News is what you see and hear in newspapers, on television, radio or on the Internet. It is the information selected by editors or news directors, and it is the decisions of those who work for news organizations. Whether they are called gatekeepers, editors, or managers, they make those decisions on the basis of a common understanding of what makes a story news.
Choosing What Is News
A story which is new, unusual, interesting, significant and about people makes for good news. It should also be timely.
It must grab and hook the reader immediately, and it should give the reader a sense of what is happening in the world.
It should also be factually correct, but it should not be too dry or boring.
There is a lot of talk about what makes a story news, but it really comes down to these five things: timeliness, drama, consequence, proximity and narrative.
Timeliness: A news story about a baby tiger which suffocates on its own blood will be of more interest to the public than a story about the death of a child due to an illness.
The same is true of a crime which has occurred in a different country. A local story about a break and enter into the property of an important person is unlikely to be of much interest to a nation in another part of the world, even if it is serious.
Drama: A news story about a murder will be of more interest to the public than one about a crime committed by an ordinary person who was trying to commit a simple burglary.
Consequence: A story about a murder may be very serious, but it will also be of more interest to the public than one which involves a rape or a forgery.
Prominent people: The lives of famous people and their achievements are often very interesting to the general public. It is particularly newsworthy when they fall from power, lose their money or are involved in scandals.
Health: Many people are interested in their own health, so stories about drugs, diet and exercise are also of interest.
Sex: All societies are interested in sex, so news about how people behave in relationships makes for good reading.
Objectivity: When journalists go up with their news, they must cross check that it is accurate and that no one has an opinion about it. They must also make sure that they are not influenced by their own political or personal views.
Fairness: When they put the news up on the wires, journalists must be fair in their treatment of both sides. This means that they must report all the facts of the case, and then decide what their own personal opinions are.
Using this knowledge, we can begin to understand why some of the stories that we hear and read are newsworthy, while others are not. We can also understand how to choose the kind of news that is more important to us than other kinds of news. We can also find ways to consume news in a way that will work for our own mental health.