Media scholars David Weaver and G. Cleveland Wilhoit (page 45 in your course text) have defined three basic journalistic role conceptions:
These are not mutually exclusive categories. There is overlap and depending on the story and context, the journalist’s role changes.
Watch the clip below.
Warning: It is live uncut news footage from 6 different news stations which aired the morning of 9/11.
Note: The three roles Weaver and Wilhoit identified are norms, not studied when a crisis is not in progress.
Because I want you to post your original thoughts and impressions, you won’t be able to see what other classmates have written until you post your first comment. Keep in mind that this is not about giving the “right answer.”
You may be tempted to remember the first time you saw this and how you felt. Try to also begin to look at what the journalists are doing and saying from a more analytical point of view.
- Notice and label when and if journalists are playing the role of interpreter, disseminator of information and/or adversary.
- See if you can identify the behaviors, read “between the lines” to get a sense of what they are going through trying to do their jobs, falling back on their routine roles. Note when the journalists switch from reporting facts to speculating and back again.
- Try to imagine while you are watching the behind the scenes commotion – news producer trying to find someone near the scene to report what’s happening.
- Is the emphasis on accuracy or speed or both?
- What inferences do you draw from the fact that some stations broke away from their regular schedule sooner than other stations?
Make your initial post by 11:59 PM Thursday and reply to at least two classmates by 11:59 PM Sunday.
PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU ARE NOT BEING ASKED TO GO OUT ON THE INTERNET AND FIND INFORMATION TO SUPPORT YOUR THINKING. YOU ARE BEING ASKED TO CONSIDER THE MATERIALS PROVIDED IN THE DISCUSSION, THINK FOR YOURSELVES, POST YOUR OWN THOUGHTS, AND CONVERSE WITH YOUR PROFESSOR AND CLASS PEERS.
ULOs Reflected In Discussion
Explain the roles media play in terrorist acts.