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Mister Pulitzer and the SpiderModern News from Realism to the Digital$
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Kevin G. Barnhurst

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040184

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040184.001.0001

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Broadcast News Became Less Episodic

Broadcast News Became Less Episodic

(p.181) Chapter 17 Broadcast News Became Less Episodic
Mister Pulitzer and the Spider

Kevin G. Barnhurst

University of Illinois Press

This chapter considers the provision of context and analysis in television news. Americans have tended to be realist, viewing problems as “concrete rather than abstract” and are relying more on television for news, which simplifies “complex issues to the level of anecdotal evidence.” However, episodic newscasts may lead audiences to ignore the modern big picture of social conditions and public policy behind problems. For a century the U.S. population has scored poorly on standard memory tests of political knowledge. An uninformed audience may need more explanations, but did the interpretive turn fail to spread to television as critics suggest? It is shown that television news adopted the wider modern perspectives that critics demanded. Since the 1960s, newscasters have expanded interpretation on national evening news. After beating newspapers to the newest stories, network newscasts themselves began shifting into modern interpretive styles instead of sticking with realist, episodic coverage.

Keywords:   television news, news reporting, broadcast news, episodic newscasts, network newscasts

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