What is News? - Rhonda Leese

What is News?
What makes it news?
Presentation is adapted from http://pr-news.blogspot.com/2004_10_01_archive.html and JEA
News is
 Interesting
 Informative
 New
 Recent or current
 What interests the reader
 Important to the reader
 Factual and accurate
 Fair (both objective and balanced)
Can something be informative but not
Is this informative, important or both?
Human interest story (personal story)
studies textbook
The one big thing about News is
that it is factual.
must be based on FACTS
It must be ACCURATE
It is NOT an opinion
Fact vs Opinion
Something that can be proven,
verified as true or false
The pizza was made with
pepperoni and pineapple.
The celebration was held in the
Person point of view
Open to interpretation
The pizza was good.
The celebration was the
largest one in town.
 Allowing
your personal opinion or
preference for or against something
 Selectively
revealing or holding back of
information that is pertinent to the story
Tips for accurate reporting and writing
1. Make sure you understand the event.
2. Make sure you double check the names of
the people, their titles. You must spell proper
nouns correctly. Look it up names of
organizations or business to double check.
Ask the person to spell their name and then
have them check their name for correctness.
Tips continued
3. Make sure dates are correct. Double
check on a calendar if you are not sure.
4. Make sure you are recording the facts, not
your opinion
5. Don’t write until you know what you want
to say.
6. Show; don’t tell.
Tips continued
7. Put good quotes and human interest high in the
story. Verify each fact and quote.
8. Put relevant illustrations or anecdotes up high in
the story.
9. Use concrete nouns and colorful action verbs.
Tips continued
10. Avoid adjectival exuberance and resist propping
up verbs with adverbs.
11. Avoid judgments and inferences. Let the facts
12. Don’t raise questions you cannot answer in your
13. Write simply, succinctly, honestly and quickly.
Subjective vs Objective reporting
emphasis in on opinion,
bias, personal attitudes
Objective: based on fact, unbiased,
not personal feelings or opinions, not
a personal interpretation
 When
you use your own opinion in a story it is
often referred to as editorializing.
 If
you comment on how people felt, you are
editorializing. “Everyone thought the movie was
great”. This is editorializing because you can’t
prove that the movie was great.
 Report
the facts, not what you think or feel.
Give your reader the facts and let them decide.
 Cover
all sides of an issue
 If
you state an opinion, balance it with other
opinions. Balance facts with other facts.
 Make
sure to interview many people involved in
the story so that you get a true balanced story
Sources: the person that provides you the information for your
 Make sure you interview experts on the issue or story
 Make sure that the people you are talking to know the facts so
that you get accurate information.
Who is the expert on the event?
 The person who organized the event?
 A child attending the event?
Objectivity and Accuracy
 Objectivity
is being true without including an
individual’s biases, feelings, interpretations, and
 Accuracy
is reporting the factual, truthful
What makes news news?
Rule of 8 – what makes it news?
How close to the reader is the story happening? Can they connect to it?
What is happening now.
How will the story impact your reader? If it doesn’t impact your reader, reevaluate your story.
Is there conflict between people, or governments?
Rule of 8 – what makes it news?
Oddity / Rarity / Novelty
Is the person in the story well known? This could be well known in the
community, not just famous people.
Is there something out of the ordinary about the story? Readers are often
interested in the unusual. Things that happen less frequently are often
considered more interesting.
Human Interest / Emotion
How does the story impact you emotionally? Does it make you laught? Cry?
Get angry? Does it pull at your heart strings?
Rule of 8 – what makes it news?
Sometimes a story becomes news just because a lot of people are talking about
it. Is the story something that everyone seems to be talking about? For
example: the birth of Prince George.
News Value
The value is determined when a story has one or more of the elements of news.
The more elements of news that are present, the more the story is said to have
Other considerations
Who is the story for?
What is policy of your paper on the type of stories that they will cover. Some
publications have policies on what and how a story can be written.
Whatever other media your audience reads or watches.
Other considerations
How your story looks makes a difference. Take good photos, create interesting
infographics, write an intriguing headline.