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A slightly different take

Posted by Word Camel on June 18, 2003

In Reply to: Longer odds posted by Henry on June 18, 2003

: : Hi,

: : Could anyone help me with the bracketed sentences? I don't quite understand.

: : Miller (1993,1994), in his research into media portrayals of the conflict in Northern Ireland during 'the Troubles', argues that current affairs and documentaty programmes were frequently regarded by government officials as the most difficult to manage:

: : (It is precisely for this reason that official agencies attempts to elucidate the exact nature of queries and even of proposed programmes before permitting access. The access that is granted is heavily bounded by the interests of the sources, but in the end they are betting on slightly longer odds with hard news stories, which have less space and time and are less likely to do investigative reports. )

: : Thanks a lot.

: The official agencies find it easier to manage briefer news reports than current affairs and documentary programmes. Any access granted to reporters in Northern Ireland must protect the source involved. The news stories offer longer odds. This is a betting term and I am not sure of the intended meaning here. I think it means that for the agencies the rewards will be greater from the news stories.

I don't think that the "sources" in in this case refers to the reporters' sources. I think it refers to the source of the request for access. I think they probably mean access to information.

So I think it's saying that government agencies try to find out as much as possible about the interests of journalists requesting information before making it available. The decision to grant access is heavily influenced or 'bounded' by whether the source of the request is sympathetic to the government. However, it is also influneced by whether the information is intended for use in a news report or a documentary. The is less likelihood (longer odds) that releasing something to a journalist working on a topical news story will have an embarrassing or unintended consequence for the government because these reports have limited space, the journalists have limited time to complete them and are much less likely to be investigating incidents in depth.