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Media, Communications & Trends

Becoming Media Literate

Gans’s Basic Journalistic Values # 2

I chose to study the newspaper The Wall Street Journal week-end Saturday/sunday, February 4-5, 2012. When I look at the front page, I can see three main articles. Each articles refers to one or more basic journalistic values shown by Gans. I will try to explain the relationship between articles and Gans’s values.

If we focus on the first article of the front page, entitled “Jobs Power Market Rebound”, we can see that it refers to the Responsible Capitalism value. This article explains that in January, jobs power market was in full extension and unemployment rate declined. Here is highlighted the value of Responsible Capitalism. Indeed, it highlights that the economy is doing better, that economic activities are more competitive and allow to hire new people. We can notice that this value is underlined by some other minor articles in the newspaper. Indeed, there are nine articles which talk about business and finance. But some of them are rather negative about economy. As the article on the company Caterpillar who close a plant in Ontario.

When we look at the second main article on the front page, we can see that this article, entitled “For Wounded Vet, Love Pierces the Fog of War” refers to many Gans’s basic journalistic values. To sum up, this article is about the life of an American soldier and his wife after the war in Iraq. This former 21 years old soldier suffers from excessive violence, insomnia, stress disorders and amnesia. He is struggling to resume normal life, and sometimes he can be violent or very sad. The article traces his life, his childhood, when he joined the army, his friends killed in action, his first victim and his returning home. This article stresses the value of Social Order. Soldiers who returning home are shocked and they can no longer adapt to daily life, to the social order. This article also discusses the notion of Altruistic Demoncracy since these soldiers gave their lives to protect the values of the United States. They have suffered and will suffer again for the public interest. Finally, this article portrays this couple as a symbol. These individuals represent couples whose husbands went to war and return home. Those couples who face great difficulty in rebuilding and re-planning the future.

When you look at the third main article on the front page, we can notice that the article refers to Individualism value. In fact, this article, entitled “In Super Bowl, Giants go long for a number Cruncher” deals with the career of a man who is football fan, how he is becoming a strategist of this game, and why he decided to open a website on which he analyses games and gives some advices to the Giants and several other teams which used that to prepare for their opponents.This article finally answers to the Gans’s value of Individualism because it deals with the carreer of an individual who makes a difference. It represents the loyalty of fans to the sport of football, he is the symbol. In this time of super bowl, it represents two key figures in the sport, supporters and strategists.

In addition of these three main articles, some others items talk about Leadership (another Gans’s value) showing by example that Goldman CEO Blankfein has reduced nearly half its stock bonus. An article talking about the fact that hackers have managed to intercept a conversation between the FBI and Scotland Yard. This article illustrates the value of Social Order because hackers challenge the public order.

To conclude, I tryed to explain which values I found and the evidence for them in each articles in the front page.  But I think the list of Gans is not quite complete and not perfect. For instance, when I read newspapers and especially the French and English newspapers, I find there are a lot of articles dealing with international news. I do not think that journalists talk about news in other countries just to compare them with those of our country. I want to relativize the first value of Gans, that of Ethnocentrism. I think that news are not everytime focus on our country and it is not especially good news on our country. I also want to show the importance of volunteerism, of associations’ actions, of humanitarian activities, of environmental issues or of corporate social responsabilities. I think it lacks a value to cover this aspect of news that is omnipresent in media. We can call it Social and Environmental Responsability.

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