Similarities Between Print & Television Media Methods
Disseminating news has come a long way from those days when a newspaper paid paperboys to hawk newspapers on the street corner. Today news is disseminated through many outlets. Two of these are still the news in print form and news through television news shows. While these media methods may seem very different, they share many basic media methods.
Both print and television media use reporters to find stories. Media, both print and television, pay journalists to research stories through checking the Internet, phone calls, interviewing those involved and going to the scene of a breaking story. These reporters are trained to uncover information. With this information and their resources, reporters put together their stories.
These days almost no story is beyond coverage of either print or television media. Both media sources cover whatever story is breaking at any given time. In fact, whichever media disseminates the news first, the other media will quickly pick it up, research more details and also broadcast, through television or print, the story. Both print and television media thrive on stories regarding celebrities, government and politics, war, disaster and crime. Both media also look for inspirational stories.
Both television and print media seek to explain who the story is about, what the story is about, when the story takes place and where the story is happening or has happened. The story seeks to answer the why questions. Why did this happen? Why didn't someone or something, in the case of mechanical failure, stop this from happening? The story also tries to answer the question of how. How did this situation develop?
Both print and television media use the same basic journalistic format to shape their stories. Called the pyramid format, the shape of the story starts with the most pertinent information. Less important information comes next. Print and television media share the least important information of the story toward the end of the story. This format was developed to ensure that even when a story was cut to a shorter length, the critical aspects of the story remained, since a story was always cut from the bottom or the end.
Television media likes to broadcast “teasers” of information to gain the interest of the viewer. These teasers draw attention and, often, add something to the main story to be broadcast. Print media does something similar, but, in print, this extra portion of information is called a sidebar. Along with the main story, a sidebar first draws the eye to an interesting tidbit set off from the main story that adds information to the story. The sidebar stops the reader long enough to gain the reader's interest and, hopefully, to move the reader from the sidebar to the story itself.
People think of television as visually oriented, and it is. But both print and television media incorporate pictures, graphics and illustrations these days to draw the reader into the heart of the story. Both are aware that pictures really do engage the reader in ways print and speech alone do not.
Carolyn Scheidies has been writing professionally since 1994. She writes a column for the “Kearney Hub” and her latest book is “From the Ashes.” She holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, where she has also lectured in the media department.