Today even the war and conflict coverage of 24-hour news networks is subject to heavy promotion and part of the networks’ advertising and branding campaigns. These commercial aspects of news production, however, seem to oppose concepts of journalistic quality. This study analyses claims of journalistic quality and ‘high concept’ in conflict coverage promotion spots and how they are linked to better understand the ideological complexes of CNN International and Al Jazeera English. The findings show an equal number of quality and ‘high concept’ claims with differences in the nature of the claims between the two networks. Strong patterns are found in quality and ‘high concept’ claims of both 24-hour television news networks. The largest number appears in the visual mode. The research also shows that analysing this kind of media text needs to be multimodal and that a social semiotic approach is appropriate for analysing claims-making and linking in conflict coverage promotional spots.
Chapter 2: 24-hour News:
While I will introduce the two relevant 24-hour news channels below, the conflicts taken into consideration for this study will not get special attention for two reasons: first, the Arab uprisings including Egypt and the intervention in Libya are rather recent events with a lot of international media attention and therefore widely known, and second, it is not the conflicts that are under scrutiny here, but the promotion of their television news coverage. A basic understanding of the two broadcasters, however, might facilitate grasping their choice of self-promotion, their set of values.
2.1 CNN International:
The 24-hour Cable News Network (CNN) is available to approximately 2 billion people in more than 200 countries around the world. In the initial stages after ist launch in 1980, however, the news channel could merely reach 1.7 million homes within the United States (Cushion, 2010, p.16). After expanding ist domestic reach in the early 1980s, CNNs founder, Ted Turner, decided to combine the signals of the two original channels, CNN and Headline News in 1985. CNN started broadcasting on satellite to a worldwide audience and CNN International (CNNi) was born. (Cushion, 2010, p.18; Flournoy & Stewart, 1997, p.3)
According to Flournoy and Stewart ‘CNN’ built much of ist reputation as a credible source for international news on the basis of ist on-the-spot reporting from such locales as Tiananmen Square in Beijing in May 1989, Baghdad under siege in January 1991, and the Parliament Building in Moscow in August 1991 (1997, p.7). Here, especially the case of Iraq is interesting, as CNN managed to produce exclusive, live images of the early stages of the conflict, putting not just the station, but 24-hour news as a whole, into the global limelight. This was possible because ‘CNN journalists had built up diplomatic ties with the Iraqi regime’ (Cushion, 2010, p.18-19). Today, Turner Broadcasting claims CNN to be one of the world’s most recognized brands, a long way from being dubbed the ‘Chicken Noodle News” as in ist early years.
At CNN, there is a great awareness that information is a commodity and news a business, with television’s purpose being the delivery of news (Küng-Shankleman, 2000, p.156). A CNN mission statement quoted by Küng-Shankleman (2000) further elaborates this: ‘Our mission is to cover the biggest stories in the globe, in a way that people want to watch them.’ (p.155) CNN’s style is fast, immediate, entertaining and live (p.151-153). But in today’s world, with CNN standing amongst a multitude of 24-hour news channels from around the world, it has to ‘operate in a very crowded and highly competitive marketplace” (Cushion, 2010, p.23). As a result, CNN regionalised ist programming in 1997, creating separate feeds for different regions and several local-language as well as online services .
CNN is part of the Turner Broadcasting system, which, in turn is a subsidiary of Time Warner Incorporated, a publicly traded media conglomerate and one of the world’s largest. Institutional shareholders include some of the largest financial institutions including JPMorgan Chase and asset management funds such as Wellington Management . This suggests that the commercial network not only faces influence, possibly including editorial pressure, from advertisers, but more indirectly also from shareholders.
CNN is not an organisation which places great emphasis on producing public statements of ist strategies, goals and philosophies, preferring to leave such activities to ist parent. In fact, the most succinct and accessible source of such information is ist oft-repeated programme trailers.” (Küng-Shankleman, 2000, p.117) Therefore, analysing the claims in image and promo spots can lead to insights into the broadcaster’s mission and strategy, into parts of their organisational values.
Christian Veits was born in Austria in 1984 and has studied media management in Germany, Chinese language in China, and journalism in Denmark and the United Kingdom.
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- Artikel-Nr.: SW9783954897001
- Artikelnummer SW9783954897001
- Wasserzeichen ja
- Verlag Anchor Academic Publishing
- Seitenzahl 93
- Veröffentlichung 01.02.2014
- ISBN 9783954897001