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Assess the claim that 'The News is selected according to the demands of the target audience'

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Introduction

Assess the claim that 'The News is selected according to the demands of the target audience'. The extent to which the news is selected according to the demands of the target audience will depend on the perspective from which this is viewed. However, it should be noted that news is clearly a social construction- selected by individuals and organizations based upon differing requirements. Pluralist and Functionalist theorists would support the view that news is selected according to audience demand, as it corresponds to their ideas on the market and libertarian dimension. On the other hand, Classical Marxism would disagree with the view, instead arguing that it is media owners, not audiences, who select the news, and this news in turn reflects the capitalist and owner's viewpoint. Neo-Marxist theorists would also disagree with the view that the news is selected according to audience demand, seeing news as being influenced by other factors including the dominant ideology. It could also be argued that news is selected on the basis of other factors, including practical constraints as well as the norms, values and practices of journalists and producers. It can be argued that the news is indeed selected according to the demand of the target audience. This is backed by the functionalist perspective as well as pluralist theories. ...read more.

Middle

This can be seen within the framework of Althusser's Ideological State Apparatus, where the media plays an important role in unconscious social control and the imposition of false class consciousness. However, this perspective can be criticized- namely for being too deterministic and failing to take into account the role of the individual. Pluralists would criticize the Marxist view for assuming that people are passive consumers of media output and news- and argue alternatively that people do and have control over what media they consume. Neo-Marxists would criticize the Classical Marxist view for failing to take into account the role of a wider, invisible ideology while it can also be said that the Classical Marxist view does not cover the role of media professionals in shaping news coverage. Neo-Marxist theorists would also disagree with the claim that the news is selected according to the demand of the target audience. They would argue that news is selected according to compliance with the ruling ideology of capitalism which enjoys cultural hegemony (Bourdieu) over other ideologies. Media professionals such as journalists, producers and editors who select the news and act as gatekeepers and agenda-setters (GUMG) are all indoctrinated in the ruling ideology through the virtue of their predominantly middle-class background and hence reflect this ideology in their work. ...read more.

Conclusion

Journalistic Values and Practices may also have a greater impact upon news coverage than audience demand. This is because journalists learn to follow certain rules and norms in their occupation- what we can call 'news values' (Hall). Bureaucratic and Cultural News Values help to shape news coverage- with an emphasis on currency, simplicity, size, expectations, importance and negativity. However, these arguments can be criticized. Classical Marxists and Neo-Marxists would criticize these views for failing to take into account the power differentials and the influence of a dominant ideology within any news gathering and news-presenting organization, while pluralists would argue that the demands of the audience and the market pressures involve inevitably have a greater influence on the news than media culture. In conclusion, it can be argued that although consumer and audience demand does play a clear role in determining news coverage, other factors, including the existence of a dominant ideology (which, from the Functionalist view, could be seen as the social consensus), as well as practical constraints, media values and finally the influence of ownership also play significant roles in deciding the content, style and nature of news. Therefore, it should be said that the news is determined by a mixture of the above in different quantities- interacting with each other in differing circumstances depending on the news organization and other factors. ?? ?? ?? ?? Edwin Loo 13K 05/02/2008 Sociology Essay Page 2 of 2 ...read more.

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