What is news?

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The basics of defining news, objectivity and standards. Based on "Reporting for the Media," by Bender, Davenport, Drager and Fedler (10th edition).

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What is news?

  1. 1. What is news?Thinking about journalism and the decision-making process
  2. 2. Dog bites man
  3. 3. Man bites dog
  4. 4. Characteristics of news• Timeliness
  5. 5. Characteristics of news• Timeliness• Impact
  6. 6. Characteristics of news• Timeliness• Impact• Prominence
  7. 7. Characteristics of news• Timeliness• Impact• Prominence• Proximity
  8. 8. Characteristics of news• Timeliness• Impact• Prominence• Proximity• Singularity
  9. 9. Characteristics of news• Timeliness• Impact• Prominence• Proximity• Singularity• Conflict or controversy
  10. 10. Types of news• What is hard news?
  11. 11. Types of news• What is hard news? – Police and fire reporting
  12. 12. Types of news• What is hard news? – Police and fire reporting – Government
  13. 13. Types of news• What is hard news? – Police and fire reporting – Government – Disasters
  14. 14. Types of news• What is hard news? – Police and fire reporting – Government – Disasters• What is soft news?
  15. 15. Types of news• What is hard news? – Police and fire reporting – Government – Disasters• What is soft news? – Human-interest feature stories
  16. 16. Types of news• What is hard news? – Police and fire reporting – Government – Disasters• What is soft news? – Human-interest feature stories – Not necessarily tied to the news cycle
  17. 17. Types of news• What is hard news? – Police and fire reporting – Government – Disasters• What is soft news? – Human-interest feature stories – Not necessarily tied to the news cycle – Often aimed at tugging on the emotions
  18. 18. Public (civic) journalism• Listen to our readers about their concerns to shape coverage
  19. 19. Public (civic) journalism• Listen to our readers about their concerns to shape coverage• Movement died out under criticism from traditional journalists
  20. 20. Public (civic) journalism• Listen to our readers about their concerns to shape coverage• Movement died out under criticism from traditional journalists• Reborn as digital tools empower the “former audience”
  21. 21. Objectivity • Ideally, it means acting as a disinterested observer reporting facts
  22. 22. Objectivity • Ideally, it means acting as a disinterested observer reporting facts • Too often it has come to mean a mindless pursuit of “balance”
  23. 23. Objectivity • Ideally, it means acting as a disinterested observer reporting facts • Too often it has come to mean a mindless pursuit of “balance” • We need tough, neutral journalism aimed at seeking out the truth
  24. 24. Special considerations• Offensive details, especially in photos
  25. 25. Special considerations• Offensive details, especially in photos• Sensationalism for its own sake
  26. 26. Special considerations• Offensive details, especially in photos• Sensationalism for its own sake• Rumors — sometimes yes, sometimes no
  27. 27. Special considerations• Offensive details, especially in photos• Sensationalism for its own sake• Rumors — sometimes yes, sometimes no• Names of rape victims are usually withheld
  28. 28. Special considerations• Offensive details, especially in photos• Sensationalism for its own sake• Rumors — sometimes yes, sometimes no• Names of rape victims are usually withheld• Names of juvenile offenders withheld
  29. 29. Accuracy• If a person says his name is “John Smith,” ask him to spell “John” and “Smith”
  30. 30. Accuracy• If a person says his name is “John Smith,” ask him to spell “John” and “Smith”• It could be “Jon Smythe”
  31. 31. Accuracy• If a person says his name is “John Smith,” ask him to spell “John” and “Smith”• It could be “Jon Smythe”• Keep asking questions until you understand what’s going on – Passing along information that you don’t quite understand leads to fuzziness and errors
  32. 32. Credits• This presentation is a summary of Chapter 5 in “Reporting for the Media,” by John R. Bender, Lucinda D. Davenport, Michael W. Drager and Fred Fedler (10th edition)

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