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News Flash: Journalism, Infotainment and the Bottom-Line Business of Broadcast News

Overview

While talking heads debate the media's alleged conservative or liberal bias, award-winning journalist Bonnie Anderson knows that the problem with television news isn't about the Left versus the Right--it's all about the money. From illegal hiring practices to ethnocentric coverage to political cheerleading, News Flash exposes how American broadcast conglomerates' pursuit of the almighty dollar consistently trumps the need for fair and objective reporting. Along the way to the bottomline, the proud tradition of ...
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Overview

While talking heads debate the media's alleged conservative or liberal bias, award-winning journalist Bonnie Anderson knows that the problem with television news isn't about the Left versus the Right--it's all about the money. From illegal hiring practices to ethnocentric coverage to political cheerleading, News Flash exposes how American broadcast conglomerates' pursuit of the almighty dollar consistently trumps the need for fair and objective reporting. Along the way to the bottomline, the proud tradition of American television journalism has given way to an entertainment-driven industry that's losing credibility and viewers by the day.

As someone who has worked as both a broadcast reporter and a network executive, Anderson details how the networks have been co-opted by bottom-line thinking that places more value on a telegenic face than on substantive reporting. Network executives—the real power in broadcast journalism—are increasingly employing tactics and strategies from the entertainment industry. They "cast" reporters based on their ability to "project credibility," value youth over training and experience, and often greenlight coverage only if they can be assured that it will appeal to advertiser-friendly demographics.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Shortly before Anderson was fired from her job as vice president of recruiting for CNN (because, she claims in a lawsuit, she wouldn't go along with the company's discriminatory hiring practices), the head of programming allegedly told her, "I want to cast people viewers are more likely to want to watch." He meant, of course, young, attractive, white people. According to Anderson, this use of the word cast is symptomatic of the shift from responsible journalism to "infotainment." In pursuit of viewers and profits, news organizations increasingly cut corners, engage in the cross-promotion of products, and trade impartiality for flag waving. Anderson, who previously worked at NBC News and as a print reporter, draws many illustrations from her ten years with CNN but also finds plenty of examples elsewhere. She calls her book an "optimistic call to demand honest and fair news reporting," but her bleak assessment leaves little hope for a return to journalistic integrity. Recommended for journalism collections.-Susan M. Colowick, Timberland Regional Lib., Tumwater, WA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787972851
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/14/2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Meet the Author

Bonnie M. Anderson is a twenty-seven-year news veteran who has won seven Emmy Awards and been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She began her career as a print reporter for the Miami Herald, the Miami News, and Gannett Newspapers, and spent ten years at NBC News and close to ten at CNN. Anderson currently provides media training for executives, journalists, and other professionals.
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Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xix

1 The Rise of the Corporate News Networks 1

2 What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You 25

3 This Is Good Business? 41

4 The Good 73

5 The Bad 95

6 And the Ugly 115

7 All Profits, All the Time 149

8 We Report, We Decide 187

9 Strange Bedfellows 201

Conclusion: Rx for TV Journalism 225

Notes 237

The Author 249

Name Index 251

Subject Index 257

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