Monday, November 26, 2012

Is Black Friday A News Event?

Across the country last week, print, online and broadcast journalists documented the Black Friday shopping phenomenon as though it was a presidential election.

Some outlets revealed where the best deals could be found and when. Other outlets harkened back to previous years when Black Friday shoppers became unruly and sometimes even violent.

Is Black Friday a news event? Are the journalists providing a service to their audiences or are they just promoting retailers, many of whom are their advertisers?

31 comments:

Robert Arciero said...

I believe Black Friday is newsworthy just because of the magnitude of the event. People do go crazy just over all of the deals they see. Also people do become violent, so it becomes even more newsworthy if someone is injured while trying to SHOP or even killed which has happened in the past. I believe Black Friday is newsworthy because there is potential for things like this to happen, and also for the huge amount of people who take part in Black Friday shopping.

Stephanie Cummings said...

I agree with Robert. I do believe that Black Friday is newsworthy. I believe this because the news is a way to share information with a mass audience. This allows the public to be aware of what goes on during this day of shopping. So many people take part in it, and it does sometimes become violent. If something like violence occurs at a certain store, then the news has a right to let the public know about it.

Janki said...

Yes Black Friday is news worthy as they both stated up there, when events such as people getting trampled and hospitalized because of the madness that drives these people to go after these deals, it becomes of an importance to people to know what happened and why.

Zoƫ Dean said...

I don't think Black Friday itself is newsworthy until something happens, like violence breaking out, or when it comes to reviewing the financial activity and its impact on the economy.
If journalists have an obligation to boost the economy by promoting commercialism than they are right to advertise what deals are where, but I don't think they do. Advertisers are capable of bombarding us, and reminding us of our national obsession with buying things! I think you were right to point out that these news outlets are promoting their advertisers by reporting on a day of shopping.
On the other hand, perhaps pointing a camera at some of the crazy lengths people go to has some kind of human interest/unusual angle to it, but it's not really newsworthy until something that meets newsworthy criteria actually occurs. But I guess, if a journalist is supposed to report and inform the public of what is happening....that is what's happening.

Tom Reifsnyder said...

Black Friday is one of those events whose newsworthiness is constantly debated. Personally I think it is newsworthy because it has turned into somewhat of a national holiday for shopping purposes. Millions of people across the country are going out and standing in lines for hours just to buy discounted items. The event becomes newsworthy when conflict arises. In the past, the competition for possessing these discounted items has turned violent, resulting in serious injury and even death. Such a controversy is definitely newsworthy and deserves to be broadcasted to the public.

Jeseamy Muentes said...

I think Black Friday is newsworthy because so many people participate in it. When you think of Thanksgiving, you think of the big dinner on Thursday then the great sales on Friday, it may not be what is ideal, but it is what it is. All the crazy people just add to it's newsworthiness. Whether or not they're promoting retailers or not by putting out where the best sales are can't be of that much importance because newspapers always have the small leaflets in with the paper from supermarkets that have all those sales. Why is this time of year any different? I disagree with the saying that they are promoting retailers, they're just giving people the information they want.

Sienna Vance said...

Black Friday definitely identifies with the newsworthiness criteria of human interest since so many Americans participate each year. It impacts society so much that people wait outside of stores for hours in tents, and eat their thanksgiving dinners there instead of in the comfort of their own homes. I believe that journalists HAVE to cover Black Friday because if they don't, they are simply ignoring an essential part of American culture. Therefore, they are not just promoting retailers

Moumita Ghosh said...

Black Friday definitely is newsworthy because it is a huge thing in America. Many people go shopping on this day and they need to be reminded and made aware of the news as to what is going on that day and what stores are giving what sales. People also get informed through news sometimes about the amount of crowd that will be at a certain store because people get crazy and wild on Black Friday. Last year a Walmart employee was killed because as soon as the door to the store was openned, a huge stampede of people ran inside for sales on items and ran over that employee. Black Friday is a giant event in America every year and so it is definitely newsworthy.

Amber White said...

I agree with all of the above. I definitely think it's a news worthy event. It relates to human interest- people want to know who got trampled and where it happened. It's also relevant because a lot of people want to know what the sales are and where they are and when they start.I don't think it needs to be covered as extensively as it is, but I don't see it as a real problem unless something else major is going on.

Lauren Mitchell said...

I think Black Friday is newsworthy as well. Everyone in America knows about it, and enough of us participate in it. It gets more and more outrageous each year and I think that could go under the category of: unusualness. Geographical also counts as a part of this because we usually see local news of sales, openings, and craziness that occurs on this day.

JustinWagner said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMTu4ixp9kw&feature=player_embedded

Tsega Tesfaye said...

I think Black Friday is newsworthy also. This is one of the most anticipated events every year. People put up tents days before the actual shopping day to try and snag the best deals. All types of craziness occurs. Since so many people are drawn to it, I think it deserves to be newsworthy.

Kyle Solimeo said...

I think that Black Friday is newsworthy as well for a few reasons. One is that how large the event has become and how ridiculous people act, there are even reports of physical altercations in stores over sale items. Also for the impact that it now has on people, first Black Friday was a day when "early" shopping began at 5 am, then it starting getting earlier and earlier starting at 10pm on Thanksgiving in some locations. Coming from a family with a parent who is a small business owner located in the King of Prussia Mall, this has impacted my family and the way that we now have to celebrate the holiday.

David Cornfield said...

I believe that Black Friday is definitely a news event, and also meets multiple criteria for news worthiness. It is human interest, especially in the region, and it is a big deal for a lot of people. It might be promotion sometimes, but in general it is important for a lot of shoppers and everyday people.

Alexis Ryan said...

It is definitely newsworthy! The crazy things that happen on Black Friday make the day what it is. In years past at Park City Shopping Center, in my hometown of Lancaster,A woman tried to win an XBOX gaming system by having a water drinking competition with another perspective buyer. That woman eventually died because after drinking all that water, it had to go somewhere, and after returning from the bathroom she had passed out. She died because of her lack of sodium in her body and of other reasons concerning the competition. Crazy stories like this gain human interest. Not only do these bizarre things that happen pose for newsworthiness, but also the conflict between shoppers and the number of people involved in Black Friday can be affected by everything that is happening. It's almost like a disaster waiting to happen.

Eric Newby said...

Black Friday is certainly a news event, but also an outlet for new stations to promote retailers.
After the massive presidential election, broadcasted every minute somewhere in the US, the news stations go to black friday. It has become such an unreasonably huge deal, that they almost have to report it for their viewers, who are sucked into the mania as much as the stations. Now that Black Friday/Cyber Monday is over, the stations will jump into Holiday mode.

Patricia Madej said...

I don’t feel that Black Friday is newsworthy. Though considered a new “holiday”, you don’t see newscasters reporting exclusively on Thanksgiving or Easter, do you? Maybe mentions of the holidays, but they’re never talked about as extensively as Black Friday is beat to death in the media. I believe this is just because the stations are promoting their advertisers. Journalism is a business, and they need to do what they can to make it run. Unfortunately, that’s not always the most ethical choice.

Bob Stewart said...

I think Black Friday itself is no more a news event than Easter, St. Valentines day, or Election day. But the events that transpire that day can be newsworthy. V-Day is simply Feb. 14; who cares? But an event where 30 couples are getting married may be a human interest story. Election day is just the first Tuesday of November. But what we do, or not do, on that day is newsworthy. Same goes for Black Friday. A busy department store or mall is not newsworthy. But a major traffic jam, criminal acts, or even the fact that so many people left their families to go shopping are examples of things worth covering. The stories within that context meet the criteria of timeliness, proximity, sometimes conflict, and impact in the case of traffic. Since most of us shop, it can be relevant. Of course, idiots acting like idiots is always interesting.

If journalists are supposed document history, then perhaps people ignoring their family on a holiday so they can consume products at a discounted rate is worthy of note. It could be a sign of the times and something looked at strangely in the future (one can only hope).

That being said, Black Friday is completely over-covered. Specific sales are not news, nor are the specific stores those sale are at newsworthy. It does smack of catering to the advertisers and I wonder if anyone tracked if there was a correlation between what stores reporters were stationed at and what stores had commercials on those stations. I know KYW News Radio has changed the name of the Street Road exit of I-95 to the Parx Casino Exit thanks to a sponsorship. I'm sure Target could get a deal with NBC10 fairly easily.

Emily Charles said...

Black Friday is definitely a newsworthy event because it is a huge deal to many. It has almost become a thanksgiving tradition. To ignore it would create almost an elephant in the room type of situation. Also, people do become violent which is definitely a story worth reporting/reading. As for some articles explaining certain deals, journalism is a business and each news outlet is competing for readers so they have to do what is necessary to gain readers/ an audience.

Corynn Johnson said...

Keeping the newsworthiness criteria in mind, I think that Black Friday is newsworthy.Black Friday is relevant because a lot of people engage in it, and they enjoy finding out about deals that may be advertised. Also sometimes unusual, and controversial things occur. So Black Friday is a newsworthy event.

Adam Wrigley said...

No, Black Friday (by itself) is not a newsworthy event because everyone already understands what Black Friday is and when it takes place - so why tell them again? That's like running a news story that starts with the sentence; "Today is Thanksgiving and people are going to eat turkey." (no shit) The whole idea of news is to inform someone of something, not to reiterate to them what they already know. If some interesting, unusual or impactful event were to occur during, or as a result of, Black Friday, then that would be a different story. But the fact that people go shopping at odd hours to save a few bucks on Black Friday, isn't news to anybody.

Colleen McGuigan said...

I do believe that Black Friday is news, because it does fall under much of the newsworthiness criteria. People want to know exactly where the best sales are, and the news informs the people of them. Although some people don't view black friday as news, I think as long as black friday remains a tradition, it will always be considered a newsworthy event.

Andrew Salciunas said...

Black Friday, although not being a true holliday, is one of the most celebrated days of the year. The amount of people that rush to the stores at such early hours fill malls from wall to wall. This is one of the most relevant days of the year for all early bird shoppers. People are interested in the wild shopping spree they participated in. The newsworthiness criteria gets hit in multiple areas making this a phenomenon to be broadcasted about by journalists everywhere.

Kevin Soboloski said...

Black Friday is definitely "News Worthy Criteria," it has high proximity coming right after Thanksgiving. People want to know locally where they can grab deals on toys for the select gift-giving holidays this winter. It fits under Newsworthiness criteria. You can't forget that many bizarre and unusual events happen over Black Friday that the public likes to discuss.

Jessica Neare said...

Yes, Black Friday is "News Worthy." This is an event that many people do as a tradition year after year. It is a fun and interesting at the same time, but on the other hand sometimes people tend to get unruly during the event. I have heard of stabbings and people getting hurt pretty badly. It is the journalists obligation to present citizens with the truth. When people read of these happenings they will become more and aware. The journalist inform the people in which keeps them safer.

Jessica Neare said...

Yes, Black Friday is "News Worthy." This is an event that many people do as a tradition year after year. It is a fun and interesting at the same time, but on the other hand sometimes people tend to get unruly during the event. I have heard of stabbings and people getting hurt pretty badly. It is the journalists obligation to present citizens with the truth. When people read of these happenings they will become more and aware. The journalist inform the people in which keeps them safer.

Jessica Neare said...

Yes, Black Friday is "News Worthy." This is an event that many people do as a tradition year after year. It is a fun and interesting at the same time, but on the other hand sometimes people tend to get unruly during the event. I have heard of stabbings and people getting hurt pretty badly. It is the journalists obligation to present citizens with the truth. When people read of these happenings they will become more and aware. The journalist inform the people in which keeps them safer.

Rebecca Grimm said...

I do not think that black friday is a new event. It happens every year, and people waste their time, money, and energy, on things they do not need. I do not see why news outlets think that showing the lines in front of stories is a news story. I think the football games going on are more important than black friday deals. It is nothing that the whole world needs to see because it is a given fact that people are going to go out and find deals. I alsoo believe that highlighting or promoting the violence that happens on black friday is not newsworthy either. By showing these behaviors, people think that it is okay to punch another person to get a toy for their kid. What kind of example are we showing the children of the world with this behavior?

Melissa Ly said...

Black Friday is a news event because it is relevant to many people. However, the extent to which the news discusses it is too much. It seems like they are promoting their retailers.

Jessica Repko said...

Black Friday, the actual event as Newsworthy? I would say no. This is a day meant for the retailers, yes announcing about it in any form of media is sharing information, but it is information that is unneeded for the public. There are a lot more bigger and hard hitting stories that could benefit the public a lot more significantly. But there are acts that happen on this horrid day that are worth documenting. Often times there are stories of human brutality and weird acts of rage happening from too much caffeine running through the veins of the shoppers. These, yes, document them. Warn the public of how potentially unsafe Black Friday could be, but leave the sales information to the retailers. They're the ones that should get the sales themselves.

John Lolley said...

Black Friday in my opinion is not News Worthy because all you hear about is people fighting over different products. Black Friday is not what it use to be. You use to be able to go out and have a good time on shopping on those Black Friday deals. It's not worth the longs & headaches.