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1 Sensationalism (Spectacularization) of political news in Mexican, American, and Canadian TV news shows José Carlos Lozano Tecnológico de Monterrey at.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Sensationalism (Spectacularization) of political news in Mexican, American, and Canadian TV news shows José Carlos Lozano Tecnológico de Monterrey at."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Sensationalism (Spectacularization) of political news in Mexican, American, and Canadian TV news shows José Carlos Lozano Tecnológico de Monterrey at Monterrey, México

2 2 Contemporary news programs, sensationalism, and infotainment Spectacularization: use of resources of content and form which are directed towards emotions and senses instead of reason. Anchors and reporters editorialize (make personal comments), adopt obtrusive tones of voice (high and fast style), with dramatic emphasis. Emphasis is in the immediate, provoking a lack of contextualization. Information is packaged with visual effects, like eyewitness camera viewpoint, dramatic music, fast editing, slow motion shots, sound effects and design and edition resources, all used extensively in TV fiction and films.

3 3 infotainment Objective: to attract audiences usually not interested in watching television news, and to reinforce the interest of those previously interested. News are transformed in entertainment, they are trivialized, presented as dramatic pieces, funny or sensationalistic. Instead of addressing TV viewers as citizens, it address them as consumers and rating points

4 4 Why should we worry? In contemporary societies, consuming news messages is a necessary condition for the political, economic, and cultural participation of individuals at all levels: local, national, and international Jensen: news remain in the audience as parte of its perception of the world, and can be transformed in a resource for action beyond the immediate context of its exposure to the TV screen

5 5 Objective Analysis of the transformations of TV news in Canada, the United States, and Mexico due to: Globalization Liberalization Competition To determine the degree of spectacularization present in news stories transmitted in the news shows with more rating in these three countries, both in content and structure

6 6 Method Content analysis: two weeks of all news stories (except sports) transmitted in the newscasts with the highest rating in Canada, the US and Mexico. The National (CBC, Canada) NBC Nightly News (NBC, USA) Noticiero Televisa (Televisa, Mexico) Noticiero Hechos (TV Azteca, Mexico) Soon: Teletrece and 24 Horas of Chile

7 7 Personalization & dramatization: accent in the individual, struggle among public personalities, emphasis in celebrities and individual characteristics. (Gringas, 1998)

8 8 Dramatization & personalization

9 9 Fragmentation Facts and events in soundbytes according to the fast rythm demanded by audiovisual media, without offering information about the complexity of different positions about each topic.

10 10 Fragmentation

11 11 Tendency of the news story 1) Was the news story presented in an objective, neutral way, with no personal comments by anchors or reporters, with no dramatic phrases or references, with no adjectives?

12 12 Tendency

13 13 Contextualization Degree in which the news story provided background, contrasting points of view, historical facts of the topic in question, implications about the future, previous information and data or just information about the immediate event.

14 14 Contextualization

15 15 Type of information

16 16 Journalistic role

17 17 Audiovisual packaging Formal aspects like graphic design or editing techniques contribute to what can be considered sensationalism: Video manouvers: camara movements. They influence or modify the recording of the news event Decorative effects: resources to get the attention of viewers not included in the original recording of the event (postproduction) (Maria Elizabeth Grabe, Shuhua Zhou y Brooke Barnett, 2001)

18 18 Special effects

19 19 Duration of shots in news stories

20 20 Discussion More than 70% of Mexicans rely on TV for political information infotainment and spectacularization may be useful to widen exposure to news programs by viewers who were not interested in news before. Boredom and distrut of politicians have made audience members indifferent towards politics.

21 21 Popularity of fiction & entertainment Using structures and resources from fiction and entertainment may be the only way to attract viewers more interested in movies and series than in politics In Mexico, local and national news are among the TV programs with the highest ratings, along with telenovelas

22 22 Negative aspects However, sensationalim does not provides sound information of fundamental aspects for the formation of public opinion and decision making by citizens. Absence of news stories focused on processes, on structure, contextualized, balanced.

23 23 Implications Personalization and dramatization in Mexico may account in part for the revival of the PRI, which despite staying 70 years in power, is making a strong comeback in Mexico due to the absence of contextual and structural elements in the political coverage, and the focus on good and bad politicians

24 24 Voters are not that passive Audience research in communication studies in the last 20 years coincide in asserting that media audiences are active and that they react to contents according to their social and cultural mediations, gender, age, social class, education, and so on.

25 25 Voters are distrustful of news A survey in the three largest cities in Mexico in 1999 found that almost all viewers, regardless of social class, gender, and age, were highly distrustful of TV news programs and anchors, despite news programs being highly watched by them

26 26 Personalization vs. voting decision Personalization and dramatization of political news in Mexico have made Vicente Fox a president with high levels of popularity at the personal level, but that was not reflected in the mid-term elections, were the PAN lost some governorships and many local elections

27 27 Quick decline in excessive spectacularization In the presidential election of 2000 in Mexico, an excess of spectacularization and political marketing worked well for the triumph of Vicente Fox In the mid-term elections of 2003, this approach didn´t work for the most aggressive candidates; voters wanted a less strident and less negative use of media and political marketing. Audiences learnt fast.

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