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.

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What makes a news story?

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