ALISA MILLER: THE NEWS ABOUT THE NEWS (00:00 – 04:26)

Alisa Miller is President and CEO of Public Radio International.

I Watch the presentation. What is the message of the speech?

II Listen to the presentation once again and answer the questions:

1. What events happened in February of 2007? How comprehensively were they covered by the American mass media?

2. What was the percentage of the U.S. news coverage in 2007?

3. What celebrity has become the focus of media attention lately?

4. Why is the coverage of the world news so limited?

5. What news agencies do web sites use in their news coverage?

III  Vocabulary practice

  1. Fill in the gaps with an appropriate word from the presentation.
  2. Use the collocations in the sentences of your own trying to reproduce the context of the presentation:

the news _______the way we see the world

the U.S. _____for 79 percent of total news coverage. 

the _____coverage of Russia, China and India reached just one percent.

this _____10 times the coverage of the IPCC report

news networks _____ the number of their foreign bureaus by half

the reality is that covering Britney is __________________

this lack of global coverage is all the more __________________ 

local TV news __________________   large

today’s college graduates know less about the world than their ______ did 20 years ago. 

Is this ______ worldview what we want for Americans in our increasingly interconnected world?

IV Discuss in pairs:

Alisa Miller says thateven while society becomes more globally interconnected, «Americans seem to know less and less about the world around them.» Do you think this is also relevant to the Russian audience? Why?

V Speak Up

Read some of the comments written in response to Alisa’s talk. Try to figure out implications of each statement and say whether you agree or disagree with them:

  1. News outlets have become big businesses. Rather than reporting news that is happening globally, news outlets are covering stories that are in high demand by the public.
  2. The media, whether we like it or not, creates what becomes reality for us. Anything not reported in the mainstream media basically doesn’t exist for us. Governments have gone into the business of «controlling the message,» and «producing» the news. So, if they don’t want us to know about something, they can control whether we hear about it at all, or control the level to which it is reported. Much of what the government allows us to see is not necessarily a fact at all, but pure propaganda.
  3. No one reads books anymore, and magazines and newspaper subscriptions are in decline. There is a lot less diversification now and any media outlet that doesn’t value profits over content struggles and dies. An ignorant, entertainment distracted populace, is much easier to control and manipulate. Why would government want to change that? It is up to us….you and me.
  4. It is only natural that the media focus on certain regions and topics.
  5. Should news media be an extension of our public education system, or should it be a market driven business with its primary mission being to grow money for parent companies’ investors? News shows are advertiser supported. Advertisers want consumers who react to ads, not citizens who think through issues.
  6. I think the German model offers an alternative: You have private media which decides what they want to cover and you have a publicly funded but independent public-broadcast network.