Also referred to as television news music, the news theme is a specific section of a musical piece used to identify a screen media program most commonly in the genre of news and documentary. News themes are most commonly used at the beginning of a program, between advertisement intervals, and at the end of a program. Additional news themes are evoked to denote changes in segment or story, for instance, from sport to weather during the show. The news theme is designed to redirect the audience’s attention back to the programming at hand. This entry discusses the history of news themes and their various uses.

In the 1920s and the 1930s, entire screenplays were written around theme songs by Tin Pan Alley songwriting teams. These ...

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