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Clash of the Media

October 23, 2010

           It is a dog-eat-dog world out there. Well, in our case, a journalist-eat-journalist world. Everyone is vying for the best story. Newspapers and broadcasters seem to harbor quite a hateful attitude toward one another. In Grant and Wilkinson this week, we read that some journalists in the newspaper world thought of broadcast journalists as “hair spray, bowties, vapid air heads.” It is funny to me how this stereotype almost seems appropriate. Have you ever seen a pageant show where the beautiful young contestant aspires to be a broadcast journalist, with dreams of becoming the next Katie Couric? – I digress. But what can we do to help make telling the news a better experience for all involved? 

                It seems more and more that convergence is having to work for news mediums. For example, now you can see the Tyler Paper and CBS 19 have partnered up to promote each other as news organizations. The Tyler Paper online will show video that was done by 19 and also do games and promotions that you have to watch the news and read the paper in order to win. They have integrated print, broadcast, and online news content and it is working well for them. I don’t know in how many places this type of partnership has been used, but I can see it becoming more and more of a trend. This is a neat way that the organizations are able to use convergence to share the news. Also, it is a way to show the public (at least on the surface) that newspapers and broadcast can get along. I mean after all isn’t their job ultimately the same? To Share the news? Both organizations are assisting each other in very positive ways.

                 In an article by Steen Steensen, we learn about the Norwegian online newspaper the Dagbladet. Steensen’s research discussed the problems in trying to implement online feature news content. “Reporting breaking news has so far undoubtedly been the dominant feature of most online newspapers, but as online journalism evolves a complexity of styles and genres is emerging that broadens the diversity of online journalism far beyond reports on daily news” (Steensen, 2009). This day and age, when it comes to breaking news, we immediately turn to the internet. I’m pretty sure I can speak for almost anyone when I say immediately. We want to know. We are so greedy with everything that we want it now, now, NOW!  No longer can we wait for that 5 a.m. thud that has arrived outside our doorstep (aka the newspaper). We heard something horrible has happened, we don’t want to believe it, so we are able to turn to the internet for the immediacy of the reporting and also for that instant gratification.  Immediacy is what Steensen states hinders online sources from moving beyond online news journalism to online feature journalism  “most of the empirically based research into the production of online journalism is biased towards exploring online news journalism, thus promoting for instance immediacy in reporting as the main obstacle preventing innovative use of new technology in online newsrooms.” But after we get passed this immediacy, we tend to want more. After understanding that there has been something bad happen, I want to go to my local online news source and find a story about a local hero or a picture of a cute kid. What the public doesn’t realize is that “just throwing something on the internet” is not that easy. If you want it to look professional, imbed sound video and all the bells and whistles, it takes someone skilled to perform those types of tasks. Steensen also points out that new technology was a hindrance in implementing some of these types of programs. The journalists were encountering technical problems … well to that I say that journalists aren’t computer coders so that means we would have to learn even more skills to keep up with the times. Lastly, Steensen does explain how the online newsroom is so new that there is no definite answer. Only time can tell what the internet will evolve to as far as the news is concerned.

       Grant and Wilkinson discuss culture clashes between print and broadcast news sources. “Early attempts to put print and broadcast journalists within the same newsroom in hopes that a cultural osmosis would occur met with resistance and left some scholars wondering if this barrier could ever be overcome.” Last week we learned about Social Identity Theory. Journalists, be it print, broadcast or online are all susceptible to some sort of bias toward each other because they all work in different groups. Allports research on intergroup relations found 3 major points to eliminating bias: groups must be of equal status both in practice and perception, groups must be engaged in cooperative rather than competitive activities, and the support of institutional authorities must be present if group collaboration is to occur at an optimum level. Additionally, three additional models were given as further examples on how to diminish bias. These include (in brief) the Decategorized Content Model which suggests the best way to ameliorate intergroup bias is to break down the group identities and form more personalized relationships. Secondly, the Common Ingroup Identity Model seeks to move groups from an “us” and “them” mentality to a “we.” And lastly, the Mutual Intergroup Differentiation Model, which, unlike the other two has been key in pointing out positives within both groups. Conflict will always be a part of human nature, but the media and journalists definitely needs to find a way to understand each other and make their workplace a more positive one because the people and the technology are certainly not going to wait around for them to resolve their issues.

 References

Grant, A.E., & Wilkinson, J.S. (2009). Understanding media convergence: the state of the field. New York: OxfordUniversity Press.

Steensen, S. (2009). What’s stopping them? [Article]. Journalism Studies, 10(6), 821-836. doi: 10.1080/14616700902975087

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. October 24, 2010 2:38 am

    I thought about the convergence of local media stations as well, including the fact that radio has been thoroughly involved in this type of news. Between TV weathermen updating us to the promotion of their web pages we are intertwined somewhat already.
    Immediacy is a great benefit to the web but I did catch myself going straight to the TV when the weather started acting up this evening. I go straight to the emergency channel that shows me the almost instant radar.

  2. October 24, 2010 9:08 pm

    I think you bring up a great point when you say that “The media and journalists definitely need to find a way to understand each other and make their workplace a more positive one because the people and the technology are certainly not going to wait around for them to resolve their issues.” I think this is especially true when it comes to online news. We expect the work of online journalists to include video and print of the highest quality and we do not want to wait around for online journalists to learn how to master the skills of broadcast and print journalists. Therefore, it makes more sense if broadcast, print, and online journalists work together with a common goal of producing the best quality of work.

  3. jinnerarity permalink
    October 25, 2010 6:20 pm

    I agree with you when you say “I mean after all isn’t their job ultimately the same? To Share the news? Both organizations are assisting each other in very positive ways.” It is both organizations job to provide people with the news. I just don’t see the point of fighting over ownership of a story. If the newspaper journalist has a more in-depth interview with the person running for mayor why would the t.v. broadcasters not want to try to work with the newspaper journalist to give them more information for another story so both news outlets have better stories? As i have said in my blog and other comments i haven’t worked in this culture so i don’t understand the competitive nature but i still don’t see the need for it. To me i think these agencies are like police officers and state troopers. They both share the same duties to protect and serve the people. If they fought over who pulled who over or who stopped the bank robber nothing would really get done. This bickering doesn’t help either group. They both did their jobs and i hope they both did these jobs well.

  4. October 25, 2010 8:54 pm

    I, like Jordan, don’t really understand the “fued” between the two print and broadcast media. You would think they would want to work together in order to achieve one goal but instead they harbor ill feelings for one another and have some sort of distrust between them. But you’re right Kristen, they will have to find a way to get along and work with eachother because if they don’t they’ll both miss the boat!
    I must admit, you’re not the only one who sometimes thinks about the aspiring tv journalist in the beauty pageant. I think that’s just the stereotype that people have of anchors especially. The thing is, no one wants to watch an anchor who is ugly- sad but true! So how are they supposed to get away from those stereotypes?!

  5. October 26, 2010 2:02 pm

    I think Meredith makes an excellent point–how are we supposed to stop having stereotypical news anchors when audiences respond to attractiveness? It seems as though that is what people want to see when they turn on televisions. Not only are journalists competing to cover stories but they’re also competing on a physical level where if you are not up to those standards, you can be cast out just as easily as if you had botched a story. Perhaps that is another one of the reasons why there is still hostility in the profession.

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