The Media And Claims

The Media And Claims

  • Chapter 5 – The Media and Claims

    Essay Questions.

    Instructions:  Answer the following question below.


    A.  You are an activist who wants to draw media attention to your claim. Name at least five things suggested in your text that you could do to make your claims appealing to the media.


    B.  Describe at least three ways that recent changes in the news media have altered the claimsmaking process.



    ■ Media processes that affect the claimsmaking process

    ■ News work and constraints on coverage of claims

    ■ Omnipresent deadlines, while they can vary depending on kind of media, necessitate

    tough decisions about what claims are discussed

    ■ The newshole exists because each kind of media has limited amount of space; e.g., a

    thirty-minute national news program has about twenty-two minutes of program time (the

    rest is advertising), and not all of that time is spent on hard news

    ■ The norm is that interesting stories are more likely to be aired/written than less interesting

    ones (novelty)

    ■ Different intended audiences shape what media workers construct as newsworthy

    ■ Balance as a professional norm means frequently media show two sides (but only two),

    and sometimes one if news workers feel there is relative consensus of opinion

    ■ Geography of the media means events in New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington,

    D.C., are more likely to be covered by media due to the greater number of available news

    workers in those cities and the perception that those cities are centers of political and

    cultural importance in the United States

    ■ Media as secondary claimsmakers

    ■ What claimsmakers need to know to acquire media attention

    ■ Package claims in ways that help media to do their jobs and parallel their constraints

    ■ Give media advanced notice of claimsmaking events

    ■ Choose interesting individuals to represent the social movement

    ■ Make events visually interesting (at least for television media coverage)

    ■ Seek out, if possible, media that is narrowcasting toward the audiences claimsmakers are

    seeking to persuade

    ■ News media are not a static entity, but change over time

    ■ Growth of cable channels, especially twenty-four-hour cable news networks which must fill

    their newshole on a daily basis

    ■ Much of the media have transitioned from broadcasting to narrowcasting to targeted

    audiences (audience segmentation)

    ■ Internet’s unlimited carrying capacity for claims

    ■ On one hand, this is wonderful for claimsmakers, who can sometimes bypass the media



    and reach out directly to intended audiences

    ■ On the other hand, the Internet is unfiltered, so many claims can make it hard for

    audiences to sift and sort claims they encounter

    ■ Packaging social problems in the news

    ■ Seek out ownership of the social problems, so that claimsmakers are the presumptive

    people for the media to go to when covering the social problem

    ■ Offer typifying examples which can become landmark narratives, so synonymous with the

    social problem that they enter into the popular wisdom of the society

    ■ Create media-accessible packages for news workers to use

    ■ Package: familiar, hopefully coherent story (e.g., contains cause of the problem, villain,

    victim who has been greatly harmed, as well as proposed solution) that has a frame that

    is familiar to intended audience

    ■ Use condensing symbols which harken back to the social problem and are familiar to

    most in the society

    ■ Impact of the media on social problems process

    ■ Remember though, media are not the sole influence on the success or failure of a

    claimsmaking campaign

    ■ Media are frequently effective as agenda-setters, bringing an issue to public attention

    ■ Even here, there are constraints on media influence

    ■ Some events require coverage, no matter what other events might be on the agenda

    ■ Claimsmaking is covered when media feel the issue is newsworthy

    ■ Media constraints mean they must sift and sort through many claims to lift up only a

    few for public attention

    ■ The agenda-setting function, however, can be enormously influential on the social

    problems process, for both general public and policymakers may feel issues that make

    the media’s agenda are worthy of action

    ■ Media increasingly receive feedback from general and targeted audiences, especially with

    the availability of new technologies such as e-mail, and they often feel responsible to

    respond to it

    ■ Case study: Democratizing the Means of Media Production and Reproduction


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