News Reporting and Writing. Lecture Outline. What is news treatment? Hard and soft news The need for flexibility Civic journalism The Gate-keeping process What makes news? Criteria for Newsworthiness Other factors affecting news treatment Pitching news stories to editors. What is News?.
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Lecture Outline • What is news treatment? • Hard and soft news • The need for flexibility • Civic journalism • The Gate-keeping process • What makes news? • Criteria for Newsworthiness • Other factors affecting news treatment • Pitching news stories to editors
What is News? • The definition of news is elusive. • News today may not be news tomorrow. • News in one geographic area is not necessarily news in another. • Internet and new media often value speed and sensationalism over accuracy.
Hard and Soft News • Hard news events are timely and are reported almost automatically by the media. • Soft news events are not usually considered immediately important or timely to a wide audience. These events still contain elements of news.
The Need for Flexibility • New media compete with newspapers • Media convergence facilitates flexibility. • Convergence is the ability to present print, video, and audio content over one medium – the Internet.
The Role of Civic Journalism • At the heart of civic journalism is a “belief that journalism has an obligation to public life – and obligation that goes beyond just telling the news or unloading lots of facts. The way we do our journalism affects the way public life goes. Journalism can help empower a community or it can help disable it.”
The Gate-Keeping Process • Selection of news for print or broadcast is subjective; it is based on a journalist’s feelings, thoughts, and experiences. • People who make news decisions are called gate-keepers. • Gatekeepers can open the gate to let news flow, close the gate to keep news from oozing out. • Sources an also be called gate-keepers.
Timeliness Proximity Conflict Eminence and Prominence Consequence and Impact Human Interest Criteria for Newsworthiness
Other Factors • Instinct of editors and reporters • Availability of news • Philosophy of the medium • Pressure from the publisher • Influence of advertisers • News mix • Competition among media • Changing demographics
Pitching News Stories to Editors • The following are some ingredients in the successful pitching of stories: • Specificity • Succinctness • Enthusiasm • Monitoring the media
Summary • Newspapers include hard news, soft news, and civic journalism. The need for flexibility and gate-keeping process affects coverage. • Criteria for newsworthiness are universal. However, other factors affect what makes the news. • Reporters are more likely to succeed when pitching news stories if they are specific, succinct, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable about the media.