Television News

  • Len Masterman


Teaching about television news poses an immediate problem for the teacher; on the one hand many pupils are likely to respond negatively to the notion of studying television news — to many of them it will be ‘boring’, and the least appetising part of their television diet. On the other hand the teacher needs to be aware of the fact, familiar to audience researchers, that with increasing maturity there is a marked increase in interest in news programmes. Half of the United Kingdom’s adult population watches at least one television news bulletin each day, and 95 per cent of all adult viewers claim to be at least interested in news. The audience for television news is not only massive, but is characterised by great faith. BBC television news is considered by 86 per cent of viewers to be ‘always trustworthy’ or ‘trustworthy most of the time’; ‘only’ 78 per cent responded to ITN in this way — an interesting anomaly which I suspect has no logical basis but reflects attitudes towards the BBC and IBA as institutions, and perhaps even towards their different ‘styles’ of news presentation.1


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Notes and Reference

  1. 4.
    P. Willis, ‘What is news? A case study’. Working Papers in Cultural Studies (Spring 1971 ) p. 9.Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    N. Ryan, quoted in J. Bakewell and N. Garnham, The New Priesthood (Allen Lane, 1970 ) p. 146.Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    J. Whale, The Half-Shut Eye (Macmillan, 1969) p. 30.Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    T. Burns, The BBC (Macmillan, 1977) pp. 194 and 196.Google Scholar
  5. 11.
    A. Smith, ‘Internal pressures in broadcasting’, New Outlook, no. 4 (1972) pp. 4–5 quoted in T. Burns, BBC, p. 195.Google Scholar
  6. 13.
    R. Williams, Television: Technology and Cultural Form (Fontana, 1974) pp. 97–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 15.
    J. Galtung and M. Ruge, ‘The structure of foreign news’, Journal of International Peace Research no. 1 (1965). Reprinted in Cohen and Young, Manufacture of News, p. 62ff.Google Scholar
  8. 25.
    B. Groombridge, Television and the People (Penguin, 1972) Chapter 6;Google Scholar
  9. K. Nordenstreng and T. Varis, ‘International flow of TV programmes’ in J. Caughie, (ed.), Television: Ideology and Exchange (British Film Institute, 1978 ).Google Scholar
  10. 29.
    H. M. Enzensberger, ‘Constituents of a theory of the media’ in New Left Review, no. 64 (Nov/Dec 1970 ) p. 20.Google Scholar
  11. 38.
    For a particularly good example of the ‘soft’ technique see the transcript of an interview between Robin Day and Lord Hailsham in T. Pateman, Television and the 1974 General Election British Film Institute Television Monograph no. 3 (1974) pp. 65–9.Google Scholar
  12. 44.
    J. Dearlove, ‘The BBC and the politicians’, Index on Censorship, vol. 1 (1974).Google Scholar
  13. 45.
    J. D. Halloran, G. Murdock and P. Elliott, Demonstrations and Communications: A Case Study (Penguin, 1970 ).Google Scholar
  14. 50.
    P. Hartmann and C. Husband, ‘The mass media and racial conflict’, Race, vol. xn, no. 3 (1971). Extract in Cohen and Young, Manufacture of News, pp. 273–4.Google Scholar
  15. 54.
    See for example J. Baggaley, TV Codes and Audience Response (British Film Institute Education Advisory Document, 1978 ).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Len Masterman 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Len Masterman

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