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'Is Winona Ryder News?' Dallas Morning News Asks Prof. Jeff McCall '76

November 8, 2002

November 8, 2002, Greencastle, Ind. - A story in today's Dallas Morning News, which examines the media's fascination with celebrity trials such as the Winona Ryder shoplifting case, includes analysis from a DePauw University media watcher. "The day after a landmark election that saw Republicans take control of Congress, there was one story that TV's cable-news commentators couldn't stop talking about," writes Tom Maurstad. "The guilty verdict in a shoplifting trial... 'The question you have to ask is 'Why?' Why have the news media gone so far overboard on a story about a nonviolent crime and a mid-level celebrity?' says Jeffrey McCall, a communications professor at DePauw University in Indiana," notes the article entitled, "Reality-as-entertainment feeds frenzy to cover celebrity scandals: Why Winona?"

Dr. McCall, who is a 1976 graduate of DePauw, also tells the Morning News, "From a pure news definition, [the Ryder trial] doesn't rate very high. But it's easy to cover, there's plenty of dramatic storytelling possibilities, and it attracts viewers. I think it's a good illustration of the warped news judgment dictating a lot of what gets covered these days."

You can read the story in its entirety at the newspaper's Web site by clicking here.

Source: Dallas Morning News