This paper is going to analyze both positive and adverse impacts of “Market-driven Journalism” in HK. According to the sayings of John McManus, “ The heart of market journalism is the logic of the market place. A market place is where people come to buy and sell goods and services. ” . It implies that business has replaced journalism. Since the principal norms of business are emphasizing profit maximization and production cost minimization, principal norms of journalism are often serving the profit-maximizing interest of the corporate by way of creating entertainment-oriented information.
To begin with, market-driven journalism has its advantages actually. News departments are not controlled by the state government which facilitates to avoid interference from the government. One of the features of market-driven journalism is the operation of news departments being in modern business management by corporate instead of by local government, intellectuals or individual investors. Compared with nowadays, news departments are megaphones of government, political parties and intellectuals in 70’s and 80’s.
However, the entire journalism has altered to general public-concerned today unless it wishes for being eliminated from the changeable market where film and television culture is a booming trend worldwide. Without the government control, mass media could deliver sensitive social issues and reflect grassroots’ views towards the government. Moreover, mass media may take responsibility for monitoring the state mechanism.
For instance, Chief executive candidate Henry Tang Ying-yen who was a Chief Secretary for Administration of HK before, was reported that there were unauthorized building works of his two adjoined residents at York Road, Kowloon Tong by almost all HK press. Even though Tang Ying-yen was a government official, in order to further find out the truth of incident, the press even rent 8 contractors for investigation. The incident has provoked widespread criticism.
Therefore, without a manipulator of government, it could enhance the transparency of government institutions and departments. Second, medium for journalism including newspaper, broadcast and online is lower in selling price or even in free of charge due to the monetary sponsorship from advertising companies. To take free newspaper as an example, six types of free newspaper are in circulation – “The Standard “, “am730”, “Headlines”, “Metro Daily”, “Sky Post” and “Sharp”.
On average, the volume of circulation of each is more than 30 thousand on a daily basis. Nevertheless, they are free to get in accessible locations, such as MTR stations entrances, ferry piers and intensively located schools or workplaces nearby. Apart from large volume of free newspaper circulations, costs of employees’ salaries, factory building rental, equipment, raw materials and electricity are much higher. It may suggest that advertising companies play a crucial role in the operation of journalism.
On the other hand, the public is benefit from acquiring free information in a convenience way and even getting job opportunities, like reporters, newspaper distribution and waste paper recycling. Moreover, the popularity of video news release (VNR) has been rising. It is a video segment made to look like a news report disseminating short news stories in an informal way. For instance, “Next Media Animation” is one of the well-known VNR websites. Its frequency of viewing each video is around 2500 on average. Roughly, that means more than 12 thousand people may use the online channel if there are around 50 VNRs daily.
With regard to the provision of free-paid online news channel , the public could receive updated and entertaining news at any time, any place and any moment. Citizens even can publicize what they see and hear in their daily life which enhances interaction between general public and mass departments or corporate offstage. At the same time, market-driven journalism has induced numerous harmful impacts. To start with, “Junk Food Journalism” has soared. The implication of “Junk Food Journalism” is similar to “McJournalism”.
Carl Jensen said “The typical junk food news diet consists of sensationalized, personalized and homogenized inconsequential trivia that are slickly packaged, micro-waved and then spoon fed to us by print and electronic news media at regular feeding hours. ” The leading reason behind a rise in junk food journalism is mass departments heavily relying on the advertising revenues. In order to attract large number of potential consumers, both readers and advertising firms, news contents are tending to high entertainment but low orientation that says “Infotainment” news.
It combines information and entertainment, and neglects news value indeed. As the above have mentioned the example of free newspaper distribution, if such free newspaper publishers seek to survive in a keen journalism industry, the revenues from commercial advertisement outweighing the expenditures of production and operation costs is must. As a matter of fact, the public is an end payer since those brand name advertising would establish and grow in their mind, although advertising companies pay money to mass departments directly. For instance, we could find oncoming “Sharp” has been in circulation since last year.
It is interest, sensationalism, violence and pornography-orientated in order to attract public’s attention. It is even distributed 3 times per day, in morning, afternoon and at night. To cover the huge production costs, 35 advertisements are covered in total pages of 44 of “Sharp” averagely. It reflects that when readers read two pages, they may unavoidably scan 1. 5 advertisements. It is not surprising that news contents are not deep enough due to the limitation of newspaper layout and full of commercial advertising. To conclude, negative impacts have obviously exposed in these years.
Consumers may be misled nowadays. Apart from free newspaper, there are around 15 copies of paid newspaper in HK, such as “South China Post”, “MingPao”, “Singtao” and “Oriental Daily News”. The market of journalism is competitive if combining all medium. They are striving to increase audience popularity and enlarge corporate’ market size for the sake of their interests. With the consideration of profit maximization, mass departments publicize what citizens want to read and thus satisfy their demand for news with exaggeration and sensation, but not the need indeed. Which journalism medium could trust in?
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Topic: Hk’s Market-Driven Journalism and Its Impacts
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