Published on February 25, 2014
The Fourth Estate: News Journalism Topic 2
What is news? Mencher in News Reporting and Writing (p. 71) gives us two definitions: News is information people need to make sound decisions about their lives News is information about a break from the normal flow of events, an interruption in the expected
NEWS VALUES Impact Timeliness Proximity Prominence Conflict Currency The Unusual
IMPACT 'synonymous with newsworthiness' says Conley and Lamble (p85) Has breadth and depth: Either LOTS of people impacted somewhat or SOME people impacted heavily. Impact varies from group to group
Interest rate rises & falls Broad impact Deep impact MANY people to varying SOME people impacted degrees Affects all households with mortgages heavily Examples: Pensioners and households on lower incomes Households with very large mortgages and only medium incomes
Deep and tragic impact Car crashes into childcare centre, causes fire Critically injures several children Only a FEW people impacted but impact is heavy and tragic Image source: The Australian
TIMELINESS When Also relates to the news value of 'currency'. Journalists risk being scooped by others on the same story Anniversaries of major news events and recurring events – opportunities for a related story Online news media challenged traditional media’s news cycle Image source: The Age
PROXIMITY ‘Where did the event happen?’ But also more importantly for a newspaper's readers - how did it affect local people, and for international stories Australians? Media constantly localise international / national events by looking for local (ie Australian) connection Not just a geographic bias - but a cultural and often ethnic one Cultural and national biases in news values still prevalent, and reflect Australia’s connections and alliances with UK, NZ and the US.
Proximity versus Prominence One dead celebrity Many dead ‘nobodies’ CNN wrote in Feb an article on the imbalance on reporting famous and ordinary people: http://edition.cnn.com/2014/02/06/us /heroin-investigations/
PROMINENCE 'Names make news' Celebrity dominates many areas of news reporting Position and power also qualify for prominence. Prominence has different values in different communities, whether geographic or special interest. Social media puts the celebrity further into public spotlight.
Prominence (and authority) has different values for different communities Surfing champ Steph Gilmour Sex Discrimination Commissioner
CONFLICT Attracts readers and therefore journos and editors love to write about conflict. From war to brawls to neighbourhood disputes to differences of opinion – all are conflict-related Crime, politics, sport, business - all have elements of conflict Report conflict accurately and in a fair and balanced manner. Conflict should be put in its proper context Media should not inflame racial/tribal tensions should not be inflamed or exploited – eg Alan Jones and the Cronulla Riots. “Pussy Riot attacked with whips by Cossack militia at Sochi Olympics“ URL: www.theguardian.com/music/2014/feb/19/pussy-riot-attacked-whip cossack-milita-sochi-winter-olympics Image sourced: The Guardian
CURRENCY Linked to timeliness Tied to lifecycle of a news event or perceived trends. When story ceases to provide new information or public tires of the story, it has lost ‘currency’ May be seasonal like the Bushfire season, the football season, Or tied to an-going event: Philip Seymour Hoffmans’ death and coroner's reports, court trials, anniversaries.
THE UNUSUAL Man Bites Dog Get your facts correct!!! Image source: Gawker
News Values Generally accepted list but constantly debated Journalists’ ‘news sense’ tends to become internalised Application is flexible and depends upon: Perceived audiences Place, day, time of publication Newsworthiness ultimately hangs on the sense of disorder. (Hartley) Journalists tend to favour conflict, prominence and unusual values
How do editors determine what gets a run in their paper? News flow exceeds editorial space (Sally White) Advertising volumes and the shrinking 'news hole' (Sally White) Stories which will get readers clicking on it run Financial interests of the newspaper itself
HARD NEWS VERSUS SOFT NEWS
HARD NEWS VERSUS SOFT NEWS Soft news human interest story, the how-to and self- development or lifestyle features, the entertainment yarn. Hard news
HARD NEWS VERSUS SOFT NEWS Soft news Hard news human interest story, Front pages & early news pages the how-to and self- Top stories on news website development or lifestyle features, the entertainment yarn. homepage fair and balanced, accurate and brief account of issues or events.
Opinions – whose are they Editorial Opinion/Commentary In opinion section, or Opinions of ‘the newspaper’ http://www.smh.com.au/com ment/smheditorial/whatever-theresult-in-wa-senate-pollfarce-must-end-20140220333w8.html Position that the newspaper supports, supported by evidence identified as analysis usually penned by experts or senior editorial staff because of their extensive knowledge on a topic. GOOD commentary is supported by argument and evidence
News writing conventions 5Ws and the H Inverted pyramid
News writing conventions 5Ws and the H WHO WHAT WHEN WHERE WHY And HOW Inverted pyramid
News writing conventions 5Ws and the H WHO WHAT WHEN WHERE WHY And HOW Inverted pyramid Most important to least important
News writing conventions 5Ws and the H WHO WHAT WHEN WHERE WHY Inverted pyramid Most important to least important, with a summary lead/intro. And HOW
Inverted pyramid Most important Least important
http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/nsw-beaches-closed-on-tsunami-threat-20100228-paii.html (accessed 28 February 2010)
Summary News is that which is happening now, has just happened or will happen; Journalists rely upon set of ‘news values’ in deciding what stories to cover; Application of news values is contested by journos + editors Hard news – a fair and balanced, accurate and brief account of issues or events. Conventions of news writing include the 5Ws + H, plus inverted pyramid
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