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Blog No. 11

I recently read an article online about Arizona’s Senator Ron Gould’s new gun bill. The article discussed Senate Bill 1201, which would require college campuses and other communities to allow people to possess and carry concealed weapons. A few days later, I watched an episode of The Colbert Report in which Stephen Colbert also discussed the Senator’s new bill. Colbert’s report on the topic was far more in-depth than the short news article that I read. He broke down the bill very carefully, highlighting some rather outlandish, but significant, facts such as, “people who, for example, forget that they are carrying a weapon and accidentally tell an officer that they aren’t armed” will be protected, or that his bill would consider shooting a gun a crime only if the person shooting the gun did it “knowingly” and “only if the prosecution could prove they knew that shooting the gun could result is someone’s death or injury.” These facts were not mentioned in the article even once. A good news article should be thorough and informative, and I believe that the issues Colbert highlighted are important for people to know in order to make informed decisions. Although it was clear that Colbert was mocking the Senator’s bill by making sarcastic jokes and offering comedic satire, he still, in my opinion, did an excellent job at delivering the story and bringing about awareness to his viewers. Because of Colbert’s crazy antics and comedic angles, I think it’s safe to say that his form of broadcasting could be considered sensational journalism, or “news that exaggerates or features lurid details and depictions of events in order to get a larger audience” (Pavlik & McIntosh, 2011, p. 286). There are plenty of generic news shows to choose to get your information from, but I think that people like Stephen Colbert and John Stewart may take the sensational journalism stance to appeal to a larger audience…and that’s just fine with me.

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