Neil Postman Steve Powers
How to Watch TV News: Revised Edition
March 01, 2019 Comments.. 449
How to Watch TV News Revised Edition A scathing and prescient look at television news now updated for the new tech savvy generation Television news genuine information or entertainment fodder Fifteen years ago Neil Postman a pioneer in

  • Title: How to Watch TV News: Revised Edition
  • Author: Neil Postman Steve Powers
  • ISBN: 9780143113775
  • Page: 300
  • Format: Paperback
  • A scathing and prescient look at television news now updated for the new tech savvy generation Television news genuine information or entertainment fodder Fifteen years ago, Neil Postman, a pioneer in media education and author of the bestselling Amusing Ourselves to Death, and Steve Powers, an award winning broadcast journalist, concluded that anyone who relies exclusiA scathing and prescient look at television news now updated for the new tech savvy generation Television news genuine information or entertainment fodder Fifteen years ago, Neil Postman, a pioneer in media education and author of the bestselling Amusing Ourselves to Death, and Steve Powers, an award winning broadcast journalist, concluded that anyone who relies exclusively on their television for accurate world news is making a big mistake A cash cow laden with money from advertisers, so called news shows glut viewers with celebrity coverage at the cost of things they really should know Today, this message is still appallingly true but the problems have multiplied along with the power of the Internet and the abundance of cable channels A must read for anyone concerned with the way media is manipulating our worldview, this newly revised edition addresses the evolving technology and devolving quality of America s television news programming.

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    1 Blog on “How to Watch TV News: Revised Edition

    1. Trevor says:

      This was short and to the point (well, mostly to the point). It is a bit dated, so you can skip most of the figures, but then figures like how much an ad cost to produce in 1990 go in one ear and out the other anyway. I might use some of the ideas in this book when I’m teaching next year. This book doesn’t say, Don’t watch TV news – but it does say you should cut your TV news watching by a third and that watching TV news tends to make you depressed and fearful. The best of this book, tho [...]

    2. The Brain in the Jar says:

      Neil Postman, as a philosopher, is deceptively simple. His writing is so easy that by this point it took me seconds to read a page. McLuhan’s name also appear, so it’s obvious he’s not providing new paradigms of thought. He continues McLuhan’s critical examination of technology, not taking it for granted by asking what it means. If the medium is the message, then this is book expands on news as a medium.Before I talk about this book, I must make the theory clear. When McLuhan uses it, he [...]

    3. Ike says:

      I find Neil Postman's writings to be full of profound insight in our society today. During this last political season and Trump's presidency, I find Postman's writings to be extra illuminating and wise.A few favorite quotes:"News is not entertainment. It is a necessity in a democratic society." pg.10"What the American people don't know can kill them." pg.95"TV news does not reflect normal, everyday life." pg. 159"The wise will not drown." pg. 169

    4. 'Izzat Radzi says:

      The discourse is not just on tv news, it actually also covers child education, televised court trial (which profit the tv companies), and a few chapters of technical stuff of the production of Tv News, perhaps because of the collaboration with Steve Powers, who is in the industry. And unfortunately, because of that, I didn't quite enjoyed his part, because I find when Postman wrote on something, he wrote in in a totally different way, or should better put in, philosophical way. They did suggest [...]

    5. Rebecca Newman says:

      Great book. The figures are a bit dated, it having been published 20 years ago and all, but extremely valuable anyway. Perhaps at the time of publication, the issue of government controlled and worldview 'propaganda' in news and television were not quite as pernicious but the expounding on such was the only thing, in my opinion, this book lacked.An eye-opening read for anyone who watches the TV news. A Favorite Quote:"What people don't know can kill them (to borrow from Fred Friendly, formerly o [...]

    6. Ratnakar Sadasyula says:

      While this book is about American TV News, you can as well apply the same to Indian News Channels. Substitute NBC, CNN, Fox News with NDTV, CNN-IBN, Times Now and their anchors with Barkha Dutt, Rajdeep Sardesai, Sagarika Ghose and co, it's pretty much the same. The figures might be outdated, but the point is driven home brilliantly. TV News is of the Idiots, by the Idiots and for the Idiots. The fact is TV News is not meant for intelligent analysis, it is basically the Masala News, where photog [...]

    7. Ben says:

      This is a quick read, and a nice overview of the structure of entertainment news programs and factors that influence the content. Postman however, seems to suffer from the same problem as many other well-educated people accustomed to writing for academic journals. In crossing over to popular writing, the effort to use clear, concise, and simple language makes the tone feel as though the author is talking down to the reader, as if s/he is not yet capable of critical thought. Additionally, in what [...]

    8. Matthew says:

      While I wouldn't say this book is profound, it does contain valuable insight that will change the way you view your network and cable news programs. The most interesting question posed in the book is "what is news?". I think a lot of people are aware of the type-casting of news personalities and the bias in reporting as well as the unnecessary glamour in news reporting but I'm afraid most of us forget to even ponder what should be considered news and are we in danger of "information glut" that t [...]

    9. Hilary says:

      Not quite what I was expecting, but not bad at all. This book dissects the work that goes into cobbling together a television news program - from the way that news is gathered to the way that the shows are produced. The actual discussion of the problems with television news programs are confined to the latter chapters, but I can understand the reasoning for this for by the time you get to them you understand what goes into the shows a bit better. Would make an excellent textbook, but requires su [...]

    10. Alicia Fox says:

      This book tended to overstate its points, but they're good points. It made me rethink the way I watch TV news. That is, I know it's all mindless entertainment--celebrity gossip, pundits, sound bites, etc. But I'd never thought about how watching the news makes one feel informed without necessarily being informed. "We know of many things (everything is revealed) but about very little (nothing is known)."

    11. Elizabeth Theiss says:

      Postman's media ecology perspective on TV news caused me to give up TV news almost entirely, though I confess that I still love the PBS News Hour. The limitations of the medium (time constraints, necessity of profits, need for drama and human interest) are such that it just isn't very useful for understanding the world. Postman and Powers explain why with zest and plenty of examples. Though brief and entertaining, this book is brilliant.

    12. Jeffrey says:

      Here's the thing. This book is outdated. You're not going to glean much from this that you didn't already know. And Postman, at times, sacrifices insight for glibness. But from a historical point of view (this book was published in the early 1990s), he's spot on--year's before these ideas became a mainstream way of thinking about TV news. It's a must-read for those interested in the effects of TV news on public & community rhetoric.

    13. Doyle says:

      A quick read with valid core concepts everyone should know. Although some data is dated as a lot of other people point out in their reviews, after reading this you will research on your own to validate. A must read for anyone with a television set or who watches news or commercials via other mediums.

    14. Aketzle says:

      Really outdated, but still very informative. I wonder what the authors of this book think now! This was before the rise of Fox "News," so things now are far, far worse than they were when they first saw the need for a book like this. It was very easy to read - definitely recommended to all citizens of our democracy. It makes you think in different ways about the information you're being fed.

    15. Colin says:

      Neil Postman is absolutely brilliant most of the time, though this is certainly not my favorite book by him. This one is an insightful analysis of what exactly "the news" is and how it is created, marketed, and delivered. You may think you already know the answer, but this book forces you to think about this in a serious way. Definitely worth reading, if only once.

    16. Maggie says:

      well worth the time to read. some examples are starting to become dated but the reasoning and the essential points are timeless. highly recommended.

    17. Jeffrey Bumiller says:

      Great! Anyone who still believes that TV news is unbiased or (in some cases) even news at all, will have those illusions shattered with this book. First published in 1992 and still holds up.

    18. Tom says:

      Nearly 20 years old it stands the test of time well as much of how news is produced remains the same although done by fewer people and new technologies.

    19. Barry says:

      A brilliant analysis of what TV news does to the watcher. It is very easy to move many, if not most, of Postman's points into the internet era.A must-read for anyone who feels they are being manipulated by media, and even more of a must-read for those who don't.

    20. Clinton Freeman says:

      "And so, the first lesson we have to teach is that preparation for watching television news begins with the preparation of one's mind through extensive reading. This lesson is of sufficient importance that we have seen fit to include it in our preface. Having made this essential point, we will now turn our attention to all the others."(from the Preface)

    21. Barbara says:

      This is an important book for everyone who ever watches tv news. It should also be required reading for Journalism students. Even though it was written in 1992, before the age of "57 Channels and Nothing On" (doesn't that sound cute & quaint?), updates were made in 2002, so that many events are cited that most readers will remember.Before I say anything else, I think the most important thing I want to share is that if you have children *DO NOT* under any circumstances allow them to watch tv [...]

    22. Sarah says:

      I love Neil Postman. This book was a little lighter on content than I had hoped for. I studied journalism, which is where I learned of Postman and thought this book might be rich with facts. They are in there, but you'll possibly find a lot of this evident if you have familiarity with journalism. Still a decent read but not my favorite by Postman and I probably would have read something else richer in statistics and anecdotes if I had known. Hope this helps you.

    23. Noonie says:

      The authors inform you about who owns the TV news, how they determine what is "news" (or what is important to them) and why you should never assume that what is shown on the TV news is totally factual or complete. The eight recommendations from the authors at the end of the book are: 1) In encountering a news show, you must come with a firm idea of what is important, 2) In preparing to watch a TV news show, keep in mind that is it called a "show", 3) Never underestimate the power of commercials, [...]

    24. Corey Alan says:

      This is a decent introduction to the TV news industry. The book is somewhat clumsily updated and edited. The book was written in the early 90's and was then updated over a decade later. Sometimes the "updates" are newly written paragraphs inserted into the first edition text, and this has a patchy, somewhat amateurish feel to it. A version of this book with better continuity and concision, along with some documentaries and materials from the Media Education Foundation online, would support a pow [...]

    25. J.P. says:

      I think this book is well written & easy to understand. It breaks down what we consume as "news" through the medium of television, who makes the decisions, what drives those decisions, how advertising comes into play, sensationalism & so much more. If you want as close to an accurate picture as possible of the world you can't just follow television news because of the various factors that come to play that make the news less about what's relevant & challenging & more about what w [...]

    26. Phobos says:

      Very dated but there's some relevant information here. A lot of what is talked about was rare back then and commonplace today. For instance, news media using clips from Hollywood movies to emphasize a story. I just saw a report on shark attacks that used a scene from "Jaws". A lot of the media reports on things that the mother corporation owns. I remember CNN doing a whole series of segments about Harry Potter, the movie and the books. At the end of the report they'd have to include the fact tha [...]

    27. Kristen says:

      I just read the updated edition of this book, originally written by late media critic Neil Postman. Considering how much news some of us watch, I think this is a subject that should actually be covered in school. It reviews the nuts-and-bolts of TV news production as well as the limitations and challenges that news producers face. It also addresses the biases and limitations inherent in the visual medium. The main issue that the authors want watchers to be aware of is the effect of commercials a [...]

    28. Amy says:

      The chapter on the narrative arc of TV commercials makes this book worth reading: You are not only deficient in some way, but you lack the knowledge to fix yourself; we will educate you on a product you were unaware of; armed with this knowledge, you will improve your life. The material on how a TV news program is actually produced is dated, but the explanation of why certain types of stories make the local news -- particularly the notion that pictures that change are most compelling, and fires [...]

    29. Mark says:

      A quick two hour read, Postman covers the basics of being an informed consumer of television news. One of his best suggestions: Relieve yourself from feeling that you have to have an opinion on 1/3 fewer issues. Two reasons for this: A) the TV news format (profit driven entertainment) doesn’t allow for deep analysis of an issue anyway, so don’t feel compelled to be completely up to date on the latest drivel. B) Use time that you would normally be watching TV to inform yourself on wider-rangi [...]

    30. Nate says:

      Interesting book, but he runs out of stuff to talk about after 100 pages and ends up rambling on and repeating himself quite a bit; so sadly, the book ends on a boring and unimpressive note.Also, all of the blame-more or less-is placed with the media. Given his last few chapters of filler, I'm not sure why he never questioned why our culture desires this type of shallow sensationalized news. If the public gave the highest ratings to accurate, fact-checked, straightforward, opinion-less journalis [...]

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