How to Watch TV News

How to Watch TV News❰Read❯ ➮ How to Watch TV News Author Neil Postman – An important guide to understanding what you're getting and not getting from TV news Postman and Powers warn that anyone who relies exclusively on TV for a knowledge of the world is making a serious m An important guide to understanding what Watch TV PDF/EPUB è you're getting and not getting from TV news Postman and How to PDF \ Powers warn that anyone who relies exclusively on TV for a knowledge of the world is making to Watch TV PDF Í a serious mistake and suggest ways to intelligently evaluate TV news shows. This was short and to the point well mostly to the point It is a bit dated so you can skip most of the figures but then figures like how much an ad cost to produce in 1990 go in one ear and out the other anyway I might use some of the ideas in this book when I’m teaching next year This book doesn’t say Don’t watch TV news – but it does say you should cut your TV news watching by a third and that watching TV news tends to make you depressed and fearful The best of this book though is not so much the suggestions at the end – or less think as you watch and come to TV news knowing stuff already rather than hoping to learn stuff from it The best of this book are the bitchy parts about how newsrooms are populated by perfect families – the greying male presenter as dad and his wife the female senior correspondent and their pretty and vivacious adult daughter the weather girl and maybe a crazy uncle in the sports presenter I hadn’t ever thought about the significance of the ad breaks that always come just before the weather Apparently the weather is one of the most watched bits of the news so they always show ads before it as this is when people are really focused They say amusing things also about maps with Hs and Ls chasing each other around – I wonder how many people have any idea what a synoptic chart meansThe best advice in this is to remember that the News is really a Show and a very profitable one at that It makes money by selling advertisements There is a lovely uote from McLuhan that “Advertisements constitute the only 'good news' in the newspaper” They also say very interesting things about the relationship between ads think about yourself there are simple solutions to all your problems and they are called ‘products’ and journalism think less about yourself and about the world you inhabit They think this is a productive and interesting tension and one that is worth thinking about as you watch the newsBut the best of all of this book was when they spoke about how much of television news is really about modern reenactments of the seven deadly sins – politician in bed with 18 year old as one of a story or two about lust some shots of fat kids for gluttony some huge house sold on the coast for 25 million for avarice and so on The problem is that television is about pictures and about drama – it is not about analysis So if you want to know about the world watching a half hour news program interesting stat with the same number of words as a single page of newsprint probably isn’t really going to help you But newspapers have similar problems in that they too are obsessed with NOW rather than how we got here or where we are likely to be going My best advice would be to read books than you watch television or read newspapers – it is always best to give advice you know few are likely to follow Don'tWell that was easy From television insider Steve Powers and technological critic Neil Postman comes this slim book How To Watch Television News which explains how televised news is produced and scrutinizes the platform's ability to deliver seriously useful information Although this is not a takedown of television news at the end they merely encouraged readers to reduce their TV news consumption by a third it doesn't foster trust in the medium Powers' insight reveals an industry which scrambles to stay ahead of the latest developments seizing on whatever is most likely to keep eyes on the screen and keep the ratings high Most readers are aware of course that television news programs play to the ratings no serious journalist would focus their attention on the goings on of celebrities otherwise What we might fail to appreciate however is how carefully orchestrated television shows are from the music chosen to the arrangement of news seuences designed to draw viewers in and keep them fixated Because of the pace the need to keep as many viewers' attention as possible and the amount of production work reuired to put each show together serious journalistic pieces are impossible for something as small as the nightly news whether it's a half hour local news spot or an hour long nationwide show To truly evaluate what's happening in the world Postman and Powers maintain we need print media stories that allow us to consider ideas at length not merely be distracted by them as objects on the screen If readers were to reflect on the news and the commericals which it actually serves they might see through the illusion and see that just as a mouthwash commericial is about social acceptnance than mouthwash a news show is of a show than the actual newsDespite its multitude of references to the eighties How to Watch TV News is far from outdated Powers' 2008 revision updated some references and tech but Postman's contributions are timeless Some of them will be familiar to anyone who has read Postman before from his view that different technologies foster different beliefs to the belief that television has trivialized and eroded culture in general How To Watch Television News is less about television however and about news the barrage of facts we're told are important Postman and Powers help us to look for the stage behind the story why are these facts being presented what judgments are we expected to accept in viewing them? In giving recommendations to the reader however Postman urges readers to realize they don't have to have an opinion about everything This has never been relevant than today when the social media cloud that we're all forced to live in because it rains on those of us who don't use it when people insist on talking about what they're tweeting or reading constantly pushes us to react to everything as if it were important We are still a nation and now a globe amused to death frazzled by distractionAlso from Neil PostmanTechnopoly The Surrender of Culture to TechnologyAmusing Ourselves to Death Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business The Disappearance of ChildhoodBuilding a Bridge to the 18th Century Neil Postman as a philosopher is deceptively simple His writing is so easy that by this point it took me seconds to read a page McLuhan’s name also appear so it’s obvious he’s not providing new paradigms of thought He continues McLuhan’s critical examination of technology not taking it for granted by asking what it means If the medium is the message then this is book expands on news as a mediumBefore I talk about this book I must make the theory clear When McLuhan uses it he means any kind of technology For him the newspaper and the text are two different medias Postman takes a saner intiuiative approach to his theory and uses the tradition of medium as a tool for transmitting content He examines what kind of content works better with medium according to its traits Although it’s a different modus operandi of analysis it’s still an extremely useful one Actually it’s necessary for us to understand any kind of communicationPostman and Powers talk a lot about the importance of advertising No one should be surprised by this Ads are everywhere Just go outside An activity as innocent as waiting for the bus will involve advertising in the station and on the bus itself The chapters about media as business don’t reveal too much since in my experience people already perceive the TV networks as a business anywayThe interesting and important parts are when the authors discuss what news is It’s the type of discussion we don’t have enough When you criticize the news or TV for being stupid people will reply with ‘oh it’s business of course they will do what makes money’ Living in a strictly Neoliberal mindset this makes sense Adopting a less dogmatic mindset means asking yourself what kind of product you’re consuming Without asking yourself this you can’t tell the difference between a snack and a mealIt’s this crucial distinction that makes all the figures about adverts alarming News isn’t exactly entertainment Things that happen in it are supposed to real News show stand in contrast to other shows in that they’re meant to provide information That’s why you’re angrier when Trump says ‘grab them by the pussy’ then when the Joker abuses Harley uinn Clearly news are a different product than other shows like RealiTV or cartoonsSince news deliver information the authors always view news by that prism If these parts seem worrying it’s only because they force you to ask whether you’re actually learning anything by the news Their examination of the visual image is fantastic It’s not an attack on the image itself Rather they examine what kind of information an image delivers and what ideas work better in imagesNews aren’t documentaries A subject they sadly didn’t touch News consists of incomplete stories framed as complete with pictures Yet the story is so much than a picture A picture isn’t actually worth a thousand words since these words can contradict each other They also point out how images express than tell show something concrete but don’t include context It’s not that images are bad but news information demands context order and meaning Images aren’t enough to deliver thoseThe print media also contains pictures but then they analyze its structure It’s another thing that’s easy to miss The newspaper is a mosaic of images where there is less hierarchy and control for the reader Although the editor decides which items will be on the paper and how much they will stick out they can’t control the order of reading Choosing to watch one story before the other in TV news is uite hard work Why put all this effort into rewinding and fast forwarding?It’s sad that the authors didn’t emphasis the viewers’ ability to be selective on the media they consume Although they’re not totally deterministic Powers’ final conclusion when discussing new technology leans towards gatekeeping What he misses is that gatekeepers won’t necessarily care or know the well being of the viewer A gatekeeper by definition puts less power in the viewer’s hand The power of selection is what we need to teachSome optimistic researchers will say we’re all naturally selective I don’t think so and the high amount of TV watching and viral content is evidence of that Selectivity means people will have a guideline of their own that makes them choose the content They will not scroll the popular YouTube videos to see what’s happening but rather search for specific topics The internet actually does increase selectivity mostly because you have to with all this informationWhat they miss about information glut is that it demands being selective unlike the TV The TV as a medium is a regression in terms of intelligence and ability to convey information Postman keeps proving this here The authors missed that technology changes and can amplify parts of ourselves Their pessimism misses the internet’s nature of information glut which forces people to be selective in some way That said selectivity demands critical thinking and that demands a lot of effort and our education system don’t really support itAn interesting chapter focuses on the televising of trials It’s one of the highlights since it illustrates clearly than any chapter how TV works When a trial is televised everyone knows that one person is tried We’re judges by nature and by putting someone on TV you put the person in front of millions of judges Beyond that the nature of summary of TV means our judgment will be uicker and less informed Many of us will not even know what the final decision was We’ll know someone’s been tried assume he’s guilty or not and move onI agree with the authors that TV should stay out of court They spread disinformation not information A person witnessing a trial is seeing it as it is all the information with no edited highlights On the news you can’t show the whole trial but have to edit the highlightsThis book is directly related to Amusing Ourselves to Death That book laid down the nature of TV and Postman’s demand for a boundary between information and entertainment It is a discussion for a different book but keep in mind these are some of the assumptions Postman and Powers bring Information and entertainment must not go together They don’t view TV as bad in and of itself at least not in this book but merely as horrible at providing information Although they expose their bias of technological pessimism a little later they still lean towards being critical instead of dogmatic After all they provide some tools of analyzing language and these tools can be used against them The point of the book is anyway not to make you agree with Postman so much as provide you with tools to be critical on guardIt’s a good book on communication and media studies It should be read by everyone since everyone is affected by the news That said it’s on a small scale It doesn’t provide a theory but apply it We need such books since sometimes theories can exist so much time in the abstract they lose any foundation in reality Anyone expecting a series of revelation might be disappointed that this is not as ambitious as Amusing Ourselves to Death It does provide a nice extension of the argument and is accessible to layman since it’s of a toolbox than a theory Postman’s books do sell but they should sell Here is a philosopher who deals directly with life cares deeply for being human and isn’t hard to understand at all35 fake news reports out of 5Also posted in my blog The discourse is not just on tv news it actually also covers child education televised court trial which profit the tv companies and a few chapters of technical stuff of the production of Tv News perhaps because of the collaboration with Steve Powers who is in the industry And unfortunately because of that I didn't uite enjoyed his part because I find when Postman wrote on something he wrote in in a totally different way or should better put in philosophical way They did suggest in the closing chapters on how to deal with tv news One is to reduce it amongst other like educating people on how to watch tv news And it's a bit peculiar in tge argumentation inside as he sort of slanted into Jerry Mander's style maybe because the effect of watching tv is as it is as he previously criticised him in his earlier popular work Amusing Ourselves to Death 35 at best would go to 45 if not the technicalities While this book is about American TV News you can as well apply the same to Indian News Channels Substitute NBC CNN Fox News with NDTV CNN IBN Times Now and their anchors with Barkha Dutt Rajdeep Sardesai Sagarika Ghose and co it's pretty much the same The figures might be outdated but the point is driven home brilliantly TV News is of the Idiots by the Idiots and for the Idiots The fact is TV News is not meant for intelligent analysis it is basically the Masala News where photogenic anchors loud music snazzy graphics matter than intelligent thought provoking analysis Most of the TV News Debates are like those staged WWE fights utterly fake contrived and shallow And this book is a Damning Expose of that industry A Must read and one of the authors incidentally is an Insider so he knows a good deal Even in these days of website editions of tv news there is much that still applies Some of it is even relevant as our clips and soundbytes get shorter The monetary factors that contribute to broadcaster and marketing choices have of course inflated uite a lot If like me you've already read Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death and Belloc's The Free Press very little here will surprise you It's like an update on those which is now slightly but not entirely dated If you haven't read those andor are beginning to examine the ways in which tv shows operate in our capitalist system this has a lot to offer minimal jargon and direct language makes for a very readable text Maybe look up inflation rates between publication date today ahead of time though so you can estimate current USD valuations during the one chapter where that matters In either case the final chapter with actionable advice on managing how we consume news shows is worth at least a library borrow It goes well beyond reduce how much you watch and into value decisions you should have in mind before you ever grant access to your eyeballs My grandparents were religious about watching the evening news On the occasions that we visited them I recall the family gathering in the living room after dinner to watch the local half hour news show followed by the weather All activity in the house ceased for those precious minutes and all eyes were glued to the cathode ray tube’s mesmerizing colorsNow as an adult I take for granted the never ending stream of news available to me 24 hours a day seven days a week every day of the year – even holidays Where my grandparents had a brief window to the wider world I live outside the house entirely to the point where I do not find it odd to worry about affairs in foreign countries that will never ever affect my daily life But for some reason I know about them because they are news and news – we are told – is importantIn 1992 cultural critic Neil Postman and journalist Steve Powers published a book called How to Watch TV News I can’t say what reception the book received but it was at least significant enough for an updated edition to appear in 2008 That a mere sixteen year gap warranted an updated edition is a testament to the speed with which technology has transformed the delivery and consumption of news itself The first publication however deals with news as Postman and Powers – and myself as a child – experienced it in the 80s and early 90s largely delivered to homes in regular time slots from well known networks“What is news?” Postman asks I shall refer to both Postman and Powers as “Postman” in the remainder of this review only because I am familiar with his work Most people would answer that news is the most important events that occur during the day But many important events occur during the day and the news only occupies a limited time slot on network television in a 24 hour period Even with modern technology significant events occur daily than could possibly be covered in 24 hours even if the manpower and network bandwidth were available News then is a curated selection of events on which someone reports And the person reporting is likely not the person who decides what events are covered though they are the person responsible for interpreting events and relaying that interpretation to viewersWhat criteria are used to determine which daily events are most newsworthy? To answer this uestion Postman looks at how news networks make money Advertisers spend dollars to place commercials on networks that attract eyes so to be profitable – that is to court advertisers – news programs need eyes News stories according to Postman are selected based on which stories will get the most eyes to remain on the screen for the duration of the program Compared to regular entertainment programs news programs are relatively inexpensive to produce but tend to attract significant viewership so their profit margins are higher Since audiences who watch news programs tend to be educated attentive and have money they are susceptible to clever advertisingNews networks employ a number of interesting strategies to keep audiences hooked during programs Popular entertainment shows are often lead in programs that already draw a significant audience and which are likely to leave eyes lingering on the couch after they conclude “Teasers” for upcoming news are peppered within these programs – “Stay tuned for a story of murder and mayhem coming up at 5” – the visual euivalent of “clickbait” designed to entice audiences to stay Anchors and their supporting staff that cover weather sports etc are all chosen with a view to their aesthetic in mind Better looking people are paid to fill a part – to be an actor – in the drama that is TV news Together this ensemble forms a “family” metaphor two co anchors of the opposite sex that are “husband and wife” and their subordinates who play the children Viewers are brought into their happy home as guests Everyone in the family has a role to play and importantly everyone is happy to play that role It surpasses Ward and June Cleaver’s family as the idealThese actors are paid large sums to deliver news to audiences but reporters write and frame the stories anchors deliver according to their own mental points of origin When covering events reporters employ three types of language description what actually happened judgement how they feel morally about what happened and inference drawing conclusions about related ideas based on judgement The very language with which reporters communicate news has connotative meaning that goes beyond the visuals that “show” the story to a viewer In fact pictures only speak to the concretes the particulars of reality They do not deal in abstractions at all Language is the means by which humans unify the infinite variety of particulars in the universe enabling us to deal with it in meaningful and sane ways So while viewers might think that the images or video being displayed on a nightly news program is “news” it is in fact not – “news” is the reporter’s connotations about those images laced as they are by a context that is often not conveyed Remember Postman tells us that different people experience events in different often contradictory ways Eye witness testimony is of dubious reliability at best; and what is news except the eyewitness testimony of a single reporter?A news program’s time limitations place temporal restrictions on the uantity of information that can be sueezed into the program “Time works against understanding coherence even meaning”The instantaneous information is delivered the less historical context and analysis can be delivered with it Shorter news segments mean that context is necessarily dropped in favor of visually scintillating content Reporters or anchors may make contextual comments but they are usually passed off as errata to an otherwise complete visual work The increasing number of retractions updates and corrections in modern news stories proves Postman’s point To competently watch the news then a viewer must be armed with context already – from books articles and other sources of information The viewer must not be a passive vessel to be filled with news but must be an active participant and critic of the newsPostman’s final chapter contains eight recommendations for people who watch TV news These recommendations stand the test of time and they may be applied to news one receives from any visual medium including the Internet YouTube and Facebook especially1 “In encountering a news show you must come with a firm idea of what is important” A viewer must understand that news is delivered to the public based on the financial interests of the network To paraphrase Postman reporters are not as powerful as accountants Viewers will only be as competent in their consumption of news as they have been diligent in the development of their own knowledge2 “In preparing to watch a TV news show keep in mind that it is called a ‘show’” Teasers soundtracks fancy visuals photogenic anchors – these are the things of entertainment and they are calculated to affect viewers emotionally TV news is drama larping as education3 “Never underestimate the power of commercials” Commercials Postman writes are “a new albeit degraded means of religious expression in that most of them take the form of parables teaching people what the good life consists of that in fact is one of the reasons commercials are so effective People do not usually analyze them Neither we might say do people analyze biblical parables which are often ambiguous”4 “Learn something about the economic and political interests of those who run TV stations” Since all news is chosen and delivered through a filter of values to judge it competently a viewer must know something about those from whom it is delivered In the 80s and 90s this may have been a difficult task; in the twenty first century it seems that all reporters wear political affiliations on their sleeves5 “Pay special attention to the language of newscasts” Language frames reality and also betrays the biases and assumptions of the people using it Since the purview of television news is to arrest the viewer for ratings and hence lure advertisers it can be assumed that the language chosen to convey news will be calculated to provoke maximum emotional response whether warranted or not Perhaps this is why Postman writes “people who are heavy television viewers including viewers of television news shows believe their communities are much dangerous than do light television viewers Television news in other words tends to frighten people” The hysteria that can be packed into every sentence a reporter writes the better People love watching train wrewcks6 “Reduce by at least one third the amount of TV news you watch” The reasons by now should be obvious Spend your freed time reading “each day's TV news consists for the most part of fifteen or so examples of one or the other of the Seven Deadly Sins It cannot possibly do you any harm to excuse yourself each week from acuaintance with thirty or forty of these examples TV news does not reflect normal everyday life”7 “Reduce by one third the number of opinions you feel obliged to have” One interesting side effect of TV news is that it compels people to feel like they ought to parrot what has been reported and that they are morally or intellectually inferior if they reserve judgement or admit to ignorance on a reported subject But this is nonsense; insanity even No well informed insights can come from sound bytes and contextless reporting8 “Do whatever you can to get schools interested in teaching children how to watch TV news shows” Perhaps “critical viewing” could be taught alongside critical thinking in school classrooms Students are certainly exposed to far news than is appropriate for their happiness and well being We should consider it morally obligatory to euip them to deal with the deluge sooner rather than laterThough dated How to Watch TV News has a tremendous amount of insights for the consumption of any sort of visual media The Internet has by and large taken the place of television in the twenty first century and the media establishment – of which the term “fake news” sticks like spaghetti to a wall – looses its collective shit daily Information comes to us at a tremendously unhealthy rate overwhelming the sense and clouding the mind yet our intellectual and moral standings our very identities in fact are judged according to which news source gains our allegiances Perhaps news is not as important as we think it is Perhaps it is important to step back and ask what we should know and why it’s important before becoming a passive receptacle for someone else’s answers to those uestions Postman thinks so and I agree This is a uick read and a nice overview of the structure of entertainment news programs and factors that influence the content Postman however seems to suffer from the same problem as many other well educated people accustomed to writing for academic journals In crossing over to popular writing the effort to use clear concise and simple language makes the tone feel as though the author is talking down to the reader as if she is not yet capable of critical thought Additionally in what must have been an effort to cloud the writing with too many references the language is rife with weasel words and other rhetorical devicesThat said it is an interesting book for those interested in thinking critically about the content of TV news Those with a background in criticalcultural theory however may find it infuriating Great book The figures are a bit dated it having been published 20 years ago and all but extremely valuable anyway Perhaps at the time of publication the issue of government controlled and worldview 'propaganda' in news and television were not uite as pernicious but the expounding on such was the only thing in my opinion this book lackedAn eye opening read for anyone who watches the TV news A Favorite uoteWhat people don't know can kill them to borrow from Fred Friendly formerly of CBS news To this might be added that what people do not know can keep them from knowing what they must know In other words the pseudo news show fixes peoples' attention on what is peripheral to an understanding of their lives and may even disable them from distinguishing what is relevant from what is not pg 94 While I wouldn't say this book is profound it does contain valuable insight that will change the way you view your network and cable news programs The most interesting uestion posed in the book is what is news? I think a lot of people are aware of the type casting of news personalities and the bias in reporting as well as the unnecessary glamour in news reporting but I'm afraid most of us forget to even ponder what should be considered news and are we in danger of information glut that the need for constant reporting leads to Really it is enough to make you forsake the news all together

How to Watch TV News PDF/EPUB Í Watch TV  PDF/EPUB
  • Paperback
  • 178 pages
  • How to Watch TV News
  • Neil Postman
  • English
  • 15 March 2016
  • 9780140132311