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Beneath the Surface: Exploring Intent, Construct, and Assumption in a Media/Visual Literacy Project
ENGL 7741-Summer 2009
The Passing of a Media Legend--News Coverage Fit For a King?
Our group set out to analyze and deconstruct newscasts at the network (national), major market, medium market, and small market levels. With the passing of pop star Michael Jackson we decided to change our focus on how the four "levels" covered this major news story the day after it broke. We soon learned that local media were not willing to freely share either their newscasts or producer rundowns even for educational purposes. We ultimately changed our focus to the actual "breaking news" coverage of this worldwide event - finding a variety of breaking news stories on YouTube (for free). How did the chosen networks cover the actual event? How did they "break" the news to the world?
These are the core questions we considered for local, national, international, and entertainment coverage:
1. Who is their audience?
2. Who has the most effective and/or exclusive pictures?
3. Why did they choose the pictures they chose? Why is a picture worth 1000 words? (because it's TV and he had an iconic status).
4. What do these pictures say to the audience? How would they interpret this?
5. What creative techniques were used to attract the viewers' attention? Before commercial? Music before breaking news? Graphics? Movement? Color? Sound?
6. What led the story: video or talent? Did they go right to a picture with a voiceover? Hot open? (video off the top). Is there an ego thing going on here?
7. How did the anchors sound? (reporters and/or anchors) What did they say? Were they stumbling? Were their comments polished? Did they add personal comments? Should they?
8. Does that help them better connect with their audience? Should they be concerned?
9. How objective was the coverage? Was it supposed to be objective?
10. What are they saying and what are they not saying? (Aside: why is our culture worshipping celebrity?).
11. Why is this message being sent?
12. What values, lifestyles, and points of view are represented or omitted from this message?
13. Was the coverage fawning over Michael Jackson?
14. How long was the cut-in? Why did they use this length?
15. Did we get MJ going to court in his pajamas? Did we get him in Thriller video? Are we seeing the bad or the good?
Latest page update: made by MJKBoyd
, Jul 13 2009, 9:34 PM EDT
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