Tuesday, April 17, 2007

How do journalists decide what stories to run?

When deciding what stories to run, editors, reporters and producers often use seven news values to decide. They are:

Impact: If a lot of people are affected, it’s newsworthy. A national post office strike will have more impact (and more news value) than a local swimming pool closing.

Timeliness: Recent events rate higher than earlier events. Yesterday’s news is “fish wrap.” Journalists want “scoops.” They want to be first to report the news.

Prominence: Celebrities, politicians, people in the public eye have higher news value than the man-in-the-street. We care that a celebrity has AIDS or a drinking problem, while the average Joe would not generate any ink.

Proximity: Stories about events and situations near home are more newsworthy than events that take place far away. Journalists instinctively weigh disasters by the number of deaths versus the distance. The closer the disaster, the more relevant it is.

Bizarreness: Dog-bites-man is not news because it happens ever day. Man-bites-dog is.

Conflict: Conflict of any sort is newsworthy.

Currency: Just like celebrities and fashions, issues come and go. People get tired of hearing the same thing day after day. If an issue got a lot of press last year, it's old and might not get any this year.

For more information, check out our website at
www.dellrichards.com and use our online form.