Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972048 | Print ISBN: 9780761929574 | Online ISBN: 9781412972048| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
James R. Upshaw
Television news commentators populate a historically narrow but sometimes powerful dimension of broadcast journalism that goes beyond reporting. Commentators peer beneath the surface of news developments in an effort to expose, explain, or illustrate to viewers what the news really means to them. If this step fails to occur, some stories are at risk of being whisked across the television screen too quickly for viewers to understand them well, let alone to benefit from how a commentator can illuminate the issues that stories raise. Each of television's analytical reports, news-based essays, and opinion pieces—often lumped together as “commentary”—not only is delivered by a human voice, as in radio, but also comes with a human face. Combined, these factors can heighten viewer attention to important news issues. Even traditional journalists often put aside strict journalistic neutrality, most dramatically in moments of crisis, to present their interpretations of events. Some research suggests ...