This Study Guide covers readings for Jan. 28 and Jan. 30. They are:
• “News Values and Selectivity,” Deirdre O’Neill and Tony Harcup. From “The Handbook of Journalism Studies.” On Canvas.
• “Media/Society” text, pp. 123-139 in Chapter 4 (Media Organizations and Professionals)
• “What the Mainstream Media Can Learn From Jon Stewart,” by Rachel Smolkin. On Canvas.
• “The People Formerly Known as the Audience,” by Jay Rosen. Online.
• “When Media Aims for Balance, Some Views and Facts Get Lost,” by Dante Chinni. Online.
• “In Announcing Unfavorable News, Timing Is Everything,” by Liz Robbins. Online.
• “Who Needs Reporters?” by Frank Bruni. Online.
Instructions: Open a Word document on your computer and save it. Type your name and student number at the top of the document. Type your answers to the required questions, numbering them to match the questions in the study guide.
Answer only the 10 required questions in your study guide. The additional questions (11 and above) do not need to be answered in your Study Guide. They are there to help you focus on other key points in the readings and to help you prepare for the Jan. 31 quiz.
Your answers should be brief and direct. Many of the questions can be answered in a few words.
Upload your completed study guide to the appropriate Canvas location by 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 28. (Canvas accepts files only in Word’s .doc or .docx format.) Then bring a printed or electronic copy of your completed study guide to class on Tuesday, Jan. 28, and Thursday, Jan. 30. This study guide will be used for in-class work those days.
We will not accept your Study Guide during class nor will we accept it by email. No exceptions. The only way to get credit for this assignment is to upload it to Canvas by the date and time it’s due.
Your Study Guide is worth up to 10 points. In grading the Study Guide, we will select one “3-point question” at random and evaluate its answer for correctness and completeness. You will earn three points for answering it correctly and completely. For the other questions, we will look for complete and thoughtful answers – not necessarily correct answers. A thoughtfully answered question is one that responds directly to the question posed, following the instructions within that question. Please see the grading rubric in Canvas for more information.
Required questions for your Study Guide
“News Values and Selectivity”
1. Jerry Palmer has a useful way of thinking about news values. How does he define or describe news values, and why are they important to someone – like a politician, journalist or public-relations practitioner – who wants to understand how journalism works? Answer this question in two or three sentences.
2. One section of this reading is called “Taxonomies of News Values.” What is a taxonomy of news values? There’s no specific definition provided, so I want you to read this section, figure out why the authors would label the information being discussed this way. Then give me a one- or two-sentence definition of a “taxonomy of news values.” Then, yes or no: Is there consensus on which taxonomy of news values is best?
“Media/Society” pp. 123-139
3. The text authors say that to understand how journalist make judgments about news and how they construct their accounts of news, you need to examine the routines that journalists follow in their day-to-day work. The “beat” is one type of routine. What is a beat, and why do so many news organizations establish beats? Answer this in two or three sentences.
4. On P. 127 or this reading, the text authors talk about source influences on the news. In a sentence, tell me what they mean by this. Then, among the example readings, find an example of source influences on the news. Give the title of the article, and then write one or two sentences explaining why this is an example of a source influence on the news.
5. Review your answers to Questions 3 and 4. Which is/are good examples of news-gathering conventions? Follow the definition of convention offered by the text authors. Answer this in a phrase. Then give another example of a convention that affects the gathering or presentation of news. This example can come from anywhere – your assigned readings, your personal observations, other things you’ve read. Give enough detail so that it’s clear why what you consider this a convention related to the gathering or presentation of the news. But don’t get carried away. A two-sentence response should be adequate.
6. According to the text authors, one approach to defining journalistic objectivity is this: The separation of “facts” conveyed in news accounts from social “values.” Another way to express that idea is to say that, under this definition, truly objective journalism would be value-free – it would be journalism in which no social values are embedded in the articles that the news media broadcast or publish. As a news consumer, where can find an example of value-free news? Answer this in a phrase.
7. Another approach to defining objectivity is this: A set of practices or conventions that the professional journalist is trained to follow, with a goal of producing a disinterested or balanced account of an occurrence. What are Bennett’s six key practices that constitute objective reporting? Now, choose an example article that deals with the first of these key practices and explain, in a sentence, why it’s a good example of that convention.
8. Give a one-sentence definition of a role. Briefly explain how expectations about roles are learned. Finally, from the example articles, find and describe in no more than two sentences an example of a changing role expectation for U.S. journalists. Be sure to identify the article from which your example comes.
9. Which of the example articles deals most directly with user-generated content? In a sentence or two, how would you summarize the main point of this article?
“What the Mainstream Media Can Learn From Jon Stewart”
10. The Jon Stewart article suggest that conventional journalistic practices that emphasize presenting balanced accounts of events or issues can sometimes be a disservice to news consumers. How is it sometimes a disservice?
Additional questions that do not need to be answered in your Study Guide
“News Values and Selectivity”
11. What is news? And what is the connection between news and news values?
12. What do the authors mean when they call news values a “slippery concept”?
“Media/Society” pp. 123-139
13. What does the term “gatekeeper” mean? Who is the gatekeeper, and what gates are the text authors talking about?
14. What is the challenge that “alternative journalism” presents to objectivity as a journalistic practice?