Media Studies – “If It Bleeds, It Leads”


“If it bleeds, it leads.”

Any time you turn on the news, almost anywhere in Canada, North America or the world you will hear of murders, or thefts, money loss and violence. That’s all we ever seem to hear about and that’s because it makes the most entertaining television. The statement, “if it bleeds, it leads,” is a perfect way to describe what goes on the news. No matter what’s happening in the world, our news crew finds and shows the most horrific of all news. If there’s a murder or a shooting, they spend the entire news hour covering it. They show the same clips over and over again and milk everything they can from it. If there is good news in the world, we see it quickly in between the most current murder stories.  As a Canadian I am used to this type of news treatment. Even though we all hate to hear about deaths or crime, we all seem to be drawn to it. We’re drawn to crazy and dramatic things so the news likes to focus all of its material around it. Most things these days are created to entertain and the news does. Of course the implicit message of the news would be to show us what’s happening in our world but an explicit message is that it just entertains us or scares us. The funny thing is that we enjoy both. We enjoy being scared; it’s a form of entertainment we all take part in so it’s made it easier for the news people to only show us crime. They show us everything wrong in the world to entertain us, we watch it, therefore we listen and depend on what they are saying and the cycle continues. The crime rate in the world may never go down but it definitely won’t go down if we keep encouraging it with our news coverage. If we don’t start seeing happier things, we will lose hope in our world and there will be nothing to stop us from destroying it. I for one enjoy hearing about the Royal Wedding. Even though it can get quite annoying it’s at least something happy and enjoyable. It’s what our news should be showing. if they would only learn how to tone things down a bit so we don’t want to break our TVs and radios every time the subject of the wedding comes up.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Ms. Szewchuk
    May 10, 2011 @ 18:30:19

    Good job of explaining how the news constructs our world as negative, but
    I think you have confused explicit and implicit messages. The explicit message is the specific information that a media text gives, e.g. “Youth, 15, knifed on platform of Subway station X, police search for black male suspect 16-18 years old.” The implicit message would be everything we might read into that message, e.g Subway station X is a dangerous place to be, young black males are violent. We may not take that implicit message from a single news report, but if we hear enough news reports involving negative things happening in certain areas perpetrated by certain types of people, we start to form generalizations about those places and people. Just as the an interview subject observed in the clip we saw, it’s not that those specific things aren’t happening, it’s that they are always reported on, making it seem as if that’s the only thing that is happening in certain areas around the city.

    While the royal wedding was a positive story, the saturation of new stories on the topic created a similar type of construction – it made us believe that the only event happening in the UK on April 29 was the royal wedding, and that all the British people were thrilled about it. In reality, many Brits couldn’t have cared less about William and Kate getting married, but they weren’t usually included in news stories surrounding the event.


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