The nature of news and newsgatheringNews is an aspect of humancommunication that has become moreor less synonymous with humancivilization and every modern societyhas come to find it an indispensable partof human progress.
The nature of news and newsgatheringNews has been affirmed to be anecessity in a modern society more soin a democratic society because itallows society to understand itself andcomprehend the perils and hazards it isconfronted with as it journeys throughtimes and epochs.
The nature of news and newsgatheringThere have been so many other answers to the question,what is the news?Is it what a reporter finds satisfaction in writing or what awell-trained editor decides to publish?Is the news the report of an event or anything timely?Is it stimulating information?Some definitions say that it is literature in a hurry; otherssay it is tomorrow’s history.There are many other glib definitions of news.One of the most frequently quoted is attributed tonineteenth-century editor John Bogart: ‘when a dog bitesa man, that is not news; but when a man bites a dog,that is news.’
The nature of news and newsgathering First, news is a story, report or account. Second, news is an account of an idea, event, problem or issue that enough men are concerned about. Third, news is an account of something real and is based upon material facts that are ‘truly material’.
The nature of news and newsgathering Fourth, news is current. Fifth, news is an account of something that interests people even though the level of interest may vary in different kinds of news story. When we put all of these elements together we arrive at a simple definition: ‘news is an account of a current idea, event, problem, issue or people that interests people’.
Journalists generally agree aboutwhat news is not, but they havereal problems identifying justwhat news is.
Deciding what news is usually isnot a matter of absolutes butrather it is a matter of the relativenewsworthiness of differentevents, people and issues at anygiven time.
News gathering, to be sure, is ahighly imperfect art, andproblems with basic facts, not tomention nuances, are common.But when you are talking aboutconflicts that are at their rootracial, ethnic or religious, thestakes are higher.
This is the stuff riots, wars anddeep-seated prejudices aremade of, and the news mediahas an even greaterresponsibility than it normallydoes to get it right.
Very little of what the newsmedia does is conspiratorial.Most of the time were just notgood or sensitive enough aboutthe many sides of volatile issuesand often we respond to newsreporting in a pragmatic way thatemphasizes results at any cost.
Here is one checklist: Is it true? What is the impact of the events or circumstances surrounding the issue? Is the news story fair to all concerned? Is it a public or strictly private issue? Will the story make a difference? Will the truth quell rumors? How would you justify your decision to your audience? How would you treat the story if you were the subject?
Here are 10 tips for reportingsensitive issues: 1: Don’t write in clichés 2: Don’t believe everything someone tells you 3: Don’t hunt for the definitive truth 4: Don’t get things out of context 5: Don’t accept information without question 6: Don’t forget the human face of suffering 7: Don’t be sloppy with words 8: Don’t be led by another’s agenda 9: Don’t ignore the local pressures 10: Don’t ignore history