Bias in the Media: Types of Media Bias

Media Bias and Decision Making

"According to some critics, the media is capable of employing an elaborate and sophisticated array of techniques that allows reporters and media owners to slant news stories in favor of particular groups or interests. Media bias is an important topic because of its potential effects on society, particularly when it comes to the populace making informed decisions about issues that affect it the most."

Source: "Media Bias: An Overview"
Michael Aliprandini and Simone Isadora Flynn from Points of View: Media Bias, 3/1/2016, page 1.

Types of Bias

Placement or Selection Bias

Layout Placement
The editorial staff decides the importance of a topic by its placement in an article. A story can be "buried" by placing it in a section that is less read.

Commercial or Selection
Editors select stories that draw larger audiences of readers in order to meet sponsor demands.

Sensationalism Selection
Media focus on stories that emphasize fear, anger, and excitement.

Temporal Placement
Editors give follow-up and clarifying stories less prominent placement because news is expected to be current and timely.

Visual Selection
The selection of images can skew audience perception of a story's importance and the events reported; therefore, visuals are used to attract readers' attention.

Source: Lora Cowell, Librarian, HUHS Library Media Center (http://libguides.huhs.org/mediabias)


Reporting Bias

Reporting biases occur when an article is written with a particular tone or “spin” so that readers will perceive it in a certain way without applying skepticism or comparing the piece to other news outlets with a different ideology or perspective.

Source: Lora Cowell, Librarian, HUHS Library Media Center (http://libguides.huhs.org/mediabias)


Situational Bias

Complexity
 A bias that occurs when an article is written using the who, what, when, where, why and how rubric. However, in real life there are complexities that may not conform to those guidelines.

Geographic
This bias is seen when an article factors in the diversity of story through cultural and social issues. Readers located outside of that locale may have different reactions to the same story.

Definition 
A bias reflected by the way in which words take on different meanings depending on the context of use and the background/culture of the reader.

Stereotyping 
This bias can be used to understand groups and situations which are not a regular part of our lives. However, classifying and categorizing people or events can affect that way in which a story is perceived.

Source: Lora Cowell, Librarian, HUHS Library Media Center (http://libguides.huhs.org/mediabias)

Placement or Selection Biases

Layout Placement
The editorial staff decides the importance of a topic by its placement in an article. A story can be "buried" by placing it in a section that is less read.

Commercial or Selection
Editors select stories that draw larger audiences of readers in order to meet sponsor demands.

Sensationalism Selection
Media focus on stories that emphasize fear, anger, and excitement.

Temporal Placement
Editors give follow-up and clarifying stories less prominent placement because news is expected to be current and timely.

Visual Selection
The selection of images can skew audience perception of a story's importance and the events reported; therefore, visuals are used to attract readers' attention.

Source: Lora Cowell, Librarian, HUHS Library Media Center (http://libguides.huhs.org/mediabias)

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