Audience Research

Audience Research
Just as we started the Audience Research part of our News Project, something unprecedented in history happened – The Storming of the US Capitol Building in Washington on 6th January.  Our lesson was the morning after this happened. This was an ideal time to form a focus group to discuss how this event was shown by the media to their audience.

Our focus group was Me (Gareth), Ellie, Adam, Harley, Jack and Charlie G. We researched and discussed the various news sources that we each used, other news sources that we didn’t tend use, bias in reporting the news and whether audiences are aware of bias (e.g. Fox News in the USA being very Pro-Trump), and whether news is honestly reported or is “Fake News” as Donald Trump would have us believe.

Ellie took of our discussion. They are at the end of this page.

We created a PowerPoint and added images and information about the Storming of the US Capitol Building to it. We found a wide variety of information of many different types, for example YouTube clips, reports from news sites, comments from various social media such as twitter. News Websites such as “Sky News Breaking” had given blow by blow accounts of what was happening. Even though it was happening in the USA, the BBC in the UK were covering it too, which shows how wide the audience for news is nowadays, it is worldwide.

There was a great deal of discussion about it on social media. Whereas comments on social media from individuals are not crafted for a particular audience, often a discussion is started after a news item, so the news channel know the kind of tone to take for their particular audience. For example, Fox News on social media focused on the “patriots” who were trying to stop the US election from being “stolen” from Donald Trump, because that is the type of editorial that their audience wants to hear, therefore they increase their audience base by taking that approach. Others like NBC are watched more by Democrats than Republican so they focused on the vandalism and law breaking. News Stations, papers, online channels all know their own audience and have an appropriate editorial to appeal to their audience base.

We used the PowerPoint at the bottom of this page to present our findings and focus group discussions back to the rest of the class.

As a result of this research, we have all become more aware of how a target audience influences what is written, be it news, or fiction film, or documentary. If you don’t know your target audience, you will probably create inappropriate content.

Regarding News content and audience, we decided to base our News Show on 3 large current world events, since most people would be likely to have heard of them. They are Brexit, Covid-19 and “Will Donald Trump leave the White House?”. But because since we are creating a satire, we expect our target audience to enjoy humour, so we have presented each story in a humorous way.