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The mass media contain advertising, entertainment opinion pieces and news. Most of your work in a media-writing course will involve producing news stories

newsworthiness to an event or situation. But what kinds of events or situations exhibit these qualities? In other words, what topics make news?

Research by the Gannett newspaper chain identified in priority order the following types of stories as most popular with readers

* Natural disasters and tragedies
* Local economic news
* National economic news
* Service information (TV schedules, weather news, and so on)
* Local people and events
* National politics and the president
* Energy, conservation, the environment .* Things to see and do in the area
* International leaders and events
* Good Samaritan stories
* Humour stories and features
* Accidents and crimes
* Health and medical advice
* Schools and education * How fast the community is growing

Another major consideration in deciding what’s news is the nature of the medium. Radio news needs the voices of news makers and the sounds of news events, such as the roar of crowds, or of rockets.


Story Ideas Generated

Phone calls, news releases, reporters, wire services, print, audio and video syndicates and satellite news services-all are sources for story ideas

Ideas Evaluated

Importance, audience interest and other news values of the story idea are judged. Editor decides whethsr (0 assign story for further coverage or to just have it written up from Information in the newsroom

Stories Covered

Stories are assigned to reporters in the field. Reporters phone In stories or send them back electronlcallv Reporters also bring stories back to newsroom for processin:

Space/Time Assessed

Various editors or producers determine how much, If any, space (print) or time (broadcast) is available for each story

Stories Assigned

Writers and reporters are assigned stories not yet written, new items for that day or later. Stories completed by reporters, but not used, may be assigned for updating and rewriting to meet space and time requirements

Story Edited and Designated for Processing

In broadcast stories, tapes· are edited to meet time , requirements. In both print and .broadcast, stories are edited for fit, accuracy, coherence, and style. Slides and graphics are prepared for broadcast stories. Headlines are written; type and sometimes photographs are produced for print stories.

Factors Determining News Value

Four main factors determine the value of news. We have already mentioned the first one: Timeliness. The reader wants his news to be new. That is why he buys his paper or listens to the broadcast. The miracle of present-day communication frequently makes the announcement of the news almost coincide with the instant of its happening.

The reader finds more interest in a minor event close at hand than in a more important event miles away. James Gordon Bennett, Jr., when he first published his Paris Edition of The Herald, gave his reporters this principle in the epigram, itA dead dog in the.Rue de Louvre (the paper’s address) is of more interest than a flood in China.” Today news of purely local concern is the bedrock on which the publishers of American newspapers outside the largest cities build their circulation, and surveys show that news of international importance, except major events, is of interest to only 10 per cent of readers in large communities and to so small a proportion of readers in the small cities that no percentage figures have been worked out

Is the news reported important or in any way significant?We might naturally think that this factor should head our list, but news practice decrees otherwise, for the touchstone, as noted before, is interest. The trivial story, if imbued with interest, frequently ranks in newsworthiness above announcements which are important and significant, but dull. This if; no new thing. Away back in 51 B.C. Cicero complained that his professional news correspondent was giving him too much of sporting events and not enough about the political situation. Editors get the same complaint today from their thoughtful readers. They know they can’t satisfy everyone. They know, also, that “interesting” news, which encompasses much that is trival, attracts the mass audience, while the merely important is addressed to a small public. Nevertheless, the better papers and the better newscasts seek to give news that holds significance and importance its proper place and treatment

Posted on November 27, 2015 in Introduction to News writing

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