So is this Television News?…

After watching Control Room documentary, do you think Al-Jazeera’s style of reporting the news is the way television news should be?  Do you believe that our news channels have gone soft in covering hard news?

And, the bigger question today, do you get your news from television?  Be specific and give an example or two.

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About Samir Husni

Samir Husni, aka Mr. Magazine™, is the founder and director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi. He is also Professor and Hederman Lecturer of Journalism at the School of Journalism and New Media. Dr. Husni is the author of the annual Samir Husni's Guide to New Magazines, which is now in its 28th year. He is also the author of Launch Your Own Magazine: A Guide for Succeeding in Today's Marketplace published by Hamblett House, Inc. and Selling Content: The Step-by-Step Art of Packaging Your Own Magazine, published by Kendall Hunt, Magazine Publishing in the 21st Century, published by Kendall Hunt, and co-author of Design Your Own Magazine. He has presented seminars on trends in American magazines to the editorial, advertising and sales staff of the magazine groups of the Morris Communications Company, Hearst Corp., Hachette Filipacchi Magazines, Meredith Corp., Reader's Digest Magazine, ESPN the magazine, Sail Magazine, American Airlines Publishing, the National Geographic Society, the Swedish magazine group Bonnier, the Finnish magazine group Sanoma Magazines, Southern Progress magazines, New South Publishing, Inc., the Society of Professional Journalists, the American Society of Magazine Editors, Vance Publishing Corporation, the Florida Magazine Association, The Magazine Association of Georgia, the National Society of Black Journalists, the Japanese Magazine Publishers Association, and the American Press Institute. He is "the country's leading magazine expert," according to Forbes ASAP magazine, "the nation's leading authority on new magazines," according to min:media industry newsletter; and The Chicago Tribune dubbed him "the planet's leading expert on new magazines." Dr. Husni has been interviewed by major U.S. media on subjects related to the magazine industry. He has been profiled and is regularly quoted in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and many other newspapers nationwide, as well as the major newsweeklies and a host of trade publications. He has appeared on Good Morning America, CNBC, CNN, CNNFN, PBS, and on numerous radio talk shows including National Public Radio's Morning and Weekend Editions. Dr. Husni has also served as an expert witness in several lawsuits involving major media corporations including Time Inc. and American Express Publishing among others. He has been a judge of The National Magazines Awards, The Evangelical Magazines Association, The City and Regional Magazines Association, and The Florida and Georgia Magazine Association Awards. Dr. Husni is the President and CEO of Magazine Consulting & Research, a firm specializing in new magazine launches, repositioning of established magazines, and packaging publications for better sales and presentations. Dr. Husni holds a doctorate in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a master's degree in journalism from the University of North Texas. When he is not in his office reading magazines, Dr. Husni is at the newsstands buying magazines.
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39 Responses to So is this Television News?…

  1. Jennifer Thurman says:

    I believe Al-Jazeera’s style of reporting is honest and brutal. News channels now a days have gone soft and I believe they should more detailed like Al-Jazeera. Consumers should be informed one hundred percent. It may be brutal or ugly to see, but it’s what is going on in the world. News channels now a days don’t cover the full story or find ways to portray things a certain way other than how they are. Most of the time I get informed of news from Twitter or Facebook statuses. After seeing information on there I then turn to my television and catch the full coverage from there. Every night my mom has the news on while she cooks dinner so the whole family can hear updates.

  2. jbbarnet says:

    News outlets are afraid to show anything that might offend their viewers, because they think their viewers can’t handle it. The world is a nasty place, and it should be shown. It probably isn’t suitable for the nightly news, but it deserves to be portrayed. The last time I watched TV news was when Osama was killed. I wanted to know everything up to the second. If I were to watch TV news, it would only be CNN or any other up to the second channel. I can get the same info the nightly news puts out whenever I want.

  3. Patrick Thompson says:

    I think that more television should be like Al-Jazeera because it shows the good stuff and the bad stuff and doesn’t really hold back on what they want to show. They want to keep their people informed on every detail they can while most other news stations don’t give you as much detail as they probably should. I think they have gotten a little soft, but it is because American stations don’t like showing as much of the bad stuff, such as gore and violence, and keep us a little in the dark.

    I mostly get my news from what people post on Facebook or Twitter and if the headline of the story interests me then I will go more in depth in reading it. I do get some of my news from the television, but I prefer watching more local news on TV and reading national or global online.

  4. Katie Krouse says:

    Al-Jazeera’s form of TV journalism is honest and pure. It depicts current events, in particular dealing with the Iraqi war, the way they truly are. The pictures are brutal and hard to watch, but they prove a point and tug at the heartstrings of the viewers. In my opinion, American TV news needs to take a hint from Al-Jazeera and expose what is really happening in Iraq. Maybe then, American’s would be a little more compassionate and the war wouldn’t be as easy to brush under the rug.
    When it comes to news, I usually find out about current events through social media. Depending on my location, I will either turn on a television or look up the issue of interest on a reliable website to further find out about what is going on.

  5. Colton Herrington says:

    I definitely believe that American news outlets could take notes from Al-Jazeera’s approach to current events. American news has gone soft in order to be “politically correct”, but when is the last time being politically correct got anything done? Al-Jazeera’s approach allowed for their people to unite.

    I only get news from television if I’m at home, which is not often. I normally get my news from Twitter and online articles.

  6. Meaghan Snell says:

    Al-Jazeera’s style of reporting the news is definitely more effective in covering and explaining what is actually going on. I feel like the American public has become too concerned about security and the dangers around them that they don’t even want to discuss or hear the definite truth anymore. We can’t truly be included or involved with what is going on, unless if the news style does change into a more graphic and uncensored footage, to an extent. I understand somethings shouldn’t be shown, but I feel as if the news is coddling the general American.
    Personally I get my news off of my cellphone with the different apps I have.Also though, every morning I do turn on the TV to fox news to see any big stories that I can find more about on the internet later, when I have time.

  7. Robert Phillips says:

    I agree with Al-Jazeera’s form of reporting the news in regard to showing the brutality and the true nature of the war. However, I do not like the fact that they have people go to places that were bombed and lie that their families were there. Al-Jazeera does a better job of reporting the brutality, but is not ethical when it comes to creating and reporting false information. I totally believe that our media has gone soft in reporting the news. I believe they do this because they don’t want to upset the public, even though the events that are occurring are terrible and upsetting. I usually hear about news through word of mouth and social media, and then move to television to find out more details. When I discovered Osama Bin Laden was murdered, I saw a status on Facebook then turned to television to confirm this was actually true.

  8. Summer Wigley says:

    Al-Jazeera’s style of reporting is real. After watching the documentary today, I was infuriated with how our news is not honest and real. I grew up not comprehending the brutal truth of the Iraqi war and just witnessed it today through a documentary. Al-Jazeera took a risk, but was still honest with its viewers. I believe if America began to broadcast the truth, not holding it back, it would be able to expose what’s going on in America that so many Americans are unaware of. People would then have the choice on whether or not they want to watch the parts that are too brutal/real to watch.

    I do watch the television for news whenever I can. Usually I am not where I can watch tv, but sometimes I check Twitter or get an update from CNN about something and I find the nearest television to watch what is going on. It all depends. I remember it being late at night when I was checking Twitter before I went to bed and then I saw where Osama bin Laden was killed. I immediately got out of bad to turn on the television and witness the breaking news.

  9. Martin Powell says:

    The main difference between Al Jazeera and US news channels, just as in so many other sectors of the media, comes down to the level of competition each side faces. As we have discussed in class, channels like CBS, NBC, CNN and FOX are all trying to gain the maximum market share, and unfortunately to do so, they often have to make their content more viewer-friendly. Consequently, Al Jazeera appears much more graphic and “raw” than what we as viewers are used to because they operate without much competition. In most cases, I prefer getting my news from Gawker.com, as opposed to networks. In the case of a breaking story (i.e bin Laden’s death, Gulf spill, etc.), I will watch CNN to get up to the minute info. I find that a website like Gawker.com will often provide a more unbridled take than an outlet on TV.

  10. Lindsay Langston says:

    I believe that news outlets today have portrayed stories in a softer, more cushioned light. Al-Jazeera’s style of reporting was more honest and brutal and showed the public what was needed to be shown in order to create a necessary reaction. This style allows society to be accurately informed. I believe that modern day reporting and journalism makes stories more acceptable to be shown on television by decreasing violence and certain images. Even though this tactic makes news more appropriate to show on certain outlets, it also hides images that should be shown. The war in Iraq is not taken to heart by many and I believe that if certain images were shown then the reality of the war would be known. For me, I tend to get my news from social media outlets such as Twitter or Facebook. When I see a story that interests me and makes me want to dive further into the topic, I will search online and get more details.

  11. Graham Wyman says:

    To me the way that Al-Jazeera does it is the way we here in America should do our news. The images and videos they show are very graphic, yes, but to me that is what we should do. I think the people there have a better understanding of what is actually going on because they see it in a more “real” form. I would rather know exactly what was going on than it be kept secret for “my protection” because that is what I feel the government is trying to do. My main news source is twitter because of its ability to spread so quickly.

  12. Chloie Johnson says:

    The fear of scaring watchers has lead a lot of new outlets to become soft and not completely truthful. I believe that Al-Jazeera’s reporting style is the best, most honest, and most informing way to deliver news to people. While people may like watching soft news and not facing what is actually happening in the world, most people would rather have the truth. What is the point of informing people through the news if the new outlets are not actually going to show what is going on in the world. As for where I usually get my news, I use my mobile device and social networks on it. The most common thing for me is that I see a post or comment about an event on facebook or an email and then I will either follow a link to the internet or google it myself.

  13. Sydney Leaphart says:

    I believe news is too soft and does not properly reflect the events that have occurred. I think it is important for news stations to show no only the emotions but try and convey a proper image of the news being reported on. If information or things are left out, then people are being mislead and misinformed on information. I do usually get my news from the television if anywhere. Usually in the morning I get my news from the TV show. I love how it is a mixture of celebrity news, international news, local news, and fun news. At night I get my news from CBS or on Sundays I watch 60 minutes. Those are generally the only television news stations I watch.

  14. Sarah Ashton Baker says:

    Al-Jazeera’s take on the news is more intense. It is not afraid to cause a stir. If our news sources showed more it would bring more attention to important issues, such as the war. However, I think stories should be judged on a case by case basis. There has been talk of releasing the gory photos of Osama Bin Laden’s death and burial. While this would definitely be a hard hitting piece, the reaction is speculated to be a risk for national security. When I get my news from television it is from the Today Show or local news outlets.

  15. I believe that the Al-Jazeera style of reporting is only somewhat of how the news should be. This is because all the images of the blood and gore are a bit much. I believe that anyone can take a picture of blood or a dead body and show death but how many people can really take a story, and with words and relevant images without dead bodies and explain death?
    I personally don’t get much of my news from television. I receive my news information via social media sites and smart phone applications. Such as when something major is going on, I first look at twitter and see what all have been said about it, or if I’m on the go and I hear something of interest I go to reliable news applications on my phone to see what is being said.

  16. Cidney Simmons says:

    I feel like the way they do it is better in some ways. It puts the reality of war into perspective for people, especially ones who may not relate. Our news stations and other media outlets have definitely disclosed a softer version, and they illustrate to their viewers a biased perspective rather than a balanced one. News stations are very political now. They claim they do this in order to protect us, but I feel they take it too far. There is a certain extent of how much information the media should be disclose too, but how will they define this unless they try. I believe news is suppose to be impactful because if its not, who is going to care? Personally, I go to the Nightly News and 60 minutes to find out the most about world events. I find them to be the most unbiased out of all of them.

  17. Herbie May says:

    News is an honest and brutal thing. I don’t think it has gone soft, but I think there are ways around it. Al-Jazeera’s style is cut throat and realistic. Some people like that and other need to be kept from it. I think there should be channels that are made for harsher and aggressive news coverage. However that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be channels like there are now. I no longer get my news from television unless it’s breaking or something worth watching. I get most of my updates from twitter or flip board. While I think the news is getting softer, I don’t think it should change. Parents want to educate their kids as well without having to worry about an R rated channel.

  18. Will Jenkins says:

    I believe that television should be about the truth. Al-Jazeera and many other news stations around the world only show a certain point of view or only one side of the story. I believe that t.v. should show the truth. Our television network along with many others around the world have shielded the truth from their viewers or have misconstrued it in some way.
    I personally do not use the television as my main source of news. I use my iPhone and use certain apps and websites to get most of my news but I do recieve a little news from the t.v.. I like to have the t.v. news on in the background while I am doing something else.

  19. Kelly Litzelfelner says:

    I think Al-Jazeera’s way of reporting the news is how it should be. It’s the “ugly truth” but what people need to know, they don’t read the news to have it sugar coated. It’s important for the public to know exactly what is going on. Our news channels shouldn’t go soft in reporting hard news.
    The morning the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting took place, I was lying in bed checking Twitter when I noticed a large amount of people tweeting things such as “Pray for Sandy Hook Elementary students”. I then went to Facebook and read statuses about the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. I also read articles my friends “shared” via Facebook. So I turned on the television to the news to get more information. That was probably the first time in weeks I’d watched the news on television.

  20. Tessa Romack says:

    I feel very hypocritical in the way that I am about to answer this question and I have wrestled with my response. Part of me wants to say I without a doubt believe that our news has gone soft and that they do not present the news of what is going on around the world in a realistic way. I think they spin it so that their target audience sees exactly what they want us to see. On the other hand, I myself know that I would not want to see those graphic images and hear the harsh details of things like the war. Mostly, because they terrify me and as a kid I know they would have given me nightmares. It is a fine line in my mind of what is too much and what is withholding information. I also do not get my news from television. Honestly, most of the news I read comes from people posting things on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter and then I go on the internet and fact check the things they have been posting.

  21. Daisy Strudwick says:

    I personally think that the American media has become soft on the news in contrast to Al-Jazeera. American news stations are more focused on appealing to their respective target audiences through blatantly biased reports. Our news programs could take a few tips from Al-Jazeera and report the brutal truth instead of mixing violence with fluff pieces. I have been watching the news every night at 7 EST with my family since I was in Middle School. Our family mainly watches Fox News but we switch to different channels to see different opinions, but no matter what channel the news here is still too soft.

  22. Jordan Mckeever says:

    While watching the documentary, I was shocked to see the footage Al-Jazeera showed his viewers. The footage they showed was brutally honest and showed the background of the war that Americans never get to see. After the film I felt more knowledgeable about what actually went on in the war. I believe American news has in fact gone soft, and I felt offended that I wasn’t shown what was actually occurring during the war. I do receive my news from T.V.  in a way, because whenever I see tweets about current news, I turn on the T.V. To see what the news channels have to say on the topic.

  23. Parker Bergsagel says:

    Al-Jazeera’s reporting style is raw and honest. The news channels that we are accustomed to show altered versions of the news that will appeal to its’ viewers. Al-Jazeera broadcasts a in detail description of developments in places all over the world. Although the news may be brutal, it is what is happening in the world that we live in, and news that the people need to see. Most of the time, I hear of major breaking news via social media. I remember finding out about Osama Bin Ladens death over twitter. After I started hearing about it there, I turned to news channels and sources on the web to confirm my suspicions.

  24. Parker Bergsagel says:

    Corrected:

    Al-Jazeera’s reporting style is raw and honest. The news channels that we are accustomed to show altered versions of the news that will appeal to its’ viewers. Al-Jazeera broadcasts an in detail description of developments in places all over the world. Although the news may be brutal, it is what is happening in the world that we live in, and news that the people need to see. Most of the time, I hear of major breaking news via social media. I remember finding out about Osama Bin Ladens death over twitter. After I started hearing about it there, I turned to news channels and sources on the web to confirm my suspicions.

  25. Laura Reed says:

    I think that Al-Jazeera’s way of reporting the news may seem a bit harsh, but it is necessary. The Al-Jazeera news reports are gory, bloody, and horrible at times for viewers, but they are showing what is happening instead of shielding their viewers like the US does. I, personally, would rather not see the harsh images. Our news stations have definitely gone soft in comparison to Al-Jazeera. I usually only watch the news on TV is my mom and dad already had it on. I never turn on the TV to watch the news. I go to the internet for faster news stories.

  26. Elliott Guffin says:

    Al-Jazeera’s news reporting stands alone among many. They show the cold hard truth, no kidding around. I think Al-Jazeera’s reporting style is effective for the environment that they are in. They report wars and death when in America, it’s who won the big pie eating contest. American news has gone soft, always having to be politically correct for fear of hurting someone’s feelings. This country wasn’t built on men wondering if they were going to hurt someone’s feelings. I get my news from Twitter and TV. I follow Fox News on twitter and have their app. I’ll watch Fox News when it’s on sometimes on television.

  27. Taylor Walters says:

    Al Jazeera’s style of reporting the news is how television should be. People will react to unsettling events the most. I agree that our news channels have strayed from hard news to soft. While Obama has been President, his efforts to remove troops from Afghanistan are heroic in the eyes of some Americans, but if the news stations would show graphic images of our troops being brutally murdered, civilians may think differently. I get my news from T.V. and Radio, the events I feel most compassionate about are the ones were mass suffering has taken place and those images are rarely shown to the publics eye.

  28. Bridge Leigh says:

    I think news outlets should take a much more sensitive approach to reporting. The graphic way in which Al-Jazeera presented content seemed insensitive and impetuous. Notwithstanding, there is a way to show that same violence in a more tasteful manner. An example would be Fox News coverage of the Newton shootings. Obviously no channel wants to air images of the bodies of innocent five- and six-year-old children, but Fox did show bodies being carried out of the school on stretchers under blood-stained sheets, which is enough to spark emotion from viewers without going overboard. I only rarely watch television news.

  29. Katie Adams says:

    I never get my news from television. I just never find the time in the day to watch the news. Every so often I will have the news on in the background or my parents will be watching it, but I never intentionally turn the news on to hear the news. I believe that although al-jazeera shows highly bloody and graphic images that some people don’t agree with, I believe that al-jazeera is trying to show the truth about the war and what’s going in in their country to its citizens and I see nothing wrong with that. News is about the truth and the current events going on in your country and around the world and I see no problem with al-jazeera showing the truth in Iraq and all Arab speaking nations.

  30. Shea Gabrielleschi says:

    When it comes to news reporting, ethics can often be left out. Everything is a business, and in order to make money the networks must provide information that is tailored toward their viewers. For instance, Fox News, being an American news outlet, would never show something that makes America look evil or weak. As much as the news is thought of as accurate and true, reporters can easily twist a story or leave out certain information if it is in the best interest of the viewership. It bothers me to think of how misleading the news came be.

  31. Catherine Montague says:

    I believe that Al-Jazeera’s style of reporting is harsh, but it is also shows the world the reality of what is going on in the Middle East. The United States is incredibly soft when covering hard news especially what was going on in the Middle East. I do not think our news stations should be as graphic as Al-Jazeeras, but I do think they should inform the citizens of the United States the reality of what is happening. I do not get my news from the television unless it’s a major event. I get most of my news from the Internet from various news websites. In my opinion it is a more convientant way to get my news

  32. Ellen Whitaker says:

    I regretfully missed the documentary, “Control Room”, in class today. However, after watching it online, I believe Al-Jazeera’s form of journalism is what networks should try to implement into their stories. Al-Jazeera’s reporting is honest and shows the brutality of the Iraq War. He shows you what is actually going on, instead of brushing over the facts like most reporters do. Al-Jazeera presents the war in a real way, and has it hit home– as it should.

    When it comes to my news, I tend to receive it from apps on my iPhone. It is a quick and easy to learn what is current in the news.

  33. Christina Figg says:

    In the documentary Control Room, Al-Jazeera’s style of reporting is very different from television stations in America. They report stories that go in to detail on issues that are usually covered up, while America only reports things that they know the general public is interested in. Personally, I wish that there would be more news stations that reported like Al-Jazeera’s in the United States because I feel uninformed on political issues, and I feel like I am being handed one side of the story. Because of this, I don’t usually get my news from television. I look at multiple sources online and compare the information so I can try and come up with a conclusion that is unbiased.

  34. Benjamin Bryan says:

    I personally did not know much about Al-Jazeera’s style of broadcasting before watching Control Room. I do believe news should broadcast their news in this manner to get the truth across. Instead, our news is softening the material to appeal to their viewers. As talked about in class, in 1978 Walter Cronkite was the most trusted man on Earth because he told the truth. Today we are bombarded by media causing us to pick and choose what we want to follow based on what we choose to hear vs. the actual truth. I have grown up watching the news with my family and continue to watch the news everyday on television. I also receive much of my news via social media. I would not think it was a bad idea to have certain news channels that were more graphic in showing actual pictures. The viewer could be advised of the channel, as if it was a certain movie in theaters. This way I think people that wanted to see the center of action could follow it as pleased.

  35. Matt Mayfield says:

    I give Al-Jazeera a lot of credit for showing the dissenting views and graphic content which has made them a lightning rod for criticism and praise. I do not believe their controversial style would work for CNN though, especially these days when companies constantly have to issue apologies in case they offended anyone. As far as being soft, I remember seeing Gaddafi’s bloody body being celebrated around by captors; the news anchors just spoke a word of warning before showing. I usually get my news from television when there are major events such as this but for daily news I check my Fox News and Discovery News apps.

  36. Ali Corbin says:

    When I first saw the graphic news Al-Jazeera was showing its viewers I was shocked by the brutality. In the US, we would never show images of dead Americans or injured children like Al-Jazeera does. However, Al-Jazeera insists that the news should be showing the truth no matter how intense. I think if the US took on this concept society would pay more attention to the what is going on and realize the severity of situations the news brings up. Personally I get my news from all media. In high school I watched the Today Show every morning, but now I get my news more from twitter and news applications on my phone.

  37. I do not think Al-Jazeera’s style of reporting is appropriate for the major news networks. Yet I do believe this type of hard news should be offered for the people who want to view it on a channel like HBO that has a resume of releasing controversial and graphic material. I don’t believe our news channels have gone soft but rather they know programming like Al-Jazeeras would stir monumental outrage across the nation in today’s society. I receive all sorts of news on television in today’s age. For updates around the world and political news I will turn into CNN. I feel that they strive to be the least bias network and offer insightful commentary. ESPN still rules the sports world on television and is my go to source for sport knowledge.

  38. Katie Whann says:

    I think that Al-Jazeera’s way of reporting is eye opening but very disturbing at the same time. At some point, I believe that the public needs to see what is going on in the world, and sometimes those graphic images are necessary. The United States protects the citizens from this type of journalism by just showing us what we want to see, rather than what the reality actually is. Although it is extremely controversial, I believe that Al- Jazeera’s way of journalism is somewhat necessary for us to realize what is actually going on in the world. However, at the same time, when I check my daily news sites to catch up on worldly news, I am not sure that I want to be exposed to such disturbing images everyday. There is a necessary balance that needs to be put in place of finding a happy medium between not showing enough and showing too much.

  39. I think that Al-Jazeera’s style of reporting the news is the way television news should be. At first I was horrified that the journalists at Al-Jazeera would show captured American soldiers, and victims who had been injured by American bomb attacks around the city of Baghdad, Iraq. Then I realized that when television viewers, around the world in the area of war, being able to see what is really going on due to the tragedy of war, can really affect the human heart. I believe that our American news channels should not have gone as soft as they had in covering hard news. American news networks tend to “candy-coat” tragedies such as war. I do get my news from television. For example, when I wake up in the morning, sometimes I will turn on the television to the channel with the local news station or if any national morning news in on. On the other hand, I mostly get my news from reliable news sources on Twitter such as CNN, Fox News, and Huffington Post. Overall, I get most of my news on my mobile phone and computer through apps and the Internet.

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