News is based on actual occurrences, situations, thoughts and ideas.
Yet not all facts are news.
Journalists can ’t write fiction or make up things that didn ’t happen Stephen Glass, a star Young reporter at the New Republic was fired for fabricating dozens of his magazine stories. The movie “Shattered Glass” recounts the scandal. L.A. Times photojournalist Brian Walski was fired after editors discovered that he used his computer to manipulate this front page photo to look more nefarious than what actually happened.
Misleading and misrepresentation is also frowned upon … Shirley Sherrod was forced to resign from her U.S. Dept. of Agriculture job after blogger Andrew Breitbart posted deceptively edited video excerpts of Sherrod's address at an event to his website
But, sometimes their sources do lie – and that ’s news….
Accuracy of General Impression The general impression--the way the details are put together and what type of emphasis is put on the details--should be accurate. Reporters should not distort the importance of a fact by giving it too much attention.
Balance in a news story is a matter of emphasis and completeness. Reporters must give each fact its proper emphasis, putting it into its proper relationship to every other fact and establishing its relative importance to the main idea or focus of the story.
News is considered balanced and complete when all significant details are included and have proper relationship to each other. The purpose of balance is to give the reader a fair understanding of the event, not a detailed account of every fact.
Reporters emphasize most recent or newest angle of story.
In the age of Twitter, news can get old very quickly…. Even though Rolling Stone broke the story about General McChrystal first, it was old news by the time the magazine actually hit the stands. In fact, some media outlets published Rolling Stone ’s story online before they did!
Proximity Readers are more interested in an event geographically near them than in one far removed
Reporters emphasize the local angle whenever possible
Readers will care much more about legislation passed by state lawmakers if it means their community is getting a new bridge or library.
Censorship, particularly in war time or times of national crisis, may change news value, sometimes keeping stories from being published for long periods of time.
The more of these aforementioned elements – timeliness, impact, prominence, weirdness, etc. – something has, the more likely it is to be considered news.
The events in Egyptian had it all – conflict, suspense, timeliness, consequence, progress, etc.
Who determines what ’s news? "The real issue is new media versus old media. New media outlets view ourselves as a source that can be used by our visitors. The old media mentality sees itself as a gatekeeper who determines what information is appropriate to share."