Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Broadcast Vs. Print Media

Historical Differences:-
The main historical difference between broadcast and print media is their development. Print media, and thereby print journalism, evolved from a process. Anthony Smith (1980; in Herbert 2001) states: "Printing evolved from a series of divisions of labor that had been introduced in an effort to speed up the task of manuscript copying." In short, print journalism developed from a process already in place for centuries, namely the manual transcription of manuscripts. In contrast, broadcast media (and broadcast journalism) were born of technology. The telegraph, telephone, radio, television, and Internet were not built specifically for journalism nor did they evolve from some existing process related to journalism; instead, people adapted these inventions to serve the media. In this sense, broadcast is a relatively young medium especially when compared to print.

Practical Differences:-
Ø Style & Structure - There are numerous stylistic and structural differences between broadcast and print journalism.
Print journalism edits more than broadcast. Newspapers edit for clarity, fairness, and accuracy. They also edit to ensure individual house style. In broadcast journalism however, exactly what you write is often exactly what airs, with little or no editing. The extensive editing process in print journalism allows more time for eloquence and prose. Conversely, the relative lack of editing in broadcast journalism warrants short, sharp, succinct language of a more conversational tone.
Broadcast and print journalism also differ in structure. Print news stories use an inverted pyramid structure with the most important items (the facts of the story) reported in the first paragraph. Remaining facts are then presented in descending order of importance. Broadcast news stories on the other hand are broader (no pun intended). Important facts are still reported in the first paragraph, but broadcast news stories end decisively and do not trail off as do print news stories.
Lastly, broadcast and print news stories differ in length and pace. The average radio news story is just 30 seconds long. The average television news story is one minute and 30 seconds long. Read at a pace of 180 words per minute these lengths equate to 90 and 270 words respectively for radio and television news stories. The average print new piece can vary greatly in length, but has been described as "12 snappy pars". Ultimately, the newspaper journalist has little control over the pace at which the story is read; it is the reader who dictates the pace.

Ø Impact - Broadcast and print media also differ in how much the audience can retain and recall. Average newspaper readers retain and recall more information than do average broadcast viewers and listeners. The reason for this difference is, in my opinion, that broadcast media can be turned on but then forgotten. Print media however cannot be ignored in this way. For it to be of any use, people must interact with print media. Consider people who come home from work with a newspaper. They walk into the house, throw the paper on the table, turn on the television and move to the kitchen to fix a snack. While in the kitchen they can still hear the television but they do not interact directly with it. Newspapers cannot interact with their audience the same way television can. Print media requires a much higher degree of interaction with its audience. This higher degree of interaction is why people retain and recall more information from print media.
Another area in which broadcast and print media differ is in permanence. It is a simple matter to read last week’s news. Libraries keep newspapers dating back decades, perhaps centuries. If the actual paper itself is not available then a facsimile of some type, most likely microfiche, will be. Compare this to broadcast media where it is difficult to watch last week’s television news and next to impossible to listen to radio newscasts from decades past. New technology is slowly changing this, but it will be some time before data compression and storage technologies reach a level where libraries will be able to archive broadcast media. When technologies do reach this level, will libraries have the desire to compress and store all this information? If so, will anyone want or require it? Print has posterity, while broadcast is fleeting.
Finally, broadcast and print journalism vary in how they influence their respective audiences. In broadcast media tone of voice, physical build, gender, and dress all influence the audience’s perceptions of authenticity and accuracy. People who watch broadcast news form perceptions immediately based on what they see or hear. In contrast, newspaper readers are often oblivious to the physical characteristics of the reporter. Usually all the reader knows of the reporter comes from the by-line and suggests the reporter’s sex. Newspaper reporters must rely solely on their writing skills to affect reader.

Regulatory Differences:-
The most striking difference between broadcast and print media regulation is inequality. As Albon and Papandrea (1998) write: "…print media are not subject to direct regulatory controls, [however] they are indirectly influenced by cross-media ownership rules…"In the United States, where freedom of speech and of the press is assured by the First Amendment of their constitution, the Supreme Court has stated, "it is well settled that the First Amendment has a special meaning in the broadcast context."
Early this year the Government of India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting banned the transmission of two satellite/cable television channels for a period of three months each: AXN, Sony’s channel for action movies, and FTV, the fashion channel from Paris. This was perhaps the first time in the history of Indian broadcasting that a satellite channel had been banned, without any prior notice or warning, and even more surprisingly, without any public discussion of the law that the two channels had infringed. Apparently, the two channels were flouting the guidelines of the Programme Code of the Cable
Television Networks (Regulation) Act of 1995. The Act provides detailed guidelines on obscenity and violence in programming. Sony and FTV did not challenge the ban, nor did any public interest or civil rights group.
India does not as yet have a media regulatory body like OfCom (Office of Communication). Each mass medium or information and communication technology (ICT) has its own regulatory authority: the press is monitored by the Press Council of India, telecommunications is regulated by TRAI (Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India), cinema by the CBFC (Central Board for Film Certification), advertising by the ASCI (Advertising Standards Council of India), but broadcasting media, though operating under the AIR Code and the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act (1995), do not have similar regulatory or monitoring bodies. After the ban on AXN and FTV Indian broadcasters have got together to evolve a non-governmental self-regulatory mechanism.
The Indian mass media today comprises over 300 TV channels (reaching 112 million households), 50,000 newspapers and magazines (with a readership of over 250 million), around 300 radio stations, a thousand feature films in 18 languages made every year, and a plethora of print, electronic, digital and telecommunications media. According to the latest FICCI-Price-Waterhouse Cooper Report (2007), the Indian media and entertainment industry is worth over two hundred billion dollars and is projected to grow at the rate of 18- 20% per annum.

Broadcast and print media have several significant differences. This paper has focused on three main areas of difference: historical differences in the context of each medium’s creation and establishment; practical differences relating to style and structure and impact on the audience; and regulatory differences in terms of governmental control.

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