A comparative textual analysis of two TV news programmes

Media theorist, Stuart Hall, argues that television communicates values and beliefs, not just ‘matters of opinion’ or individual points of view. He sees these communications as messages, which are socially produced and made culturally available as shared explanations of how the world works. In other words, they are ideologies, or explanatory systems of belief. Compare two news programmes in detail, by discussing the following: 1 How often and when is the programme broadcast? While each programme in a group or series is unique, it can also have a significance as a ‘typical’ representation of that group. 2 Who makes the programme? Who owns the channel on which it is shown? Programmes can be seen as commodities, or products which are exchanged. While ITV companies are obviously commercial, Greg Dyke, Director General of the BBC, believes that the BBC has to compete in the ratings battle in order for it to retain the licence fee. 3 Produce a content analysis. List the content and the order of the items. 4 Analyse the mode of address. How is the audience positioned? How does the programme speak to its viewers? Can you identify the programme’s target audience/s? 5 Identify the forms of presentation. Note the format of the programme, the camera conventions, and the mise en scène, including the studio setting, the lighting, and the placing of the presenters. 6 Note the points of identification.

These can be established by direct address to camera, use of the personal pronoun, and other strategies, which invite or engage the viewer to go along with the values of the programme. 7 What are the preferred readings? Can you identify preferred readings which are offered to the audience as commonly shared ideas and opinions? Stuart Hall argues that these views of the world tend towards the reproduction of the status quo. Does your analysis support this view?

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