Gans Reading Report
This article was by Herbert J. Gans and comes as a second chapter in his book Deciding What’s News A Study of CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, Newsweek, and Time. In preparation for this book, Gans spent 10 years in the notable television and magazine newsrooms. In this book, he looked into the listed news stations/ magazines and reported about what was discussed in the news. In this specific chapter, he focused on how what type of news was reported based on different values, which generally pertained to the general public. Herbert J. Gans is an 86-year-old German-born American Sociologist. Currently Herbert J. Gans is a sociology professor at Columbia in New York, and has been since 1971. He focuses his studies on social problems and has written various books, such as Urban Villagers, which was written 40 years ago. In this book he researched a Boston Italian neighborhood. Professor Gans also served as the 78th President of the American Sociological Association (ASA). For the past 40 years, the ASA has given out a Herbert Gans Scholarship in hopes to shape the thinking of policy makers, inform journalists and guide non-profit and public agencies. Being President of the ASA and an Emeritus professor at Columbia where primarily the biggest acts of his life, but he as also served as President of the Eastern Sociological Association and the Housing and Home Finance Agency (HHFA), which was the predecessor of the U.S Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. What Gans did at the HHFA was social researching for two new towns.
It is confusing at first to see why a well-renowned sociologist is writing a book that pertains to an entry-level journalism course, but after reading up on Professor Gans it makes sense. This article addresses which news stories are covered, based on the values of the society. He broke it down into two broad categories, social issues and moral issues. Social issues pointed more in the direction of the public disorders. These could be local, national or international but generally involved issues such as war or protest. Moral issues looked more at the wrong doings of certain individuals. The one case he brought up was Watergate and the wrong doings of President Nixon. Which stories where chosen, he argued, had more to do with demographics than the story. He said that the demographics most favored and covered by the media where middle aged, upper middle to upper class, and white. The demographics that were ignored were female and black. This chapter covers how sociology and journalism intertwined which is a topic he is perfectly credible for. Dr. Gans focused some of his books on news media, mass media and pop culture and how they related to sociology.
Deciding What’s News is still regarded to this day as being a classic while it also getting rave reviews when it was first published. One review for example, “Neither burdened by jargon nor boosted by flashy style, the book renders the biases of the media with unusual authority.” –Michael Schudson with the Chicago Tribune. For a book published 30 years ago still holds many truths about which media is reported on and which is not to this day.
Herbert J. Gans | Department of Sociology. (n.d.). Home | Department of Sociology. Retrieved September 17, 2013, from http://sociology.columbia.edu/node/184
Herbert J. Gans, President 1988. (n.d.).American Sociological Association. Retrieved September 17, 2013, from http://www2.asanet.org/governance/Gans
American Sociological Association: Herbert J. Gans Award Statement. (n.d.).American Sociological Association. Retrieved September 17, 2013, from http://www.asanet.org/about/awards/public/gans.fm