Framing "reality" : an exploration of how events become news items on television : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Media Studies at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Television news does not reflect all that happened on any particular day. It is a selection and reconstruction of some of the available and more newsworthy occurrences. Drawing on the influential work of Herbert Gans this thesis explores and attempts to identify the relevant factors in news selection and the typical influences affecting the final content and form that a television news item takes in representing a news event. Using the method of participant observation ten news events were followed from their initial selection, through the news production process to the final broadcast. This was undertaken over a two week period. The analysis and examination of the institutional and professional forces affecting a news item were supported by interviews, notes and video records. The findings confirm many of the claims made by Gans and others that a television news item is a highly constructed event. Amongst the factors shown to be most significant in this process were conventional criteria of news worthiness, professional production codes and practices, gatekeeping decisions, institutional organisational routines, time constraints and cost benefit considerations.