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What is news?

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What is News?
What is news? News is difficult to define because it has many variables, but you ’ll need to determine what’s newsworthy when deciding what to write about for your story assignments
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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.

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What is news?

  • 2. What is news? News is difficult to define because it has many variables, but you ’ll need to determine what’s newsworthy when deciding what to write about for your story assignments
  • 3.
  • 4.
  • 5.
  • 6. 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.
  • 7. 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
  • 8. But, sometimes their sources do lie – and that ’s news….
  • 9.
  • 10. You may not agree with their opinions, but when Obama or Palin speak, people pay attention.
  • 11.
  • 12.
  • 13.
  • 14. For example, a faculty meeting per se is NOT news. But the president announcing at the meeting that there ’s going to be a tuition hike IS news.
  • 15.
  • 16. Hofstra rape case was big news in Long Island, but probably not news in Oklahoma
  • 17. On the other hand, the snowstorm in Oklahoma on the same day was big news there, but not in Long Island
  • 18.
  • 19. Duke’s last second win over UNC was big news Wednesday night and Thursday morning, but by Friday people were talking about the next game.
  • 20.
  • 21. For a 13-year-old boy, biggest news may be a new skate park. For 70-year-old, it may be a social security proposal
  • 22.
  • 23. The situation in Darfur is important, but who cares? Letterman ’s affairs were of high interest, but were they really news?
  • 24. Hard News and Soft News Journalists today often refer to “hard” news and “soft” news.
  • 25.
  • 26.
  • 27.  
  • 28. The new, daily developments in the 2012 presidential race are hard. Which Republican will win the next primary election?
  • 29.
  • 30.
  • 31.
  • 32. Soft News: The Village Voice ran a story the week before Valentine ’s Day on single women in NYC.
  • 33. Hard news, despite its importance, usually attracts fewer readers because it may not be as interesting as soft news or may be more difficult to understand.
  • 34. Readers may not understand its significance. Reporters must be careful to include information to help the reader understand what the story means.
  • 35. Readers might avoid stories like this because they involve complicated info, insider ’s info and/or things they can’t relate to
  • 36. Many stories are a combination of hard and soft news, and may present some of the information in sidebars and infographics.
  • 37. For example, many stories about the Super Bowl combined hard news (e.g. Giants beat Patriots) with soft news (e.g. anecdotes about Tom Brady’s wife, Giselle, blasting his receivers .) .
  • 38.
  • 39. News has qualities that distinguish it from nearly all other forms of writing.
  • 40. I. It must be accurate.
  • 41.
  • 42. 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.
  • 43.
  • 44.
  • 45. Reporters must work hard to achieve accuracy. They must check, double-check and re-check every fact.
  • 46.
  • 47.
  • 48.
  • 49.  
  • 50. II. News is balanced.
  • 51. 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.
  • 52. 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.
  • 53. III. News is objective.
  • 54.
  • 55.
  • 56.
  • 57. IV. News is concise and clear.
  • 58. Hard news stories almost always follow the inverted pyramid and are written concisely and clearly so that the meaning is clear to an average reader.
  • 59. Inverted Pyramid Most important facts Next most important Next most important Next
  • 60. Soft news stories, however, usually utilize other story structures, which will be discussed in a future lesson.
  • 61. V. News is recent.
  • 62. Timeliness is of major importance in this era of fast communication. Other factors being equal, a news editor will choose one story over another because of its timeliness.
  • 63. News elements help to make facts interesting to people.
  • 64.
  • 65.
  • 66. 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!
  • 67. Proximity Readers are more interested in an event geographically near them than in one far removed
  • 68. Reporters emphasize the local angle whenever possible
  • 69. Readers will care much more about legislation passed by state lawmakers if it means their community is getting a new bridge or library.
  • 70.
  • 71. Sept. 11 was an international tragedy that affected people well beyond Manhattan
  • 72. Reporters emphasize the angle of the story that will impact most readers
  • 73. The Census affected the entire country, but certain info is more relevant to a particular community
  • 74.
  • 75. The more prominent a particular name, place, event or situation, the more interest the story will have.
  • 76. A congressman engaging in unseemly behavior will attract more interest than if an everyday person does the same thing
  • 77. 50 percent of Americans get divorces, but only celebrity divorces (or rumors of them) make headlines.
  • 78.
  • 79.
  • 80. Mystery, suspense, comedy, the unusual, the bizarre are chief elements of drama.
  • 81. Will an asteroid strike Earth? Stay tuned…
  • 82.
  • 83.  
  • 84. “ Firsts”, “lasts”, and “onlys” have been staples of newspapers since the 19th century.
  • 85.
  • 86.
  • 87.  
  • 88.
  • 89.
  • 90.
  • 91. The treatment of sex varies widely from publication to publication.
  • 92. Mainstream media outlets initially passed up chances to report political sex scandals
  • 93.
  • 94. Generally the most widely read stories in the newspaper, and most widely discussed of those heard on radio or television.
  • 95.
  • 96.
  • 97.
  • 98. May refer to success in treating AIDS patients, etc.
  • 99.
  • 100.
  • 101. A number of factors modify the importance of news elements in actual practice.
  • 102.
  • 103.
  • 104.
  • 105. Timing may alter the value of a news story. All news is in competition with the news available at the moment.
  • 106.
  • 107.
  • 108. The more of these aforementioned elements – timeliness, impact, prominence, weirdness, etc. – something has, the more likely it is to be considered news.
  • 109. The events in Egyptian had it all – conflict, suspense, timeliness, consequence, progress, etc.
  • 110. 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."
  • 111.
  • 112. And yet, Americans devour stories like Tiger Woods ’ affairs and Michael Jackson’s death…
  • 113. While important stories like the first black president taking office, Wall Street corruption, healthcare reform and the recession get ignored..
  • 114.
  • 115.
  • 116.