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How Formal and in - Formal News Channels Represent the News.

Ruby Rogers 7 th December 2014 Helen Curston

Television Production



Contents Page.

Introduction ………………………

Main Body ……………………………………………………… … … … … … … … . Page 3 - 7

Conclusion … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … . Page 7 Bibliography … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … . Page 8

Illustrations … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … …



Page 8


How formal and informal news channels represent the news.

This essay will look at the informal and formal differences in the BBC News at 6

and News round at on the 3 rd December. It will discuss how each news channels

identity and how their presented in terms of clothing and how fast paced the

announcements are. It will also look at the use of contributors and experts in the

shows discussing if informal and formal programmes both choose to talk to

experts or general citizens. The essay will also look at theorists such as Fred

Seibert and his ideas of Elitism – discussing that the public are more interested

in the news if it affects someone of a higher class, this also brings the essay on to

discuss the Hypodermic Needle Theory – a theory which argues the mass media

influence the audience and could probably make us believe whatever they want

to a certain extent.

BBC News and News round convey two completely different styles of news. BBC

focuses on being very formal with the way they present the news – using backed

up sources and experts to interview and dramatizing the news. However, News

round is very dumbed down as it is aimed at a younger audience. News round

even in terviews children as their main source of interviewee’s and has a more

laid back approach to the news.

When watching the two news programmes, they

both have different identities completely. BBC News

is extremely formal; the presenter has neatly styled

hair and wears a navy blazer with trousers and a

white top underneath. She is extremely well

spoken with her words and talks at a slow pace.

However, in News round the identity and style is

very different. The presenter is dressed in a plain t-

shirt, baggy jeans and grey plimsoll shoes. The

presenter talks very fast and casual and the

general speed of the show is quite fast paced, the

stories are each very short and the programme

paced, the stories are each very short and the programme Fig. 1 BBC News Presenter (2013)

Fig. 1 BBC News Presenter


stories are each very short and the programme Fig. 1 BBC News Presenter (2013) Fig. 2

Fig. 2 Newsround Presenters



seems to talk through the stories very quick which can be distracting as an

a udience.

Viewing the two news channel agendas for the day I found that the only story

they had in common was that 2014 is the hottest year in England. The rest of the

agendas for the day were completely different and show ing they each had

different priorities. BBC’s agenda starts with discussing the government, then

about a new mother who’s vanished with her baby, 2014 being the hottest year,

and then they end with the sports. The news rounds agenda starts with children

using social media, a space rocket , 2014 being the hottest year, a baby snake

being found, a new bridge being built across London and a YouTube stars first

book. Both agendas show the style of their news channels and proves that BBC is

much more formal with News round has took a more casua l, informal approach

as it caters for the younger generation, therefor priorities stories they think the

audience will enjoy.

The media have a huge influence on views and attitudes of the audience as they

are easily ma nipulated into believing what media tells us. This is because the

media is higher up than the audience, which makes us tend to believe them more.

According to Fred Seibert,

'’ The press is obliged to be responsible to society for carrying out certain

essential functions of mass communicat ion in contemporary society'' (1) ( Fred,


Seibert is basically telling the media that they are responsible for telling the

audience what they ‘need to know’ – therefore they must make sure all facts and

figures are correct as they are talking to a mass amount of society. I f they were to

get facts wrong – they would be giving out false information to the public which

could cause a moral panic if they dramatized something too much or stated an

opinion as a fact. The BBC is much more strict with this policy as when watching

the news programme I found that they back up

their facts and opinions with quotes and videos

from chancellors and people of public interest.

On the image to the right , I found that in the

BBC news they also make sure they write on

the image to the right , I found that in the BBC news they also make

Fig. 3 BBC News Figures



their facts and figures graphics the date that it was found and the source at the bottom so that the audience won’t get confused and misunderstand what the media is telling them. However, when watching News round, the video proved that their sources are qu ite unreliable, they interviewed children in their programme which made the whole story become quite unrealistic and formal, seeming like much more of a joke news as it’s not serious and a proper source of information. Another idea of the media being extremely influential is the Hypodermic Needle Theory. Steven J. Kirsh said, 'Media is like a hypodermic needle injecting its messages into consumers' (2) (Steven, 2010:26) Kirsh is explaining the idea that as we are extremely consumed by the media and believe what they tell us, if the news is biased in any way towards one side of a story – the audience believe the messages they tell us therefore we could begin to think a certain way if the news is one sided .

The BBC is fair when presenting stories and lets b oth parties give their opinions with out getting involved at all. For example when watching the BBC news a story they discussed was George Osborne from the government conservative party cutting stamp duties for homeowners. The presenter let George give his autumn statement and discuss what he plans to do. The presenter then discussed how ‘’labour accuse him of breaking a promise’’, then allowing a man from labour to speak. This shows that the BBC is being non - biased letting both sides talk. The reason the BBC chose to interview and include the chancellors is because the programme is formal and they need to make sure they have either direct sources of information, or reliable people to interview, or the information becomes less important and could easily be ma nipulated by the public to think they are saying something else.

However, when watching News round it seems the programme actually can be quite biased. Their main story is about children under 13 using social media sites in schools, stating that the teachers think it’s disrupting and shouldn’t be used. New s rounds sources are also unreliable as the website they sourced and quoted


was called, not exactly an expert source or an actual person to ask. They also interviewed children and didn’t e ven leave room for parents of the children to say if their children are using the site responsibly or letting them at least have a say whether they knew the kids where using the site . Although the reason to interview children is because there site is for y oung kids – it makes the programme seem unreliable and could push audiences to believe certain things instead of having a non biased view. A good point however in this story is towards the end they did use a social media expert as a source but he didn’t give too much factual information.

Making news can be very difficult, it must be factual and correct, yet still be entertaining for the audiences. If the news isn’t entertaining enough, audiences will switch off and become uninterested. Editors try finding ‘what’s in it for me’ for the audiences so that if something affects them, they are more inclined to want to watch the news and stay tuned it. Galtung and R uge believe that to make the news there are four factors that the news should consider. Two of them are, ‘’The more the event concerns elite people, the more probable that it will become a news item'' (3) ( Galtung, 1965:46) An elite nation is someone that is of high important or superior. Galtung and Ruge believe that if the news story effects or concerns someone of an elite nation or people in the public (what’s in it for me) the news item will become a news story, as it’s interesting for the audience. An example of this is when the Royal baby was born, as it inv olves someone of high importance, the media k new that the audience would be inter ested in watching. Another example is on the BBC news, the presenter said at the end of a story, ‘well find out what…will mean for all of us’’. Saying ‘what’s it in for us’ brings the presenter down to a more ‘humane’ level, allowing the audience to see her as less powerful as she is using the term ‘us’. It also will encourage the audience to stay tuned in as they could wonder, ‘what is in it for me?

Throughout BBC news, the presenter is used only in the studios, she doesn’t talk directly to other reporters or interview anyone herself, she just gives out a lot of information all the way through. This makes her seem less important as she acts


like the man in the middle. However, on News round, the presenter acts as an anchor- man as he presents and coordinates with other contributors and also reports on location as well as the studio – making him seem more informative in the show.

Looking at the two news channels, it can be proven that the identities of the channels and the formal or non- formal approach can extremely change the way the audience view the news. News round discusses stories with a more casual approach, making the audience read it differently and could take a biased view away. However, the BBC makes sure tha t they aren’t biased at all; letting both parties get their say. News round uses the same presenter all the way through, creating a less formal approach yet, the BBC uses a lot of different presenters and experts reporting on location to show the news show have done a lot of research into the subjects they discuss.


Bibliography . Seibert, Fred (1963) Four Theories of The P ress. United States of America: The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. Kirsh J. Steven (2010) Media and Youth: A D evelopme ntal Perspective . India: SPi Publisher Services. Clausen Lisbeth (2003) Global News P roduction . Copenhagen Business School Press.


Figure 1. BBC News Presenter (2013) [Screen Shot] At:,_ne

w_look_19_March_2013.jpg (Accessed on 04:12:14) Figure 2. Newsround Team (2013) [Photograph] At:


.JPG (Accessed on 07:12:14) Figure 3. BBC news statistics (2013) [ Screenshot] (Accessed on 07:12:14)