Copy of The Media & Its Perceptions

Samuel Ogali, Courier Staff

In a society where anything can be filmed with a cell phone camera and instantly be viewed by millions the next day, the amount of information and even news can be pushed and promoted for anyone to see and express their own opinions. Even so, local television news stations still have a significant amount of influence that can cast a certain perception of what people view of others in society, especially minorities. 

Even though various news organizations try to portray themselves as completely unbiased when reporting the news, human nature contradicts such an assumption because instinctively as a society we have our preconceptions about a lot of groups and cultures. A prominent example is the way African-Americans are portrayed by local news stations. T.L. Dixon and D. Linz, who are researchers for the Communication Research, analyzed how local news stations conflate their statistics when portraying black people as perpetrators. This found that the television news rate percentage was 35 percent, when in reality it was only a little over 20 percent. 

Local news stations unfortunately are quick to portray black people as criminals because of their unwillingness to provide context and tell viewers how the majority of the murders in such cities are by black people, instead of adding that a small number of homicides are committed in the black community in general.  Furthermore, in terms of poverty, local news stations purposely project images that primarily use minorities compared to white people. According to a survey by R.A. Clawson and R. Trice entitled, “Media Portrays the Poor”, in reality nearly half (45 percent) of white people are actually poor, but local news stations portray almost half (48 percent) of black people as poor. It’s statistics like this that truly unravel the biases that do exist in local news stations, especially when it comes to its portal of minorities and their consistency to portray them in a negative light contrary to the actual facts. 

Unfortunately, such misrepresentations and a lack of context has caught up with many local news organizations, and as a result, have lost viewers because of a lack of quality. To combat this many local news organizations have rolled back the amount of crime stories and if done make sure to give context to both sides so it doesn’t appear biased to one particular group, in particular to minorities. While changes are productive, many local news organizations have realized that with the increasing emergence of social media and immediate access to the news, reaching people and especially younger people through the digital landscape is essential for its long-term survival.