Reporting the News: Why the Media Gets It Wrong

Topics: Mass media, News media, Journalism Pages: 13 (5586 words) Published: October 6, 2012
Reporting the News: Why the Media Gets it Wrong

Table of Contents
Media History4
Ethics in Journalism6
Research Results8
Sago Mine Disaster10
Representative Gabrielle Giffords Shooting13
Hurricane Katrina15

The media has had a huge impact on our country as it often influences the public's view on issues prevalent at the time. We rely on the media to get the current news and facts about what we should be aware of and what is important. During a fast-moving media event, the media is under enormous pressure to report the latest information. That means they may occasionally get a key fact wrong, rely on a misinformed source, or report the same incorrect news that other networks are reporting. The two main reasons behind these errors are a lack of validating sources of information and taking shortcuts through the information in the effort to get the story out before any other station, newspaper or other news source.

Reporting the News: Why the Media Gets it Wrong
Mass media has become a tool for news, information sharing, advertising and entertainment and has often had an influence on national and even world history. The media acts as the key informant in disaster situations by relaying information from the scene of the disaster to those who are affected, the curious general public, and policy makers alike. In fact, The media plays such a large role in disseminating information about disasters that Dynes claimed that the media “defines” a disaster by what is reported and what is not (Rodriguez, Diaz, Santos, and Aguirre, 2006). What does get reported forms a frame—a lens that shows the audience one part of the larger picture—that is then often interpreted as the truth behind what happened at the scene of the disaster. However, sometimes these frames, or underlying themes, are exaggerated, misrepresented, or completely false, which results in a general misunderstanding of the disaster by the media’s audience (Barsky; Dynes and Rodriguez, 2006). Media History

Mass media is defined as any form of communication which is designed to reach a large audience (24/7 Media Group). This can be print media such as newspapers and magazines, radio, television, film and radio, photography and more common today, electronic, especially with the introduction of social media. Advances in technology to the American Public have greatly advanced the way society receives information. In the last few decades the media has expanded from community newspapers to multinational corporations. Few people argue that the media has a large influence on society. The way we get information may also affect the way we process and understand information. With fewer and fewer companies controlling more and more media outlets, the influence of the mass media is important and needs to be understood. The mass media of broadcast, print, and the internet significantly affect the way we process information. Through the twenty-first century the power of the media has shifted away from newspapers, radio and television, to the internet. The internet has surpassed television as the main news source for American young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 years old. The report found that, among this generation, 65% cited the internet as their main news source, a value that almost doubled since 2007 when it was at 34%. Television fell from 68% in 2007 to 52% in 2010, now in second place. Among the next generation, aged 30 to 49, television still reigns but has been steadily losing ground to the internet. In 2007, the television was cited by 71% as this generation’s main source of news, yet fell to 63% in 2010, while the internet was 32% in 2007 and rose to 48% in 2010. And this year, for the first time, the internet surpassed radio as the main source of news for Americans aged over 50, including the over 65 demographic. (Mourato, 2011). With viewers come ratings and advertising and...
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