Cheran Jacob Ratnam
News Flash: Journalism, Infotainment, and the Bottom-line Business of Broadcast News
By Bonnie Anderson
February 18, 12
In her book, News Flash: Journalism, Infotainment, and the Bottom-line Business of Broadcast News, author Bonnie Anderson depicts the controversial state of modern journalism. She describes the controversial trends in vivid detail as a “systematic shift from responsible journalism to infotainment” (Colowick, 2004).
Bonnie Anderson’s experience as a former vice president of recruiting for CNN and a print reporter at NBC news- along with over twenty years of experience in the field allows her to draw compelling examples to support her cause of demanding honest and fair news reporting (Colowick, 2004). The author’s first hand experiences and exposure to controversial issues enhances her ability to persuade the reader with credibility.
The book’s nine chapters and the conclusion are filled with statistics and quotations from interviews, speeches and conversations. The author uses this information effectively and creatively to convey her dismay, while informing the reader of the controversial state of broadcast journalism. Her writing is compellingly charismatic and provocative.
Anderson consistently questions reporting practices of major news corporations. When discussing the validity of certain live interviews, she poses the question of trust from an ethical standpoint: “But are these practices, at the end of the day, all bad? While they might make the lives of reporters and photographers easier, they deceive viewers. If we’re not honest about something so basic, how can we expect the public to believe us on more major issues?” (Anderson, 2004, p. 100)
In the article, The Precarious State of Television News, author Rebecca MacKinnon states that she agrees with Anderson regarding the controversial ideals of CNN and confirms the money seeking infotainment ideals of CNN described in Anderson’s book. Furthermore, MacKinnon also states that Anderson fails to recognize the advancing technological changes that continue to change and invent media. She also points out that journalists’ would not be able to recreate the idealized form of journalism, mainly due to the ever-evolving technological influences.
The author provides many examples of questionable reporting practices of major news corporations such as CNN, NBC and FOX. Through the use of numerous examples of discrimination and malpractice, the author emphasizes the urgent need for change. The book also sheds light into what it is like to be a journalist working for corporations that compromises ethics in order to harvest profits. Furthermore, she emphasizes the ethical responsibility of a journalist over and over again throughout her book.
Over all, the book contains valuable insight for students that are interested in broadcast journalism. One could become overwhelmed by the author’s repetitiveness due to the high volume of examples provided throughout the book. The author paints a rather negative picture of news corporations and their hidden motives, while encouraging the reader to stand up for true journalism.
References (APA 6th Edition)
Anderson, B. (2004). News Flash : Journalism, Infotainment, and the Bottom-line
Business of Broadcast News. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (US).
Anderson, B. M. (2004). Journalism’s Proper Bottom Line. Nieman Reports, 58(4), 51.
Anne Beck. (2005, October). An Age-Old Problem. Broadcasting & Cable, 135(44), 12-
13. Retrieved February 20, 2012, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 920440401).
Colowick, S. M. (2004). News Flash: Journalism, Infotainment, and the Bottom-Line
Business of Broadcast News (Book). Library Journal, 129(11), 79.
MacKinnon, R. (2005). The Precarious State of Television News. Nieman Reports,