Monthly Archives: August 2011
[Clickworthy] Before you send out your press release, remove the part about manipulating your audience
Who says newsrooms ignore press releases? Jon Ralston of the Las Vegas Sun couldn’t help but notice the latest memo from Nevada Democratic congressional candidate Kate Marshall, which didn’t stop at declaring her support for Israel in the wake of recent violence in Gaza. The political strategy behind the statement was inadvertently included as the final paragraph of the release, subtitled “background.”
Israel has been in the news lately, and will be even more in the news with Beck’s ‘Rally to Restore Courage’ in Jerusalem. In an R district, it will be useful to express support for Israel and demonstrate some foreign policy prowess while it is a timely topic – especially for people who are likely paying attention to Beck’s event.
Of course, the whole idea of any press release is to execute a particular strategy – to respond to threats or, in Marshall’s case, take advantage of opportunities. The public knows, to a certain extent, that they are being played, but that doesn’t mean they will respond well to seeing it out there at face value. Conservative blog Human Events deemed the release “The Kate Marshall Campaign Suicide Note.”
It will be interesting to see how Marshall’s campaign chooses to respond to the gaffe. I found nothing on her campaign website – not even the original release with the strategical information removed. Will silence be the tactic, or will she face media scrutiny head on? We will try to follow up here.
See something you think is Clickworthy? Email Dylan.
The media go to humorous extents seemingly to pretend that Ron Paul doesn’t exist, Daily Show host Jon Stewart observed on Monday night, following Paul’s second-place finish in the Ames, Iowa Straw Poll last weekend. The clip has been buzzworthy in circles of political junkies, media observers, and young citizenry looking for the next revolution. As a member of all three, it has appeared on my Facebook feed constantly for the past three days.
Thanks to the number crunchers at the PEW Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, we can put the claim to the test.
Perceived Media Bias and Cable News Branding: The Effects of Diversification in the Marketplace of Information
This presentation was given Saturday at the AEJMC Annual Conference as part of a refereed paper research session on “Bias and Branding” sponsored by the Radio-Television Journalism Division. This is a rudimentary script to an oral presentation with visual aids, so it will leave a bit to be desired for the blog reader.
For the PowerPoint accompanying this presentation, email Dylan.
For more on the conference as a whole, view my main post on AEJMC ’11.
Claims of media bias are nothing new. And despite plentiful content analyses that show little to no evidence of some collective attempt to mislead the public, perceptions of bias not only remain, but have increased dramatically over the past decade, a time frame that correlates with the rise of Fox News and MSNBC – cable news networks to compete with CNN and create a competitive marketplace.
Researchers like Sutter or Anand, DiTella, and Galetovic have looked at news coverage economically, and cable news as just what it is – a for-profit industry. That means, like any differentiated product market, the news outlets must seek a place along a continuum of potential audiences. With radio stations, it would be genres of music; with news it could be the types of stories covered (intl/domestic; hard news/entertainment), but we often think of it in terms of political ideology.
The suggestion is that our oft-idealized paradise of objectivity doesn’t make good business sense, because wide-open market segments are left untapped while everyone battles for the middle. If every station in town is playing country music, why don’t you try reaching out to the hip-hop fans? (Ideology isn’t quite so drastic, but you get the idea.)
So instead, content analyses (or a casual channel surf during primetime) have suggested that the cable news environment looks something like this. Each network has differentiated, targeting its own particular audience. Which begs the question… How do these differentiation attempts influence the audience’s perceptions of bias in those networks?
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the psychology of chain emails – or, perhaps more accurately, the senders and receivers of those messages. Now, it’s time to take a look at one of those emails. The most frustrating thing about this one is that the deception could be uncovered by doing the exact Google search suggested in the email!
It provides a perfect example of the simple citing of a source being enough to convince the (albeit receptive) reader that the statement is legitimate. It’s why I always tell my students to follow the path – check the sources cited in research materials. Don’t just take them at their word.
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