Costello” (http://www.hullcc.gov.uk/portal/page?_pageid=221,674011&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&p_id=3658&p_month=Apr-12&p_page_number=1&content=pressrelease) would have been gathered by either the people involved in the story informing the press office, going out and about or through the internet, blogs, and social networking sites for example.
News stories can be easily obtained and altered to suit any media format. The “Olympic Hopefuls: come and support us at Costello” story (http://www.hullcc.gov.uk/portal/page?_pageid=221,674011&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&p_id=3658) could also have been circulated using the Hull City Councils Twitter page as a way to reach a wider audience. This article could be gathered and used to produce a piece of radio, televised or magazine media piece. It could be adapted to televised format by using footage and interviews with the people involved and by the use of a case study, and would subsequently be distributed using TV’s and the internet. To adapt the story for radio audiences you would include interviews with the people mentioned in the article and would be distributed using radio stations and internet radio. For the purpose of magazine newsgathering and distribution, you could obtain interviews and off the people involved in the article, photographs of he stadium and the people who are being interviewed and also a case study.
Press agencies gather, being another example, write and distribute news on a national and international scale to newspaper, radio stations, magazines and online mediums. News agencies “do not generally publish news itself but supplies news to its subscribers, who, by sharing costs, obtain services they could not otherwise afford” (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/413092/news-agency) and in doing so the news distribution media circulate “unbiased news” (Randall, 2000, page 38) at a low cost. Reuter is the biggest press agency in Britain and not only distributes news nationally but internationally too. The other main press agencies are” Associated Press (A.P.), United Press International (U.P.I.),Press Association (P.A.), Agence France Press (A.F.P.)” (http://www.radioworldwide.org/cms/images/pdfs/16-news-gathering.pdf.) The article “Cameron, Suu Kyi back suspension of Myanmar sanctions” (http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/04/13/uk-myanmar-britain-idUKBRE83B0A720120413) was firstly gathered, written and distributed by Reuters to various newspaper, radio stations and television stations. This story was adapted across the many media forms including online news medium BBC News (available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17684949), which included a voice clip of the Prime minister, as well as an interview and photographs.
Reporters are able to obtain stories through social networking websites such as Twitter and Facebook which have become critical to reporters for finding “interviews” and “case studies” in an alternative format. With audiences becoming more technologically forward, people are able to read news articles, as well as creating and distributing their own. Twitter, for example, “allows you to search for specific trending tweets” (Massey, 2012) which has enabled reporters to quickly find stories and case studies which could be made into an interesting broadcast or article. News articles which are trending on Twitter for example “Angelina Jolie Wearing Engagement Ring, Says Jeweller” (https://twitter.com/#!/i/discover) could be adapted to any magazine, print or televised format. Television and radio adaptations could be achieved by using interviews with the jeweller or the couple themselves and would subsequently be distributed through internet radio/television, radio stations and Television box sets. This news piece could also be circulated by the use of blogs and other social networking sites like Facebook.
Section 3- Evaluate the different qualities required for material aimed at different sources
Producing content for varying media outlets and audiences requires various qualities. Creating content directed at televised and radio audiences. A crucial aspect in constructing news for broadcast is to “produce words that can be spoken well and understood by people that only get to hear them” (Quinn, 2005, page 55) which can lead to several problems as the audience only gets one chance to hear what the reporter is saying. This differs from print audiences as they get the opportunity to re-read any part of the article that they do not understand, however, broadcast audiences are not given this opportunity so everything that the report reads must be read fluently. The main aspect to consider in producing content for broadcast is “understandabilty”. Coherently deciphering what the journalist is telling you is crucial part in the Factors encompassed within “understandability” which must be considered are:
“Voice and tense”
“One idea or thought per sentence”
(Quinn, 2005, Page 58 and 59)
Radio stations use the same format as televised content, with sound and being able to easily understand the spoken media text is just as important in radio as it is in television broadcasting. The three rules that the BBC News team adhere to are the “three C’s”: “clear”, “concise” and “correct.” (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/school_report/6180944.stm#2) and all BBC Radio journalists must adhere to these rules for their news reporting. Sound is important to radio journalists because when we say sentence aloud the sound those words create express the meaning of the text. “Its important to choose words that sound like their meaning” (Quinn, 2005, page 57) as the audience may become confused over the real meaning of the text. It is important to read the content out loud before recording as some of the words may be difficult to pronounce or the words may not convey the meaning of the text.
Creating news for the internet, being another example, allows the journalist to use multimedia platforms to distribute the story e.g. written article, video and photographs. Producing online news “is just like print but a shade different” (Quinn, 2005, page 69) with the main qualities being the “headline”, “lead” and the “nut graph.” The headline is important because it catches the audience’s attention and makes them want to read the published article. Also, the headline concisely tells you what the story is and if the heading is attention grabbing, it can make any story interesting to any person. The lead enables the audience to receive the information they want to read and at the same time it makes the read want to carry on viewing the content. This is achieved by “giving the story a voice” by the use of quotes from people involved in the story. By doing so, it helps to achieve an interesting and personalised article. The nut graph is an important attribute in writing news stories for the internet as “it explains why the story is important” (Quinn, 2005, page 73) and is used as a form of delivering the facts of the article. All of these are important qualities in producing content for the internet as they help grab the audience’s attention as well as being crucial for the audience to understand what is being relayed to them by an online news medium.
Section 4- Analyse and summarise the skills required for journalists who are reporting the news
The skills necessary to be a successful journalist who is reporting the news is vast. From my observations, I believe that it’s important to always be ethical and just and to remain unbiased at all times. Otherwise your broadcast and articles will be biased and unfair. Furthermore, it’s important for the reporter to have valuable sources so that they are able to gather future news stories by this means. It is important not to just be present at the time of gathering the news but also afterwards, as the people involved in the story may say something of interest that could make your article different from what the other journalists have produced. This also enables the journalists obtain valuable contacts and meet people that they would not have otherwise met.
David Randall states that you should “never be afraid to look stupid” and that it’s important to “ask questions” (Randall, 2000, page 5) as when you write the story it will make it difficult if there are something’s that you do not understand. Another important attribute is to “never be prejudiced” (Randall, 2000, page 6) which is crucial when you are reporting on murder cases for example. If the reporter was prejudiced this could make the article biased and not accurate which could result in a lawsuit against the newspaper. “Having empathy for the readers” (Randall, 2000, page 6) is also an important quality because if you write an article that people can empathise with, the audience will want to carry on reading the article. Using a case study is important in creating empathy as it makes it easier for the reader to relate to the story and by using “examples relevant to their own experiences” you are able to do so.
To conclude, the way the news is gathered and distributed has altered and developed alongside the current technological climate, with many of today’s news being gathered through social networking sites and blogs. The internet has become prolific in the way that the news can be gathered but also the way the news can be distributed. With the creation of internet radio, blogging, social networking sites, online news and online television, the audience has been given the opportunity to read/hear/watch the news at their leisure at any time and place. This has impacted the role of the journalist as there is a current need from the audience to receive their news instantly which subsequently causes time constraints for the journalists involved. I believe this will result in the journalists producing incoherent media pieces which will not be understood by the audience. I believe the future of journalism will become more technology based. Claire Suddath states: “Technology is a tool; it's designed to make our jobs easier and our finished products better” and I believe this is true, however, the internet does pose a threat to the print medium as more people are choosing to receive their news over the internet.
Word count: 2,904.
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Hull City Council (2012) Olympic hopefuls: Come and support us at Costello [Internet] Available from http://www.hullcc.gov.uk/portal/page?_pageid=221,674011&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&p_id=3658&p_month=Apr-12&p_page_number=1&content=pressrelease
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BBC News (2012) David Cameron says Burma sanctions may be eased [Internet] Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17684949
Huw Edwards (2008) Script-writing tips and real examples [Internet] Available at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/school_report/6180944.stm#2