What makes a news story?

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This training module has been written for journalism students preparing for a career in the media. It is written using material from The News Manual and Media Helping Media.

This training module has been written for journalism students preparing for a career in the media. It is written using material from The News Manual and Media Helping Media.

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  • 1. WHAT IS NEWS? Journalism basics Image by Media Helping Media released under Creative Commons
  • 2.
    • Image courtesy of Randy Wills Photos released under Creative Commons
    Audience identification
  • 3. What is news?
    • The appeal of local news is that your readers or listeners might know the people or places involved and may identify with events
    • People can identify with stories about other people like themselves
    • Stories which many can identify with are stronger than those which apply to a few
    • Closeness
    • Personal impact
  • 4. News sources
    • Information from press officers and public relations officers are a steady source of information
    • Part of your job as a journalist is to sort out what is informative from the millions of boring words you are sent
    • Material we are given
    • Which we have to assess
    Image courtesy of 427 released under Creative Commons
  • 5. News sources
    • There is also news which journalists find for themselves and reveal to the public
    • This need not be a subject which somebody wants to be kept secret
    • Many people have a story to tell
    • It’s part of your job as a journalist to find these people and report their stories
    • Material we find
    • Which we have to explain
    Image courtesy of ancawonka released under Creative Commons
  • 6. News sources
    • Wars, strikes, revolutions, political power battles
    • All are important topics that we must explore and explain
    • We need to help the audience understand the underlying issues
    • Conflicts
    • Which we have to understand
    Image courtesy of Caza_No_7 released under Creative Commons
  • 7. News sources
    • Air crashes, train crashes, ships sinking, volcanic eruptions, Tsunamis, earthquakes
    • Human tragedies such as children falling down deep wells from which they cannot be rescued
    • Disaster and tragedy
    • Sensitivity needed
    Image courtesy of Radio Nederland Wereldomroep released under Creative Commons
  • 8. News sources
    • How changes affect people's lives, for better or for worse
    • New ideas or progress in one area may mean less progress in another
    • Our job as journalists is to find out and explain to the audience
    • Progress & development
    • No free PR
    Image courtesy of Toban Black released under Creative Commons
  • 9. News sources
    • Crime is news, whether it is a road traffic offence, break and enter, corruption, forgery, rape or murder
    • More serious crimes or unusual crimes generally make bigger news stories
    • But we must always avoid sensationalising and must ensure that we just deliver facts and not write drama
    • Crime
    • Innocent until proven guilty
    Image courtesy of thivierr released under Creative Commons
  • 10. News sources
    • Fortunes made and lost
    • Taxes and budgets
    • Food prices
    • Wage rises
    • It is not only large sums of money which make news
    • Struggling to live is a major source of important news stories
    • Money
    • Who is paying whom?
    Image courtesy of Images_of_Money released under Creative Commons
  • 11. News sources
    • The journalist should give voice to the voiceless
      • the innocent against false charges
      • the poor against exploitation
    • The underdog
    • Voice to the voiceless
    Image courtesy of Julie70 released under Creative Commons
  • 12. News sources
    • Events involving religious lives, such as festivals and new buildings
    • Statements by religious leaders
    • The things the public do as part of their beliefs
    • How religion impacts on society
    • Religion
    • Understand tolerance
    Image courtesy of C Jill Reed released under Creative Commons
  • 13. News sources
    • Prominent men and women make news
    • What people in the public eye do, the lives they lead and what they look like, are all of interest
    • But we must never simply write stories about prominent people for the sake of it
    • We must always explore the news angle
    • Famous people
    • Privacy issues
    Image courtesy of Justin Stone released under Creative Commons
  • 14. News sources
    • Disease, outbreaks, cures, research, all make news stories
    • Advice on drugs, diet and exercise are also of interest to the public
    • We need to be covering the health issues that concern the audience
    • Health
    • Public information
    Image courtesy of shibuya246 released under Creative Commons
  • 15. News sources
    • All societies are interested in sex, even if they do not talk about it openly.
    • Many news stories about sex involve behaviour which goes outside society's generally accepted standards.
    • Sex
    • Public information
    Image courtesy of S Pakhrin released under Creative Commons
  • 16. News sources
    • The weather may affect the daily routine of people
    • It’s of interest when it’s unusual with exceptionally high or low temperatures, or exceptionally high or low rainfall
    • We need to look for the stories where the weather has caused personal and social disruption
    • Weather
    • Public information
    Image courtesy of Hanoi Mark released under Creative Commons
  • 17. News sources
    • Shortages in the food supply
    • Failure of crops and poor harvests
    • The price of food
    • A visit to the market will always produce a news story
    • Food and drink
    • Public information
    Image courtesy of Daniele Civello released under Creative Commons
  • 18. News sources
    • Stories about music, dance, theatre and cinema
    • The lives of celebrities always interest the audience
    • However we must ensure that there is an editorial justification in covering these stories and ask ...
    • “ is it in the public interest?”
    • Entertainment
    • Public information
    Image courtesy of Oceania Rock released under Creative Commons
  • 19. News sources
    • Sports news, results, player transfers, statistics
    • Many people will choose a radio or TV station or select a newspaper based on its sports coverage
    • If your coverage is good you need to reflect the top stories from that coverage in your bulletins and on your front page
    • Sport
    Image courtesy of rycat released under Creative Commons
  • 20. News sources
    • Unusual and interesting aspects of other people's lives which are not particularly significant to society as a whole
    • Stories about these are called human interest stories
    • The audience likes them because they make them smile and can be a nice distraction from the harder news
    • Human interest
    Image courtesy of San Diego Shooter released under Creative Commons
  • 21. News sources
    • If it is not new or unusual
    • If it is not interesting or significant
    • If it will not affect your readers‘ lives
    • Then it is not news
    • Do not publish it as news
    • The news test
    • We only deal in news
  • 22. What is news?
    • The module uses material from The News Manual
    • Media Helping Media has been given permission to publish edited highlights of some basic training modules
    • Using some material from
    • The News Manual
    http://www.thenewsmanual.net/
  • 23.
    • The source of the following material in this module
    Media Helping Media