What is News?. That which papers print? Hard News: important, of consequence to and affects reader Soft News: interesting, unusual, not crucial. Who Cares?. Asking this question is an easy method to determining if something is “news” or not.
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What is News? • That which papers print? • Hard News: important, of consequence to and affects reader • Soft News: interesting, unusual, not crucial
Who Cares? • Asking this question is an easy method to determining if something is “news” or not. • Keep in mind your audience when you answer that question. “News” means different things to different people. • Localizing news is important for your audience. • How does the Joplin tornado affect them? • Interview a student who went to the Women’s World Cup in Soccer, don’t just report old news
Audience • Primary Audience • Secondary Audience • Who are these for The Patriot?
Elements of News • What does it take to make it into print?
1. Timeliness • The story has just happened or is about to happen. • Very important when competing with other news outlets. Breaking news! • Not as critical of an element for high school newspapers.
2. Proximity (nearness) • An event with local appeal that occurs in our neighborhood, to our friends, to our age groups or those who share our interests • Nearby events will matter more to readers than events in other cities, states, countries. • Especially important in high school newspapers
3. Prominence • Does this story involve a well-known public figure or celebrity? • Generally, names make news. • These can be people known for their wealth, social position, achievement or previous positive or negative publicity. • At a high school, prominence refers to principals, other administration, teachers, student leaders and other students who excel in sports, academics, etc — or make themselves otherwise known.
4. Consequence/Impact • Does the story matter to readers? • Will it have an affect on their lives or their pocketbooks? • The bigger the consequences, the bigger the story becomes. • In high school news, consider how many of the student body are affected (i.e. graduation requirements change vs. destination of the senior class trip).
5. Conflict • Clashes of all kinds: wars, strikes, political campaigns, protests, sports rivalries • One of the most basic and important news elements as well as most frequent; all good stories have a conflict. • Both physical and mental • Human vs. human; human vs. animal; human vs. self; human vs. environment, etc.
6. Progress • Involves any significant change for the betterment of humanity • May refer to achievements in a research lab, business, legislative body, etc.
7. Human Interest • Usually soft/feature news • Includes the following elements
7.a. Drama • Mystery, suspense, comedy, the unusual, the bizarre • Facts are often told through storytelling. • NOTE: ALL drama must be true.
7. b. Oddity or unusualness • A dog bites a man = no news. • A man bites a dog = news.
7. c. Relationships • News value in stories of romance, marriage, divorce and other relationships. • Can be reported maturely in an informative and non-sensational way. • In high school, should be aware of community standards and audience ages when covering this topic.
7. d. Emotions/Instincts • Desire for food, clothing and shelter; universal interest in children and animals; and the elements of fear, jealousy, sympathy, love and generosity • Usually told in feature style writing. • In high school journalism, stories that involve student or faculty deaths or serious illnesses, food drives, charity events, community volunteerism, new fashions and fads, animal shelters, etc.
7. e. Children & Animals • They are so cute! • But be careful of the cute overkill.
Practice time! Get out a sheet of paper and put your name and hour at the top. For each story, identify the elements of news present…there may be more than one.
Newsworthy or not? #1 Cheerleader tryouts spark controversy among families
Newsworthy or not? #2 Work on air conditioning and new parking lot could begin as early as April
Newsworthy or not? #3 City council to vote on smoking ban tomorrow
Newsworthy or not? #4 Jazz bands to host festival tomorrow
Newsworthy or not? #5 Girls advance to regional basketball tournament
Newsworthy or not? #6 Junior participates and wins Special Olympics event
Newsworthy or not? #7 Kansas Regents schools raise admissions standards
Newsworthy or not? #8 Math/Science team to attend contest next week
Newsworthy or not? #9 Two students work part time as clowns for McDonald’s
Newsworthy or not? #10 Students stole pylons from football game, school charged $600 for replacement