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News Value. How to determine what is (and what isn’t) newsworthy. * All images courtesy of the Times Union newspaper from today and yesterday.

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News value

News Value

How to determine what is (and what isn’t) newsworthy


All images courtesy of the times union newspaper from today and yesterday
*All images courtesy of theTimes Union newspaper from today and yesterday


Impact: The significance, importance, or consequence of an event or trend; the greater the consequence, and the larger the number of people for whom an event is important the greater the newsworthiness.


Timeliness: The more recent, the more newsworthy. In some cases, timeliness is relative. An event may have occurred in the past but only have been learned about recently.


Prominence: Occurrences featuring well-known individuals or institutions are newsworthy. This may spring either from the power the person or institution possesses – the president, the Speaker of the House of Representatives – or from celebrity – the late Princess Diana or fashion designer Gianni Versace.


Proximity: Closeness of the occurrence to the audience may be gauged either geographically – close by events, all other things being equal, are more important than distant ones – or in terms of the assumed values, interest and expectations of the news audience.


The Bizarre: The unusual, unorthodox, or unexpected attracts attention. Boxer Mike Tyson’s disqualification for biting off a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear moves the story from the sports pages and the end of a newscast to the front pages and the top of the newscast.


Conflict: Controversy and open clashes are newsworthy, inviting attention on their own, almost regardless of what the conflict is over. Conflict reveals underlying causes of disagreement between individuals and institutions in a society.


Currency: Occasionally something becomes an idea that’s time has come. The matter assumes a life of its own, and for a time assumes momentum in news reportage.


Human Interest: Those stories that have more of an entertainment factor versus any of the above - not that some of the other news values cannot have an entertainment value.


Your job
Your job…

  • Write stories based on what HAPPENS and what you CAN’T anticipate (not always easy in a school)

    • Bomb threats

    • Emergency evacuations

    • Impromptu visits from notable individuals

  • Write stories based on scheduled events and what they yield (pretty easy to accomplish in a school)

    • Sporting contests

    • School productions

    • Board meetings

  • Write stories that you believe students would benefit from reading (pretty easy to accomplish ONCE you have some direction)

    • School policies that directly impact students

    • School culture and climate

    • Club functions, staff/student bios (if interesting)


Your job right now
Your job right NOW…

In your group (of no more than 5), generate 7-10 story ideas for YOUR audience…Shenendehowa students. The criteria for generating these ideas is the list of news values you just recorded. Let them dictate what you could conceivably write about in this building.

They can be ANYTHING to start – don’t limit yourself – but at some point you would have to consider both ethics and the law in determining what you could realistically move forward with.

Use the back of your news value note sheet to record your story ideas.


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