The History of Television Journalism

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Television and journalism have a relatively short history together, yet over the last sixty years, the two have become increasingly intertwined, perhaps even irreversible so. But this merger is between two opposing forces–one, a mass medium that inherently demands entertainment and the other, a profession most people hold responsible for information, for facts, which, for the most part, are inherently boring. So has television been beneficial for the American people? The people that our country’s founding fathers chose to hold responsible for electing those to be responsible for our country’s government? By exploring the history of television journalism, discovering how it came to be, and looking at current trends in the industry, I only hope to be able to give my own informed opinion.

Throughout the 1950s, executives experimented with the television and how to use it effectively. In the beginning, producers struggled with the new technology–introducing visual transitions or the beginning use of graphics to accompany news, which were mostly crude line drawing (Barkin 28-29). But, in 1963 (some pinpoint the exact day to be November 22, 1963) the television cemented itself as a mass medium–an integral part of American culture–and the “Big Three,” television networks (CBS, NBC, and ABC) established themselves at the forefront of innovation in the field (35).

In 1963, advances in technology, such as lightweight cameras, communication satellites, and videotape, allowed for more immediate transmissions of news. Thus, on November 22, 1963, the “Big Three” were able to broadcast the touchdown of Air Force One, follow President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade through Dallas, and capture the sounds of gunfire and images of the chaos that en...

... middle of paper ... and balanced” news? No. Certain members of the public need to be reminded that, in today’s media, a “No-Spin Zone” does not exist, on any channel. To be an informed citizen requires research, the ability to understand the message behind a pundit’s words and, most importantly, knowing all sides of the issue. And so, on behalf of network news: turn off your brain, listen, no need to interpret–we are here to do that for you. Then you are informed; albeit “Fox News-informed” or “MSNBC-informed.”

Works Cited

Barkin, Steve M. American Television News: the Media Marketplace and the Public Interest. Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, 2003. Print.

Network. Dir. Sidney Lumet. By Paddy Chayefsky. Perf. Peter Finch and Faye Dunaway. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), 1976. DVD.

Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism. Dir. Robert Greenwald. Carolina Productions, 2004. DVD.

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