The manufacture of news

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The manufacture of news

  1. 1. The manufactureof NewsAdapted from Reporting Processes and Practices: Newswriting for Today’s ReadersEverette E. Dennis & Arnold H. Ismach[1981, Wadsworth Publishing Company, California, USA.]
  2. 2. conditions, situations andideas that developed over time
  3. 3. The best censored stories were not published becausethey did not fit into traditional definitions of news
  4. 4. Deciding what is news is themost important element inthe journalistic process
  5. 5. It determines how reporters and editors workIt determines the nature of information that the public getsDeciding What’s News
  6. 6. • News provides a window on the world, a frame through which citizens learn about their institutions, their leaders, other people and themselves• It provides the raw materials for social discourse, creating a shared reality for the public• News brings together information that is otherwise inaccessible and makes it available to everyone at the same timeThe importance of Newsin Society
  7. 7. • It enables governments to inform their publics, and publics to inform their governments• It focuses public attention and helps set our social and political agendas
  8. 8. • It’s not the equivalent of truth• It provides essentially superficial knowledge• It presents “acquaintance with” rather than “knowledge about” subjects of interest• It does not involve extensive verification of informationWhat news isn’t
  9. 9. • Newspapers & newscasts lack space for thorough treatment of most subjects• Reporters lack the time and knowledge to report in depth• Readers lack interestNews is superficialbecause…
  10. 10. Journalists generally agreeabout what news isn’t, butthey have real problemsidentifying just what news is
  11. 11. Deciding what’s newsusually isn’t a matter ofabsolutes, but rather of therelative newsworthiness ofdifferent subjects at a giventime
  12. 12. Space, time, and competingevents determine what ispublished
  13. 13. Political scientist Leon Sigalsuggests that nobody knowswhat news is because thereare no universally sharedcriteria to define it
  14. 14. • “when a dog bites a man, that is not news; but when a man bites a dog, that is news” [19th century editor, John Bogart]• “it is something you didn’t know before, had forgotten, or didn’t understand” [Turner Catledge, an editor of New York Times]• “news is anything that makes a reader say ‘gee whiz’Traditional definitions ofnews
  15. 15. • “news is a timely report of facts or opinions that hold interests or importance, or both, for a considerable number of people”• “news is something newspersons know when they see it, something that scholars ruminate about, something that public officials try to influence”
  16. 16. News must be defined asa journalistic report thatpresents a contemporaryview of reality withregard to a specific issue,event or situation orprocess [DeFleur andDennis,1981]
  17. 17. • Timeliness: immediacy of events and interests• Proximity: geographical & psychological closeness• Prominence: celebrity or notoriety of individuals, places or institutions• Conflict: disagreement, crisis or competitionELEMENTS OF NEWS
  18. 18. • Impact: effect of events, issues, trends &ideas• Importance: degree to which people need to know about event, and its significance to society• Oddity: the unique, the bizarre, the unexpected, the infrequent• Human interest: the degree to which the event appeals to emotion or depicts human drama
  19. 19. a common thread that runsthrough these 8 elements is‘events’
  20. 20. Journalists tend toconcentrate on eventsbecause they are connectedto visible action, rather thanideas and trends or issues
  21. 21. The primary factor inmaking news is visibility ofevents, ideas, issues andtrends to journalists
  22. 22. Organizational factors in News• Beats• Deadlines• Accessibility• Predictability• Anticipation of audience interests & acceptance
  23. 23. • Traditional news attributes that indicate impact such as consequence, proximity & utility; attributes that indicate psychological appeals, such as novelty, prominence, conflict, drama & human interest; attributes that helps our understanding such as explanation, interpretation, and currencyThree principal factors ineditorial decisions
  24. 24. • Institutional constraints that act to preserve the security of the news organization, such as social forces reflecting bureaucratic influences, socialization of staff members, mutually accepted techniques of handling news, limitations imposed by economic and staff resources
  25. 25. • Factors that determine audience acceptance of information, such as knowledge of what interests the audience.
  26. 26. News situation : readerinterests = news value
  27. 27. • To keep informed about the world around• To help make decisions about public affairs• To provide fodder for social discussionsReaders interests: whatpeople tend to use• To feel connected to the outside worldnewspapers/TV/Radio for
  28. 28. • To obtain tangible information of practical utility• To reinforce existing beliefs and find out what others believe• To provide relaxation and entertainment
  29. 29. The cult of objectivityobjectivity is the practice ofreporting facts and opinionsaccurately; it is notconcerned withestablishing theircorrectness
  30. 30. objectivity implies fairness& impartiality
  31. 31. The advent of interpretationmeant that commitment toobjectivity waned
  32. 32. objectivity that prevailed inearlier times gave way tointerpretation today due to:
  33. 33. …awareness that it did notproduce fair and truthfulaccount of the news
  34. 34. …the advent of TV quicklyusurped newspapers forspot news
  35. 35. …rapid changes in societydemanded morebackgrounding thanobjectivity could provide
  36. 36. Today’s blend of objective +interpretive reporting hasgiven rise to many storyformats that are not basedevents such as….
  37. 37. Trend Stories
  38. 38. backgrounders
  39. 39. analyses
  40. 40. think pieces
  41. 41. investigative reports
  42. 42. multiple-element stories
  43. 43. At one time in journalismthere were only two types ofnews stories: spot or hardnews and the feature
  44. 44. Today, news stories couldbe backgrounders,interpretives or newsanalyses and profiles
  45. 45. As we have just seen in thislecture, reporters todaywrite various types of newsstories other than spot news
  46. 46. Jimi KayodeMAC 203 Foundations ofNews Reporting

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