The Social Construction of News

Influences and Pressures Resulting in Construction of News
Influence of Owners: Direct instructions to editor | Journalists/editors adopt self-censorship to avoid upsetting owner – ignores stories or create a bias report.
Globalization: Mainstream news can no longer rely on attention of audiences – 24/7 rolling news and global access.
Technology: Providers must complete with as new media increases access and 24/7 flow.
Citizen Journalism: Alternative sources overcome bias and suppression of stories –
| Cit. J can therefore shape agenda – if a topic goes viral cannot go ignored | Saves companies money – own footage not needed.
Ashiri: ‘Machosom Watch’ – Alternative source for Palestine news.
Organisational Constraints: Changes in new media e.g. 24/7 news services mean content often prod. for web first –  and is inaccurate (churnalism) but speeds up process of release.
Making a Profit
Most profit is due to ads | Concern for ratings high – results in more ads.
Bagdikian: Suggests news presented to avoid offending advertisers.
Barnett and Seymour: To attract wide audience must appeal to everyone – offend no one.
Conservatism in Media: No criticism | Minority and unpopular views ignored – dominant ideology remains.
Infotainment: pressures lead to conformist, less informed, less critical and trivial display news | aims to attract larger audience e.g. daily mail – ‘Sidebar of shame’.
How News is Constructed

Content of media manufactured just as any other product – GMG suggest news is a sequence of socially manufactured messages provided within the context of the dominant ideology of society.
Agenda Setting
Public discussed what they’re informed upon – media biggest source of info.
Cohen suggests media tells audiences what to think about.
Philo – Global banking crisis – no mention or revolt of system which caused crisis (or that they used billions of pounds out of UK tax money to bail themselves out lol thanks) | Defines what audiences should and shouldn’t be interested in.
Processes of influencing and deciding what knowledge public gains access to. Philo’s study showed that oppositional content was not aired – threat to social order and exposes economic corruption.
Norm Setting
Reinforces conformity to social norms – those who don’t conform get undesirable treatment – media define what is ‘normal’.
The Presentation of News
Presentation influences attention given – some ‘breaking news’ other stories in sidebar | Hidden bias e.g. the office/employers contrasted with workers on strike in the street. | Emotive language – e.g. ‘thug’ ‘terrorist’ ‘meltdown’.
False Reporting and the Creation of Moral Panics

False Reporting: Exaggerate and dramatize events out of proportion – make story more interesting.
Moral Panics: Reinforce value consensus | make money by attracting audience | A wave of public concern about imaginary or exaggerated threat to society.

Creation of Moral Panics
Media exaggerate behaviour of social group | Agencies take harsh measures on groups targeted | Creates hostility – enhances deviance which is reported further | Amplification on groups reaction to media.
Recent Evidence: Radicalized Muslims/paedophiles | Arise from competitive media to attract audiences.
Relevance of Moral Panics
McRobbie: New media platforms and accountability changed reaction – moral panics rare.
Pluralists: diversity and diff. interpretations – people less susceptible | amount of news increased – no longer sustains ‘moral panic’.
Direct Control and Construction

News Values and Worthiness: Journalists operate with assumptions called ‘news values’ | e.g. proximity/ clarity/threshold | stories crafted in way to make ‘news worthy’ to increase audience and make profit.
Immediacy: Organisations provide instantaneous live coverage.
Assumptions and Activities of Journalists
Journalists operate in a hierarchy of credibility | Primary Definers feature as ‘experts’ usually male politicians or bankers – cheap credible source of news.
GMG: Point out journalists tended to be white middle class male – share ideology (and the media gaze).
Information Based: Provided by news agencies or press release – no discovery.
Zakir: ‘Churned’ out second-hand news – not validated research.
Davies: Found only 12% of stories across 5 major newspapers generated by reporters | 80% news agencies or public relations industry.
Conclusion: Propaganda Model of Media

Herman and Chomsky: Mainstream media propaganda system for elite interests – those who make news – those who have the power to define it.
Edwards and Cromwell: Journalists ‘Cheerleaders’ of government – reject those who reject them.
Pluralists: Need for audience and profit mean journalists often expose corrupt and injustice | New media and Cit. J exposes alt. views across the globe.