Are children's TV programs suitable for the kids who are watching? In the
news, do reporters fairly represent males and females in covering the issues?
Is one side of a story left out? Have reporters and news organizations told
Media analysts try to answer these questions. Also called media critics,
they are the watchdogs of the information world. They carefully observe what
is being written and broadcast. And they comment on what they see. Analysts
help us sort out the flood of information being sent through airwaves, publications
and advertising each day.
Jennifer Pozner is the director of the women's desk at Fairness and Accuracy
in Reporting (FAIR), a media watch group of journalists and activists. She
believes that media analysis truly affects the way people interpret and digest
"Media analysis, if it's done in the right way, gives people the tools
through which they can learn to really understand the world around them as
informed citizens and as intelligent, clear thinking, critically thinking
individuals. Media analysis give us a way to understand what we're trained
culturally not to...and that's why it's so important that we do this work,"
Analysts communicate well. They have keen analytical minds and the ability
to make connections between what's on TV and what's going on in real life.
Sometimes those connections are obvious; other time they're hidden.
Analysts typically require a mixture of journalistic, artistic and analytical
skills. Pozner loves the variety of tasks she's faced with daily.
"It's a job which allows me to do a lot of different things that I like
to do at the same time, whether it's writing, public speaking, radio, magazines,
action alerts, website stuff, panel discussions, public debates, community
forums -- the whole shebang!" she says.
Many analysts also teach college-level courses on the media. Others work
for think-tanks. There, they would analyze a specific issue such as the environment
Some large newspapers, magazines and television networks employ their own
media analysts, as do some political campaigns. Other analysts are self-employed
as consultants, freelance journalists or book authors.
Media analysts are often at the whim of the news. They can be called to
work whenever a major story breaks. Take the car accident involving Princess
Diana. Many newspapers, including the New York Times, printed stories analyzing
early media coverage of the crash a day after it happened. The same goes for
any big news story.