Before you read this, maybe you'd like to take a few minutes to think about what
your definition of news is.
So, you've got your own idea of what news is? BabyPowdr here, ready to
continue.... Editor's Note: As BabyPowdr says below, she got most of
this article's information (and possibly ideas?) from a handout she got in
class.?? Unfortunately, since she didn't send us the name of the handout, we
can't tell what she wrote herself and what comes straight from the pamphlet.??
However, since what's in this article is very valuable to readers of the Times
(and all other media, from TV to real world newspapers!), we're publishing it.??
If BabyPowdr would post in the BBS below the name of the pamphlet and its
publication information, that would be excellent help.?? So -- read on!
If you asked a dozen professional news people what their definition of news was,
you'd get a dozen different answers. The dictionary defines news as "recent
events and happenings, especially those that are unusual or notable." Okay
if I cleaned my room up yesterday for the first time in three years, would fit this
definition, but it would hardly make the morning paper or the newscast on
television. Sure, it's unusual, and it's notable to my family, but the world
just doesn't care. The world news is based on unusual happenings, from terrible
tragedies to terrific triumphs. Really awful, or really great.
For you and me, the consumers of the news, news might be what is in the papers
or on the TV at night, but the people who run the news, edit the papers and tell
the stories are the ones deciding what news is or isn't. They choose partly
by making educated guesses at what the public wants to know. For example, if a
person eats a fish -- that is not news. If say, a fish eats a person, that IS news.
If a fish eats a person in your town, it will certainly be news in your town.
Especially if your town is like mine, built on the farmlands -- no water for hours
and BAM this barracuda eats Farmer Joe from down the road. The news favors the
The want of journalists to report the unusual, a desire encouraged by the
audience's attraction to the bizarre, explains why so much of the news is "bad
news." News dwells on tragedy, accidents, crimes and generally negative human
events. Since planes are so safe, people usually so careful and honest, buildings
rarely burn to the ground, and criminals are only a small part of the
population, these negative events are precisely what is unusual. Think about it
this way -- a society where "good news" would be the unusual or out of the
ordinary would be a sorry place to live.
But all that is unusual is not news (like me cleaning my room, for example), nor is
all news unusual. There are other qualities that make stories newsworthy.
Timeliness -- News should be new. There is no such thing as old news; only
history. Instant news has become a standard. This of course, is hard to do in a
Significance of the Event -- The news value demands the most personal
the part of the news editor. News events must be in some way important to the
Closeness to Audience -- News is usually within the proximity to the audience.
Like a fire in, say, Siberia is probably not news in North America.
Importance of People Involved --
If it's someone well-known, it's news. Usually. Like if their house is robbed or
burned down or they are in an accident, you're probably going to hear about it.
Human Interest -- News has to be interesting, some say entertaining, or the
audience will not read or watch it. Some stories are included with the news
because they are dramatic or have 'human interest' value. This value can
make an otherwise minor story into real news. Like your neighbor's house burning
down on a holiday like Christmas or Thanksgiving or something.
So that is news. News is pretty interesting to study -- LoL!
All of this
information came off a handout we got in Media Studies the other day. I figured
it'd be interesting enough to make a article out of. Seeing as I read that the
Whyville Times staff
wants more newsworthy articles, this can give you readers an idea on how to choose a
"newsworthy" topic to write about for the paper. Hopefully you learned something.
Editor's Note: What makes good news? How do you know when to trust something you read or see on the news? Hey -- how do you know when to trust what you read in the Times?
I guess my question comes down to, do you really know who's telling you the news? And where do you go to find out what you want to know?
Please share your thoughts in the BBS below!