television crew

Questions remain, however, about whether the presence of the television crew heightened tensions or otherwise contributed to the tragedy. Another question, broader and even more vexing: Do reality cop shows trivialize important issues, reducing everything to mere entertainment? If so, is it disingenuous for reality show producers to cloak their programming in saintly journalistic rationales like public service that heightens public understanding? Not all police departments are complicit with tag- alongs. In Texas, the Dallas police department doesn’t allow them any more. The department found ride-alongs were siphoning time and energy from other police work.

If these are indeed reality shows, which suggests a journalistic justification, then why do the producers accede to police department insistence on seeing the shows and editing them before airing? Journalists never allow subjects of their other stories to edit them, but police departments routinely are allowed the final say on what gets aired on tag-along shows and what doesn’t. This even includes minor issues on whether police are wearing their uniforms by the book. One department even took out shots of officers smoking because they reflected poorly on police professionalism.

Point: Policing a community is an essential government function. Intense news coverage is important in keeping police accountable to the people. Also,

tag-alongs can bolster public confidence in police performance.

Counterpoint: Tag-along shows are an assault on civil society—a sign of a new “peep culture.” Any journalistic rationale is a ruse. Networks are interested only in cheap programming that’s easy to sell to advertisers.

Writing Prompt Applying Your Media Literacy – Variables Affecting News

What variables about news-gathering and news-packaging are beyond the control of reporters and editors but nonetheless affect what people read, hear, and see?

The response entered here will appear in the performance dashboard and can be viewed by your instructor.

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