- News broadcasting
Journalism News · Writing style
Ethics · Objectivity
Values · Attribution
Areas Arts · Business
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Weather · World
Genres Advocacy · Analytic · Broadcast
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Online · Opinion
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Social impact Fourth Estate
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News media Newspapers · Magazines
TV and radio
Roles Journalists (reporters)
Editor · Columnist
News broadcasting is the broadcasting of various news events and other information via television, radio or internet in the field of broadcast journalism. The content is usually either produced locally in a radio studio or television studio newsroom, or by a broadcast network. It may also include additional material such as sports coverage, weather forecasts, traffic reports, commentary and other material that the broadcaster feels is relevant to their audience.
Television news refers to disseminating current events via the medium of television. A "news bulletin" or a "newscast" are television programs lasting from seconds to hours that provide updates on world, national, regional or local news events. Television news is very image-based, showing video of many of the events that are reported. Television channels may provide news bulletins as part of a regularly scheduled news program. Less often, television shows may be interrupted or replaced by breaking news ("news flashes") to provide news updates on current events of great importance or sudden events of great importance.
Radio news is the same as television news but is transmitted through the medium of the radio. It is more based on the audio aspect rather than the visual aspect. Sound bites are captured through various reporters and played back through the radio. News updates occur more often on the radio than on the television - usually about once or twice an hour.
Structure, content and style
Newscasts, also known as bulletins or news programs, will differ in content, tone and presentation style depending on the format of the channel on which they appear, and their timeslot. In most parts of the world, national television networks will have network bulletins featuring national and international news. The top rating shows will often be in the evening at 'prime time', but there are also often breakfast time newscasts of two to three hours in length. Rolling news channels broadcast news 24 hours a day. Many video and audio news reports presented on the Internet are updated 24 hours a day. Local news may be presented by stand-alone local TV stations, local stations affiliated to national networks or by local studios which 'opt-out' of national network programming at specified points. Different news programming may be aimed at different audiences, depending on age, socio-economic group or those from particular sections of society. 'Magazine-style' television shows may mix news coverage with topical lifestyle issues, debates or entertainment content.
Newscasts consist of several different elements, introduced by a news presenter or presenters. The presenters read 'links' and do interviews. Most news stories come in the form of short 'packages' or live reports. Packages are pre-recorded reports usually lasting from one to five minutes. News reporters gather and edit together interview clips, pictures and their own 'pieces to camera' to tell a story. They script and record a 'voice-over' to explain the pictures and link the elements together. Live reports may be delivered from the news studio or from a relevant location. These may be in the form of a reporter being interviewed by an anchor, known as a 'two-way', or by a guest involved in or offering analysis on the story being interviewed by a reporter or anchor. There may also be breaking news stories which will present live rolling coverage.
Packages will usually be filmed at a relevant location and edited in an editing suite in a newsroom or a remote contribution edit suite in a location some distance from the newsroom. They may also be edited in mobile editing trucks, or satellite trucks, and transmitted back to the newsroom. Live coverage will be broadcast from a relevant location and sent back to the newsroom via fixed cable links, microwave radio, production truck, satellite truck or via online streaming. Roles associated with television news include a technical director, floor director audio technician and a television crew of operators running character graphics (CG), teleprompters and professional video cameras. Most news shows are broadcast live.
Radio station newscasts can range from as little as a minute to as much as the station's entire schedule, such as the case of all-news radio, or talk radio. Stations dedicated to news or talk will often feature newscasts, or bulletins, usually at the top of the hour, usually between 3 and 8 minutes in length. They can be a mix of local, national and international news, as well as sport, entertainment, weather and traffic, or they may be incorporated into separate bulletins. There may also be shorter bulletins at the bottom of the hour, or three at fifteen minute intervals, or two at twenty minute intervals.
Local TV news stations normally broadcast 3-4 times a day: 4:30, 5:00 and 6:00 in the morning; noon; 5:00 and 6:00 in the evening; and 10:00 or 11:00 at night. Some stations carry newscasts at 4:00, 4:30, 7:00, 8:00, 9:00, 11:00 or 11:30 in the morning, 4:00 or 4:30 in the afternoon, or 5:30 and 6:30 in the evening. Many Fox affiliates, affiliates of minor networks (such as The CW and MyNetworkTV) and independent stations air newscasts in the final hour of primetime (i.e., 10:00 p.m. in the Eastern and Pacific time zones or 9:00 p.m. in the Mountain and Central time zones in the U.S.). Many stations title their newscasts with catchy names like "Daybreak," "Good Morning (insert city or region here)," "First at Four," "Live at Five," "Eleven @ 11:00," or "Nightcast." These names are intended to set one station apart from the rest, especially for viewers who are chosen for audience measurement surveys. If the respondent was unable to provide a channel number or call letters, the newscast title is often enough for the appropriate station to receive Nielsen ratings credit.
- More often, AM stations will air a 6½ minute newscast on the top of the hour, which can be either a local report, a national report from a radio network such as CBS Radio, CNN Radio, Fox News Radio or ABC Radio, or a mix of both local and national content, including weather and traffic reports. Some stations also air a two minute report at the bottom of the hour.
- FM stations, unless they feature a talk radio format, usually only air minute-long news capsules featuring a quick review of events and an abbreviated weather forecast, and usually only in drive time periods or in critical emergencies, since FM stations usually focus more on playing music. Traffic reports also air on FM stations, depending on the market.
24 hour news channels are devoted to current events 24-hours per day. They are often referred to as cable news channels. The originator of this format from which the name derives is CNN (as well as CNN International, CNN en Español and CNN-IBN), which originally stood for Cable News Network in reference to the then-new phenomenon of cable television. As satellite and other forms have evolved, the term cable news has become something of an anachronism but is still in common use; many other television channels have since been established, such as BBC World News, BBC News, Sky News, Al Jazeera, ABC News 24, France 24, STAR News, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, Press TV, Russia Today, teleSUR and ABC News Now. Some news channels specialize even further, such as ESPNews (sports from ESPN); The Weather Channel (weather); CNBC, Bloomberg Television and Fox Business Network (financial).
A term which has entered common parlance to differentiate cable news from traditional news broadcasts is network news, in reference to the traditional television networks on which such broadcasts air. A classic example is the cable news channel MSNBC, which overlaps with (and, in the case of breaking world-changing events, pre-empts) its network counterpart NBC News.
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