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Understanding News by John Hartley

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3  NEWS AND SOCIETY

Well that’s all the news and all the fairy tales tonight.

(Alastair Burnet ‘News at Ten’, 1980)

Topics

You might think that since news is about society, then watching the news will tell you about society. What in fact does the news tell us about? What are its referents? Although news is supposed to be about new, unexpected things, it is quite easy to outline its main preoccupations. They are grouped around and within six major topics.

1.  Politics Defined as government (Whitehall/White House), parliament (Westminster/Capitol Hill) and the policies, personalities and disputes that make up the context of decision-making.

2.  The economy Defined as (a) companies and the City – their performance, their figures and their management; ...

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