What's Newsworthy

Identify what’s newsworthy: what’s covered where?

What is news? Who decides? How are the decisions made?

  • Class discussion: Different media make different choices about what is news and what is important news. List as many factors as you can that might direct a news outlet to consider what’s important. (You might want to consider the outlets’ audience, location, medium—print, radio, TV, online, etc

  • Student exercise: Think of three important events that happened:  one in your own life, one in the school where you go, and the third in the community in which you live.  Explain which of these events would be covered in the media–would the events be in your school media, the local media, the national media?  Why?  What’s the criteria that different media use to judge what they report on?

  • Student exercise: Select a news story that has recently been in the news.  See if you can figure out why the story has been chosen for coverage.  You might want to consider the following eight factors–those that editors and producers use to consider whether a story should be published or broadcast
  1. Timeliness:  Did the event just happen?
  2. Proximity:  How close is the event, physically and psychologically?
  3. Prominence:  How many people have some knowledge of the person or event?
  4. Significance:  How many people will be affected?  By how much?
  5. Currency:  Is the event part of an on-going issue?  If not, should people know?
  6. Controversy:  Is there conflict or drama?
  7. Uniqueness:  Is it a first, last, largest, least, best or worst?
  8. Emotional Appeal:  Is there humor, sadness or a thrill?