The tyranny of the majority: The culture of conformity in the local television newsroom

Russomanno, Joseph Anthony. 
 University of Colorado at Boulder ProQuest Dissertations Publishing,  1993. 9423537.

Abstract (summary)

The relationship between the public and its sources of information is a substantial one. As advances in communication technology create more information options, this relationship becomes even more critical to society. The prominence of television news within American culture is well-documented. Television newscasts are now the public's primary source of information. It is therefore on the shoulders of television news managers where an enormous responsibility lies. In examining the corporate culture of the television newsroom, then, this vital channel of communication between the American people and a variety of institutions is better understood.

This study examines the local television newsroom from a variety of theoretical perspectives, using relevant literature, interviews, and a survey as data bases. Supported by the same philosophical underpinnings which fortify the First Amendment, it is posited that there is perhaps no better meeting place for free expression and a private, non-government setting than the local television newsroom. The production and reporting of news on television is an endeavor which has at its heart creativity. Journalists work best when they are allowed to be creative within the context of their work. To foster creativity, environments which permit and encourage the exploration of ideas which lie outside narrowly-drawn, professionally accepted norms are required. Those tend to be surroundings characterized by freedom--freedom of thought and of expression. Organizations which establish these kinds of environments increase their opportunities for success.

Instead, the newsroom workplace is often a culture of conformity. The ability to step outside accepted procedures and practices, thereby infusing the product with greater creativity, is typically discouraged. Local television journalists are dissuaded from even expressing thoughts which could potentially become foundations for creative insight. A sizable portion of newsroom employees say they have been punished or penalized in some manner merely for expressing opinions which may conflict with those of their managers. This study resulted in a clearer picture of the television newsroom, its culture, and the extent to which it permits free expression and nurtures an environment in which creative ideas can emanate. That these ideas may ultimately translate into more relevant and responsible sorts of journalism, television newsrooms may enhance their contributions to society.

Indexing (details)

Mass media;
0708: Mass media
0391: Journalism
0454: Management
Identifier / keyword
Communication and the arts; Social sciences
The tyranny of the majority: The culture of conformity in the local television newsroom
Russomanno, Joseph Anthony
Number of pages
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 55/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Trager, Robert
University of Colorado at Boulder
University location
United States -- Colorado
Source type
Dissertation or Thesis
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL