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A Nose For News 1
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A Nose For News 1



This presentation for the module A Nose For News explores what news is and what skills journalists need.

This presentation for the module A Nose For News explores what news is and what skills journalists need.



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  • Some people wouldn’t know a story if it bit them on the bottom. It’s instantly having that feel that there’s a story to tell.
  • 2. Media has become fragmented. So many people have access to producing video and audio content. Is it trustworthy? Journalists now have had to provide content for multi platforms. 3. Story telling is at the heart of journalism; journalists make judgments on professional experience; all journalists are content providers 4. Point made by Greg Dyke, former BBC DG. Do not be manipulated
  • Journalists are news makers. They set the news agenda. They determine how the audience will perceive issues and stories. They present information to the the widest audience and cover all kinds of people. Spin drs and PR try to put twist on the news but journalists need to search for the truth. News is constructed but we have to think of ways of developing new audiences for news. 4 - in people, places, issues, events, current affairs. What are the issues of the day? Be a jack of all trades but master of none Ambition, determination, enthusiasm. It’s not about presenting. It is not glamourous. You need to be open minded, creative and see the bigger picture. Do not be blinkered. Do something - get work experience. Start at the bottom and work up.
  • Newsworthiness depends on circumstances surrounding it and the target audience group.
  • Highly subjective but every day people in the media need to decide which stories deserve coverage Put yourself into the shoes of the viewer, listener, reader - what do they want ? Attracting viewers, readers, etc is important - without them you have no media - those in news have to present what is called infotainment - information presented in an entertaining way. Think about space – newspaper with a few pages has a higher threshold than one with lots of space to fill. Radio and TV has a higher threshold than newspapers because it has less space, Logistics – news gathering process. Having access of people and institutions. Editors cannot afford to have reporters sat around twiddling thumbs. Courts, councils, sports generate stories regularly. Time – an event must be topical with publication period. No paper will carry a story that has happened earlier than the publication of the previous edition. Radio and TV bulletins update news on last bulletin.
  • Tip offs - beware of anonymous sources; question the motives of people offering tip offs, seek a second source, protect your sources and understand off the record List servs are subscriber based - like an electronic magazine - all journalists should subscribe to these especially if you are investigating a subject area as you’ll get up-to-date information on subjects Newsgroups on the internet (journalism) - you can post messages on boards. News filters alert you to news stories breaking - BBC have an e-mail news alert All journalists should visit places on the web where news is being alerted. Favorite them. Read them every day. Keep abreast of what is happening.
  • Galtung and Ruge’s news criteria – published research in the Journal of International Peace Research in 1965. Looked at presentation of Cuba, Congo and Cyprus crises in four foreign newspapers. Harcup and O’Neill updated these in 2001 to include celebrity, entertainment, surprise, bad news, good news, magnitude, relevance, follow-ups, media agenda. Topcial – wars are topical. Some events continue over long periods. The 2 nd WW, gulf war, etc.
  • New journalists have a problem with the very start - finding an idea - where do I start?
  • What more do we need to know?
  • The title refers to what the news editor will ask you. Reporters need to sell the story to the editor. They judge the story against news values. Journalism is about finding and telling stories. A nose for news means someone who knows what a story is and doesn’t need someone from outside to tell them what they should be covering. News values tell us what is newsworthy and it comes down to who the audience is. There has to be a reason for gathering the story
  • What makes a news story? Just because someone approaches you and says I’ve got a great story for you does not mean it is. A newsworthy event is not necessarily news. News is something published or broadcast. Newsworthiness depends on circumstances - TA and the issues surrounding it
  • Will the TA empathise with it? Is it serious enough to have an effect - do they need to know it? Conflict or tragedy Quirky? Surprising? Does it make the audience smile? Laugh? Is it entertaining? Does it engage the audience? Does it stir up emotions? as above Relevant to the locality Can it be followed up? Is it personal? NEWS MUST BE TOPICAL = FRESH.
  • Local news needs to have local stories

A Nose For News 1 A Nose For News 1 Presentation Transcript

  • A Nose For News What is News? Journalism Skills
  • Module Aims
    • To study the theory, principles, potential and limitations of research
    • Treatment of stories, develop personal contacts
    • Identify and assess news sources; substantiate stories
  • A Nose for News
    • Someone who knows what a story is and doesn’t need someone from outside to tell them what they should be covering
  • Why does journalism matter?
    • News is available on TV, radio, online and on the mobile
    • Digital revolution means anyone can produce a report and put it on the web
    • Good journalism - story telling
    • Be fair and be right, but above all be bold
  • Journalism Skills
    • Friendly
    • Story telling - natural
    • Writing - grammar, spelling, punctuation
    • Interest
    • Time keeping
    • Long hours
  • News
    • What’s the difference between a newsworthy event and news?
    • A newsworthy event does not necessarily become news, just as news is often about an event which is not newsworthy
  • What is news?
    • News is -
    • Fresh new exclusive local
    • Interesting educational informative
    • Entertaining immediate life changing
    • … ..what else is news?
  • Newsworthiness
    • Highly subjective - is there a right or wrong?
    • It’s what the audience wants
    • Process should be objective rather than relying on a ‘gut feeling’
    • Threshold criteria (space, logistics, time)
  • News stories
    • News comes to us from different places -
    • Tip-offs press releases pressure groups listservs newsgroups
    • Other media local council government
    • Contacts archives
    • fire police hospital RNLI
  • What is News?
    • News is:
    • Relevant - has to relate to people (TA)
    • Educational - will it empower people?
    • Informative - will it change people’s lives?
    • Exclusive - no one has this information
    • New - topical
    • Entertaining - does it make people happy?
    • Interesting - do people sit up and take notice?
  • Types of News
    • Emergencies
    • Crime
    • Human Interest
    • Political (local/national)
    • Planning and Developments
    • Conflict and controversy
    • Pressure Groups
    • Industry
    • Health
    • Personalities
    • Sport
    • Seasonal news
    • Special local interest
    • Weather
    • Traffic
    • Animals
  • Generating ideas
    • Journalists get an idea
    • Find information to develop idea (interviews, online research, documents)
    • Story produced - print/TV/radio
  • Guidelines
    • What do we know?
    • What is our journalistic purpose?
    • What are our ethical concerns?
    • Which policies should we consider?
    • Which other voices should we include in the decision making process?
    • Who will be affected by the decision?
    • What are the consequences of the actions?
    • What are the alternatives?
    • Who will publicly explain our actions?
  • What’s the story? ? NEWS VALUES AUDIENCE
  • I’ve got a great story for you!
    • Newsworthy events
    • What do YOU think is news?
  • Fieldwork
    • 1. You are setting up a new publication/TV/radio station in your area. Think of ten important contacts you would make in the community. Find out their name, job title and phone number.
  • 6pm local bulletin
    • What do you put in the running order…
    • 900 job losses at Youngs
    • 88 year old granny reunited with lost son after 60 years
    • New airport for region
    • Mariners go bankrupt
    • Fireman rescue man from drain after 48 hours
  • Newspaper headline
    • What would you put on the front page?
    • Council leader quits after money scandal
    • Meals on wheels service closes
    • School raises £200 for YMCA
    • 2 yr old needs £1million for heart transplant
  • Fieldwork
    • Go through each story and in your view rate each in terms of relevance, significance, immediacy, interest and entertainment.
    • Award each 3 points (3 = v. important)
  • Is it a news story?
    • Ask yourself these questions -
    • Is it relevant?
    • Important?
    • Bad news?
    • Unusual?
    • Happy?
    • Interesting?
    • 7. Controversial?
    • 8. Will it affect the audience?
    • 9. Is it local?
  • So consider….
    • Think like the audience
    • Decide what the story is about before you start writing
    • Don’t let your biases come into play
    • Think about the words
    • Let the entertainment supersede the information
  • Contacts
    • Press Officers
    • Tipoffs (hoax or real?)
    • Networking (shaking hands)
    • Contacts book (little black book)
    • Importance of contacts (love them!)
  • Things to do
    • Buy yourself a notepad
    • Make sure your notepad and pen go with you everywhere!
    • Who do you think is the typical listener to the radio station nearest to your home?
    • Think back. Can you recall five big stories and remember where you were when you first heard the news?