1. Is there a "Fox effect" in television news reporting?
The opening vignette to this chapter spoke of the "Fox effect" in reporting national and world news, which introduced more colorful commentary in news coverage and commentary with a conservative rather than liberal perspective. The rival MSNBC network copied Fox's approach, while the broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) resisted. See whether you can determine any difference between the Fox treatment of a news story and its treatment by one of the broadcast stations.
Go to Fox News at http://www.foxnews.com/and then choose the web site for any other major commercial network: ABC World News Tonight at http://abcnews.go.com/,
CBS World News at http://www.cbsnews.com/,
or NBC Nightly News at http://www.nbc.com/News_&_Sports/. Pick a fairly important story about political news that interests you and compare its coverage by the broadcast channel and by Fox News.
Do you see "more colorful commentary" or a more "conservative" perspective in the Fox coverage compared with the broadcast channel? If so, cite examples to illustrate. On the basis of your investigation, however limited, do you think that Fox covers the news any differently from the broadcast networks? Write a short report of your study, being sure to identify the network that you chose to compare with Fox, the news story you selected, and the date.
2. What's "news" to the nation's largest newspapers?
The two newspapers with the highest circulation in the nation (each sells about 2 million copies) are USA Today and the Wall Street Journal. What do these two national papers of approximately equal size regard as the "news" of the day on the same day?
On the same day (and the same time of day) go to the web sites of USA Today http://www.usatoday.com/ and the Wall Street Journal.
The online edition of the Journal is available only to subscribers, but you can get a free trial subscription at https://users1.wsj.com/registration/do/optimost/stage1Limiting your study to only the lead story and the "Top Headlines" for USA Today and to the listing "What's News" for the Wall Street Journal, compile parallel lists of the headlines in each paper for the day. Arrange the entries so that stories on the same topic are on the same line.
Analyze the news content in the two listings. To what extent do you think these national newspapers are rivals and to what extent do they appeal to different markets? Write a short report on what's "news" to the nation's largest newspapers, being sure to include the parallel list of headlines and state the date and times when you accessed the web sites.