News is shaped by a number of factors including economic considerations involving costs and profits. Williams (2003) identified other influences including the power of media professionals, organisational factors, including the time and space available and the culture of society. This shows that media professionals are responsible for constructing the content of the news as they decide what is worthy of being reported as news; how decisions are made and who writes reports.
However not everything reported in the new is factual and only the important or sensationalised news e. g. Kate Middleton photographed topless and it went viral. This shows that the public were more interested in seeing naked photos of Kate than other agendas such as starving children in Africa. Journalists who are trained media professionals who report on events and issues for print and broadcast media. This means that people think if news as a window on the world. When deciding what to report journalists use a range of criteria known as values.
This is news that is important to us. News values reflect the belief and attitudes journalist hold some are unconscious this is another way in which media professional are responsible for constructing the news. This shows that the beliefs shape the way news is constructed also influence the ways stories are written. Galtung and Ruge analysed values that were present in stories that reached the top news agenda. However Vestorman (1995) says ‘news is not out there journalist do not report news they construct it they reconstruct reality.
However Harcup and O’Neill who are coming from a Marxist perspective still see a value in Galtung and Ruge’s work but believe that their list must be updated to reflect contemporary trend in the news. Other media professionals such as editors also have a part to play for constructing the content of the news. The editors have the final say of what appears in news reports. Curran and Gurevitch (2005) journalist use self -censorship to please their editors. This means that they will include material that they believe will meet the editors’ approval.
However Sumpter (2000) comments on the editors’ role and suggests that they keep a close eye on the editors’’ role and suggest that they keep a close eye on audience figures and make decisions on what stories to include on the basis of increasing audience size. Journalist and editors are gatekeepers. They have the power to select the content of the news in print and broadcast media. Gatekeeping can be seen as a form of censorship. A similar process involved in selecting the news is agenda-setting. An agenda-setting involves the shaping of a news story focusing on a particular story.
This means that journalist and editors will only focus on the important stories that are interesting. Becker (1998) says that It has been argued that journalist and editors give more value and credibility to the views of society who have a greater status. This means that the views of those lower down the social system maybe be marginalised and denied access e. g. when reporting youth and gun crime journalist often include comments from police officers but not from the young people involved. Schlesinger (1987) refereed to the importance of the news diary in shaping the content of the news.
Most of the news that is reported is recorded in advance in a news diary of forthcoming events such a royal birthdays, the launch of an innovative product or a meeting of heads of state. This means that journalist will organise the schedules around these events and space will be allocated to report them. The process of constructing the news is also affected by economic considerations involving cost and profits. However most organisations involved in the reporting of news are profit-making companies and need to be aware of the costs involved in their work.
Marxist believe that the news is developed to brain wash people. The power and control lie with the ruling class including the state and the owners of the media. However Marxist are criticised for failing to take account of the role of media professionals in constructing the news. Traditional Marxist believe that news is constructed under the control of owners to present capitalism in a favourable light and to prevent the working class from seeing the true inequality that lies at the heart of capitalism.
On the other hand traditional Marxist can be regarded as presenting an overly conspirational view of the role of owners. Thussu (2007) conducted research in Star News owned by Rupert Murdoch he argued that Murdoch seeks to maximise profits by shaping the news agenda to reflect what he believes will attract audiences. This means that Murdoch promotes news that is appealing to audiences which is likely to be celebrity culture, glamour and crime. Pluralist believes that media professionals must ensure that the work they produce attracts viewers, listeners and readers.
They also believe that journalists and editors work autonomously as skilled professionals although they will be aware of their audiences interests and will respond to these when constructing news stories. However critics of this view would argue that the media represent a quite limited range of viewpoints because they are dominated by white middle-aged , middle class media professionals who share broadly the same norms and values which shape their decisions when selecting and constructing news stories.