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What Makes News?

Posted by: | November 5, 2009 | No Comment |

The elements of news don’t change. All that changes is the way, and the speed with which, news is disseminated. What makes news today is no different than what made news a century or two ago. The difference is just the techonlogies that we use to distribute the news. In the olden days, for example, stories were reported by way of word-of-mouth. Today they are broken and distributed online, on paper, and even by phone.

There are six important elements that make a story news-worthy. They are:

1.  Prominence: If President Obama does something it’s important. If I do something it isn’t.
2. Proximity: How close is the event to you? Do people care? We want to know about what affects us.
3. Timeliness: News changes all the time, so the story must be relevant and current.
4. Unusual: If something occurs that takes place every single day, it’s probably not news at this point.
5. Impact: Who is affected? Will anybody care? A fire on a campus matters to everybody on campus.
6. Importance: Does what took place matter? Do people care?

We are ‘damingly’ interested in what affects ourselves and those around us. Too much so at times, because on occasion we don’t pay enough attention to important news that is taking place in parts of the country or world that has no immediate impact on what we are doing.

We’d rather watch the local news …

Leon Harris of ABC-7, WJLA

Leon Harris of ABC-7, WJLA

Than world news …
Charlie Gibson of World News Tonight

Charlie Gibson of "World News Tonight"

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