As a journalist, the first thing we learn is what are the major functions of the media. In Chapter Four of Print and Broadcast Journalism: A Critical Examination by Ed Applegate, according to William L. Rivers, Wilbur Schramm, and Clifford G.Christians, authors of Responsibility in Mass Communication, the three major functions of the media are to inform, entertain and persuade. However, current articles in the media, especially magazines, have me questioning whether or not these functions actually do exist.
The three major functions of the media as stated are to inform, entertain and to persuade. But what exactly is "news"? According to Thomas Berry, "First, news is any printable story which, in the opinion of the editor, will interest the readers of his paper (or the audience of his broadcast). Second, news is always completely true, or it is at least a set of facts that have been presented to the reporter as truth. Third, news has a quality of recency about it. Fourth, news has an element of proximity about it. Fifth, news must have some element of the unusual about it." (Ch4 pp38)
Mr. Berry is correct on at least three of the five accounts. His first point, that being news is any printable story which, using the opinion of the editor, will interest the intended audience. This idea is similar to the "so what, who cares" idea that all beginning journalists are taught to ask when finding an idea for a story. If a writer’s editor says "so what, who cares" to a potential story idea, then this means the writer must figure out a way to make the story click with his or her audience. I agree with that point, but how does an editor get to be such an expert on what is news worthy an...
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...ging their beliefs, it means trying to understand why they have those beliefs in the first place.
As I was reading through this book, I found my wondering if journalists today think that it is their god-given right to make everybody think alike or pump out inaccurate information to get a reader’s attention. When I first became a journalist, I didn’t want to change a person’s beliefs or ideas. Instead, I wanted to present a world that was different from the one they live in. I will welcome anyone into my world if they want to come in, but they have to decide to do it on their own, not through my persuasion or entertaining. I can give them the information of my world, but they should have to seek out more about it through their own ideas of what it may be like to live in. In the long run, it won’t be me who pulls them in, but themselves who takes the first steps.
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