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News Flash: Journalism, Infotainment and the Bottom-Line Business of Broadcast News



News Flash: Journalism, Infotainment and the Bottom-Line Business of Broadcast News

Bonnie Anderson

ISBN: 978-0-470-40177-4 June 2004 Jossey-Bass 288 Pages


While talking heads debate the media's alleged conservative or liberal bias, award-winning journalist Bonnie Anderson knows that the problem with television news isn't about the Left versus the Right--it's all about the money. From illegal hiring practices to ethnocentric coverage to political cheerleading, News Flash exposes how American broadcast conglomerates' pursuit of the almighty dollar consistently trumps the need for fair and objective reporting. Along the way to the bottomline, the proud tradition of American television journalism has given way to an entertainment-driven industry that's losing credibility and viewers by the day.

As someone who has worked as both a broadcast reporter and a network executive, Anderson details how the networks have been co-opted by bottom-line thinking that places more value on a telegenic face than on substantive reporting. Network executives—the real power in broadcast journalism—are increasingly employing tactics and strategies from the entertainment industry. They "cast" reporters based on their ability to "project credibility," value youth over training and experience, and often greenlight coverage only if they can be assured that it will appeal to advertiser-friendly demographics.

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xix

1 The Rise of the Corporate News Networks 1

2 What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You 25

3 This Is Good Business? 41

4 The Good 73

5 The Bad 95

6 And the Ugly 115

7 All Profits, All the Time 149

8 We Report, We Decide 187

9 Strange Bedfellows 201

Conclusion: Rx for TV Journalism 225

Notes 237

The Author 249

Name Index 251

Subject Index 257