Thursday, January 08, 2009

all these trees might make up a...forest! 

Concerning the Oakland execution, joshr writes:

In this article they express the usual confusion about why they are rioting in oakland and trashing largely black businesses because what does that accomplish.

Obviously, it effectively accomplishes said news story! This wouldn't be A1 on the NYT homepage with just a peaceful protest. For what it's worth, trashing cars and businesses is indispensable to bringing attention to the issue.

Just so.

Proposed entry for Corporate Media Styleguide:

When considering newsworthiness of a story, there are two primary factors to keep in mind. Both contribute decisively to newsworthiness:

1) The "Who": The powerlessness of the primary agents in the story.

2) The "What": The harm inflicted on relatively more powerful agents in the story.

Example 1:

An armed state agent commits an extrajudicial killing of an unarmed, unpropertied citizen, investigation and prosecution are delayed beyond norms without explanation.

Primary agent of story: More powerful than victim
Harm inflicted: Loss of life, orphaned child
Newsworthiness Level: Low

NOTE: Examples such as above are tricky. In light of the extreme and irrevocable nature of the harm (What), one may be inclined to rate newsworthiness as high. Such a decision would be premature and in this case inaccurate. Remember: both factors (Who & What) are decisive.

Example 2:

Unarmed, unpropertied citizens vandalize and destroy local businesses and government property in response to provocation.

Primary agent of story: Less powerful than victim
Harm inflicted: Property destruction of insured objects
Newsworthiness Level: High

Example 3:

As a result of a primary objective of capital accumulation and related factors (see Appendix A: Propaganda Model), media system fails to adequately inform citizenry of gross human-rights violations by its own government or provide proper context for spectacle of citizen violence.

Primary agent of story: much more powerful than victim
Harm inflicted: debased culture, crimes committed with impunity, chronic intellectual and moral corruption, pervasive injustice, high level of inequality, high level of factionalism and social conflict, generalized sensation of fear/anxiety/paranoia, loss of freedom and humanity for all members of society
Newsworthiness Level: Nonexistent


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