News Broadcasting

Powerful Essays
News Broadcasting

On April 7, 1997, I watched NBC 5 News at 6. Warner Saunders (filling in for Ron Majors) and Carol Marin were co-anchors. Because I do not usually watch the news, I found myself seeing it with fresh eyes. For instance, I never before realized how little time is spent on each story within a 30-minute newscast. I knew they were brief, but I didn't know just how brief they were. The story lengths were from 20 seconds to three-and-a-half minutes.

Watching the newscast from a critical perspective made me more aware of the role local television news programs play in our lives. I now see that they give people a brief overview of the day's events on the national and local scenes. Because people in today's society have many demands on their time – work, family, school, leisure pursuits – they need to get their news quickly. They rely on their favorite television news programs to keep them informed. They should be aware, however, that the time constraints of a 30-minute local newscast limit the amount of information it can give its viewers. For more in-depth coverage they should supplement the TV news with other media sources, such as newspapers, magazines, and radio news programs. As long as viewers take the inherent limitations into account while they watch the evening news, it is a quick, easy way to stay informed on daily events and unfolding or ongoing stories in their own and surrounding communities.

The newscast began with a story on the impending appointment of Chicago's next archbishop and a new development in the story – the addition of Francis George, a dark horse candidate, to the list of possible replacements for John Cardinal Bernadin who died five months ago. The new development and the news that...

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...go on April 7, 1997. The announcement of a new archbishop for Chicago is clearly news. So are stories that reaffirm our humanity and the resilience of the human spirit – the drowned high school student, the 13-year-old boy and the 10-year-old girl struggling to come back to life from the brink of death – and, certainly, the story of an innocent 7-year-old girl shot down during a senseless act of violence. Stories of missing boaters and heroic efforts to find them are news as well. Even stories of aberrant behavior and politicians falling from grace are news. However, as I stated earlier, it is important to supplement TV news with other sources of information, e.g., a reputable newspaper, a weekly news magazine, or a radio news broadcast, for more in-depth coverage, insights gained from different perspectives, and any stories not covered in the television newscasts.