NEWS VALUES and NEWSWORTHINESS
Gatekeepers include news editors, owners of
newspapers and journalists and reporters. They
decide just which news stories are going to
feature in the news. Crime stories are very
attractive to gatekeepers, they are very good for
selling papers and enabling publications to hold
or even increase their share of the market.
The distorted picture of crime painted by the news media
reflects the fact that the news is a SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION
News does not simply exist out there waiting to be
gathered in and written up by the journalist. It is a social
construct – the outcome of a social process in which only
stories that make people buy newspapers will be printed –
all the time stories are being considered - then some are
selected, some are rejected.
As Cohen & Young (1973) argued news is not discovered
How are crime stories selected?
Through NEWS VALUES – a set of criteria which editors and journalists use to decide if a
story is NEWSWORTHY (worth putting into the news)
Key news values influencing the selection of crime stories:
2. Dramatisation: action and excitement
3. Personalisation: human interest stories about individuals
4. Higher-status: persons and celebrities
5. Simplification: eliminating shades of grey/ clear good and evil,
‘innocent victim’/wicked perpetrator’ extreme
6. Novelty or unexpectedness: a new angle
7. Risk: victim-centred stories about vulnerability and fear
8. Violence: especially visible and spectacular acts
Contemporary crime story examples:
Crime News story
News values involved?