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Purpose of News in American Society

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    News in American Society News is defined as “a report of recent events” or “previously unknown information” (Websters Dictionary). News should be something that has a specified influence of effect. For instance, good news would be the end of a war and bad news would be the beginning of a war, and so forth. “News has two priorities: it must be current, and it must mean something to people” (Media Awareness Network). What is the purpose of this news though? There are many objectives of news, but the main objective of news is to inform the audience (Media Awareness Network).

    This is because of the notion “Intrinsic Human”, better said as a need to know society. We live in a society that definitely needs to know what is going on around them; whether it is locally or half way across the world. Without news, people tend to stress and sometimes are faced with anxiety (Philip Benoit, Powerpoint). With that said, informing the people of such “news” is the job of the news media. The media inform people locally, nationally, and globally about what is going on around them and the important events that have happened in the past, present, and are going to be happening in the future.

    If we cannot directly observe everything that is going on around us, we must have another way to observe; and the only other option is for a person(s) to find that news for us and make us, as a society, aware. “For much of American history the mass media have been the center of controversy. . . ” (Abel, Preface). This goes all the way back to journalism when it first came into play. At the beginning there were just paintings on stone, carvings in stone, and symbols written on cloth.

    Now there are all kinds of media, and rather than those paintings or carvings only being available to those in the area, the media today stretches all across the world. Journalism plays a large role in news and media. “To survive, journalism must adapt in form and style to reflect changes in culture, politics, taste, and technology. But as journalism changes, those who produce the news also must keep in mind the purpose and principles of producing accurate information on behalf of the citizens” (Kovach and Rosenstiel, Preface).

    This “accurate information”, or news, only has value when it is expressed and cannot be saved for later (Philip Benoit, Powerpoint). The whole point for the media is to get the news out to the world while it is happening or in a decent time span since the news happened. If a war breaks out and there have been threats that could endanger the citizens, one would only hope to know about it right away; and not have to find out about it as it is already happening. Citizens can only hope that the news that they are receiving is true and honest; whether it be in a newspaper, tabloid, telegraph, computer, television or radio. Over the last three hundred years, news professionals have developed a loose set of principles and values to fulfill the function of providing news—the indirect knowledge by which people come to form their opinions about the world. Foremost among these principles is this: Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth” (Kovach & Rosenstiel, pg. 36). There are many different types of media that can get the news out to the world locally, nationally, and globally. One can only think to themselves about which one of those is actually following the obligation of giving the truth.

    Although in the past there were only newspapers and flyers posted around and later the telegraph, now there are electronic media. “Electronic media have brought with them a greatly increased ability to influence people. . . ” (Abel, Preface). Newspapers were a large influence on people in American society as well; publishing regularly, having a variety of stories, and having a consistent title and format. When electronic media became known, people found it a lot easier to obtain the news and at the same time not have to spend any money to do so.

    Although there is belief that electronic media’s purpose of news is based on the money flow and ratings that is received. Media outlets have to give their audience what the audience wants, leading to competition between the many different types of media. With the variety of media sources, citizens today can pretty much get news anywhere and at any time. With such a large variety of the sources one could only expect to find honest and factual news somewhere (Media Awareness Network, What is News? ). But it can also mean shorter, more exciting stories; flashy, sexy, shocking images; crime, death, disaster, tragedy; confrontation, violence, controversy; or anything else that might attract viewers or readers. When taken to extremes (as in the “tabloid” newspapers or television shows), “news” can become just another type of sensational entertainment” (Media Awareness Network, What is News? ). The purpose of news in American society is to make the citizens aware of everything, whether good or bad, that is going on around them locally, nationally, and globally.

    Who is supposed to be providing this “news” though; and how are they retrieving this “news? ” “Large news organizations have many employees who perform many specialized jobs. But when it comes to increasing your visibility in the media, the key contacts you need to know are reporters and editors” (Media Awareness Network, Who Does What? ). These two jobs have a lot of responsibilities behind them and cannot be foolishly done. If a reporter and editor want the respect of their citizens/audience, they must be honest, efficient, and concise. Reporters are responsible for coming up with story ideas, researching them and interviewing for them, and writing the stories in an interesting way … Editors are the gatekeepers who have the power to decide which stories are newsworthy and which are not” (Media Awareness Network, Who Does What? ). These reporters and editors must be paid or rewarded in some way for all the information they are able to retrieve and pass along to their citizens. “It is through the sale of advertising that they earn their profits” (Abel, pg. ). This could also be seen as a purpose of news media in American society. Not only is it around still to inform as well as to bring people together, but it is also here to generate a profit in some enormity (Gotessays, The Purpose of News). This could lead to some harm and some good throughout time. Depending on the media type, the reporter and editor might have more responsibilities. This also depends on what that media is asking for them to provide in order to keep their rates high.

    In Abel’s book, “What’s news: the media in American society”, he mentions that a sociologist from Columbia University, W. Phillips Davison, describes a few media as follows: Radio is the alert medium, television is the involving medium, and print is the informing medium (Abel, Davison, pg. 4). “To understand media, we need to differentiate their separate structures and their effects upon individuals and society in the mass” (Abel, pg. 3). Davison does that with his descriptions on the three types of media; radio, television, and print.

    Davison also went on to describe a little more about each of those media like the following: radio is the first medium to tell citizens something noteworthy has happened, television engages the emotions more completely, and print is capable of handling complexity (Abel, pg. 4). These media are the reason we, as a society, are as aware of the events that are happening around us. The objective of news is to inform the citizens in American society.

    With the various media available and the many citizens working for those media, it is not hard to find a certain story or event that was put into the news. Without the news media, citizens today would be lost and not have a clue about what is going on locally, nationally, and globally. If one does not know this information or have a way to obtain the information, citizens could be in danger and not know it; or even something great could have happened like the re-election of a president, and they would have no idea.

    The news media has been known to provide a very valuable public service to the citizens all around the world; and we can only be extremely thankful to those who have done so well at getting that news out to the citizens in American society and all around the world.

    References “News | Defining. ” Media Awareness Network | Reseau education Medias. Media Awareness Network, 2010. Web. 10 Feb. 2012. <http://www. mediaawareness. ca/english/special_initiatives/toolkit/news_industry/what_is_it_news. cfm>. “News – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary.  Dictionary and Thesaurus – Merriam-Webster Online. Web. 10 Feb. 2012. <http://www. merriam-webster. com/dictionary/news>. Abel, Elie. “What’s News: The Media in American Society – Elie Abel. ” Google Books. Transaction Publishers, 2009. Web. 10 Feb. 2012. <http://books. google. com/books? id=0LJ8nMwgEZoC>. “The Purpose Of News Essay by Gotessays. ” Free Essays, College Research Papers, and Class Notes – GotEssays. com. Got Essays, 18 Mar. 2011. Web. 10 Feb. 2012. <http://www. gotessays. com/essays/1787/index. php>. Kovach, Bill, and Tom Rosenstiel. The Elements of Journalism. London: Atlantic,

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