The Ways Of The Media

Saman Arif


In an ever-changing and often unstable world, it is important to be able to receive accurate news. The media has an important part to play given the responsibility. It is also almost an automatic influencer to its audience and yes there are motives involved. The trick is to try to find and identify them. However, sometimes the news that is broadcasted is not the full story, contains bias, or sometimes inaccurate or even fake. With that said the media does provide people with important information and the extra support needed to help unify nations in times of tragedy. Regardless, why does the media choose certain stories instead of others? Why do they portray certain news stories the way that they do? The media presents stories to inform and sometimes to entertain. The media does not present us with a way to respond or take action on certain issues or stories. The media represents or portrays social problems but doesn’t provide the audience with a direction to go in with the problem. In a way, the media has also affected what people open up and talk about and what they don’t. Regardless, as time passes people are becoming more vocal and opening up about the social problems that the media has mostly been presenting in a hushed way. It appears as though the media knows what will shock the audience and what will move them into action. They present those problems that should be talked about more as something that no one should talk about and presenting stories of less importance as a serious issue. Sometimes the way the media portrays certain stories about social problems it seems to be normalized or made to appear as though it’s not that serious of an issue. At other times the issues are presented in the form of jokes. While the reasoning behind this may be still unknown, what is known is that the media often times presents a story simply for “higher ratings and bigger revenues”. They won’t show stories that will not ultimately benefit them. That’s why the media is always reporting on famous people and tragedies.

There is a gap between the journalists’ professional position and their performance. The type of perspective, how much accurate information, and how much of the actual story the audience will receive is at the mercy of the journalists themselves. They decide what the nation or world will hear. In some instances, the journalists have to conform to what the government wants or requires and at the same to time their professionalism. This only adds to the complexity of producing content. There are three basic stages in the process of production. They are the story ideation, story narration, and the story presentation. Basically, the story ideation introduces the topic, the story narration tells the story, and the story presentation is how the story is told. This is the basic process that journalists follow to produce content. The media’s portrayal of different stories has a lot to do with the type of content and also some bias. The bias that is often identified in news broadcasts and articles fall into at least three different categories. Of course, there could be more types of bias. Nonetheless, it is extremely important to understand these biases and how they are used. Understanding these three will help to shed light as to why the media may seem to “always” portray certain genres of stories with a certain perspective.  They are the visibility bias, tonality bias, and the agenda bias. The first one, visibility has to do with the media covering a story or a person such as a political figure based on significance and what the journalists want people to see, hear, and think about. This is why sometimes people will hear more about one person or event than others. This can be helpful in some ways. For example, during elections, often times the most successful candidate is covered more even if they are not favored by the majority. Or an event such as a terrorist attack or a school shooting regardless of how it is normally is covered more because of its significance. Tonality bias is more of quality related bias. An example of this bias would be when journalists portray a certain person or group people or incident in a certain way making an obvious or not so obvious attempt to provide a positive or negative view of the person, group, or event. Sometimes this bias creates a one-sided story, for example, making person appear to be very favorable or vice versa.  It is most commonly associated with political figures. The last bias is called agenda bias. Agenda bias can be related to practically promoting a certain campaign, idea, or pushing for certain actions on a specific matter. Overall, the prevalence of tonality bias and agenda bias effects during the last 6 weeks of this election campaign has strong implications for the role of media in democracy”. The tonality bias and agenda bias seems to have the most impact on voters specifically.

During certain times or occasions the media only seems to cover one topic, story, or event. For some people this part of elections specifically might be boring especially if it is obvious that there is a lag with not much to talk about. Basically, in short a lot of news channels, specifically, narrate everything that is happening and are sometimes redundant. The media has a lot of time to kill before an election”. However, when there is not an election going on but instead of a terrorist attack or a significant crash similar actions are also taken. An example of this is when a crash occurs that closes down a section of interstate and all the details are not provided immediately. The media tends to stick around and repeat the already known facts as well as repeatedly asking practically the same questions. Like any individual and organization, the media has its own agendas. Sometimes it is in collaboration with political figures. It is true that the media has some influence on how fast certain public problems get solved. Also, politicians receive their own cues as to when to respond to media or what problems they should start solving. The media and politicians work together to promote their own individual agendas as well as the one they collaborate on. So, technically the news stories that get the most attention are the ones that pertain to public problems that politicians need or will start to try and solve. Or the stories in some way promote the media or politician’s individual agendas. The media often in times of crisis tends to try and dictate how the general public should act in response. In Norway when a terrorist attack happened the media did its best to promote unity, love, and peace towards people of all backgrounds. Not all of the things the media does is a bad thing but sometimes it can have a negative effect on the public at large. So, in cases besides purely reporting on incidents the media is there to reinforce that extra form of support to the people.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: