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“Our Top Story”: Analysis of News Conventions in the NBC Nightly News

analytical Essay
2839 words
2839 words
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News broadcasts have been a staple in the lives of many long before the invention of the television. As technology changed, the place of the newscaster shifted from the radio to the television screen. These earliest years of television news did not adhere to the same conventions as the modern newscast. Moving from radio to television as the major source of broadcast news brought on new challenges. In order to do so, networks were forced to experiment with how stories and new anchors would be presented to their television audiences (Conway, 2007). Newscasters who were once popular among audiences could no longer be certain that this popularity would remain. Audiences who had once been captivated by the voice of an unseen man being transmitted over the airwaves were beginning to lose interest watching a man, eyes down, reading prepared lines from a card (Conway, 2007). It became apparent that the format so often used for radio newscast would no longer be sufficient when applies to a visual medium like television. As years went by, television networks began trying new ways to captivate their audiences once more. In this early period of news broadcasting many of today’s familiar conventions would be developed often times through experimentation. The use of graphics, video footage, images and other visual aids to the anchor on set were all developed in some of the earliest years of television news (Conway, 2007). These developments could then be employed as supplementary additions to the anchors delivery of the news and give the audience something more to view on their screen. The use of visual aids allowed for newscasts to features instances “where the newscaster appeared on camera, other times his voice guided the viewer ...

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...asey, N., Calvert, B., French, L., & Lewis, J. (2008). Television studies: The key concepts. (2 ed., pp. 183-189). New York, NY: Routledge.
Conway, M. (2007). A guest in our living room: The television newscaster before the rise of the dominant anchor. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 51(3), 457-478.
Engstrom, E., & Ferri, A. J. (1998). From barriers to challenges: Career perceptions of women tv anchors. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly , 75(4), 789-802.
NBC news (producer). (2013, February 8). NBC nightly news [video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1LS7zthsHc
NBC news (producer). (2013, February 22). NBC nightly news [video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1sEkQj2jWc
NBC news (producer). (2013, September 30). NBC nightly news [video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kT_Pl7LjVow

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that news broadcasts were a staple in the lives of many long before the invention of television. as technology changed, the place of the newscaster shifted from the radio to the television screen.
  • Analyzes how the nbc nightly news displays a natural progression of conventions formed from the early years of televised new broadcasting.
  • Explains that the nbc nightly news follows a predictable structure in regards to the types of stories covered and the sequence in which they are presented.
  • Explains that brian williams fills this roll until all 'hard news' stories discussed at the beginning of the broadcast had been covered.
  • Analyzes how the nbc news correspondents are dressed in a similar fashion to brian williams, while the women are more conservative. the difference between newscaster and average citizen is evident in segments like this.
  • Explains that the field correspondents often dress in professional clothing for most occasions, but they do at times dress appropriately. for example, when covering an incoming blizzard in february, they wore practical winter clothing.
  • Explains that the nbc nightly news relies heavily on its use of graphics and video footage.
  • Analyzes how the juxtaposition of happy scenes with images of carnage and destruction shows the power of the human spirit.
  • Explains the use of animated graphics in the east coast blizzard and how they simplified the news story.
  • Analyzes how the nbc nightly news staff is objective in their delivery of information, but their bias is often one-sided. kevin tibbles interviewed people in opposition to the government shutdown.
  • Analyzes how 'hard news' stories could be rectified in softer news, such as a story presented by kate snow about zoologists in china.
  • Analyzes how the nbc nightly news provides their viewers with the information that seems important to an american audience.
  • Opines that television studies: the key to success.
  • Opines that conway, m., was a television newscaster before the rise of the internet.
  • Describes engstrom, e., & ferri, a. j. from barriers to challenges: career perceptions of women tv.
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