What Makes the News?


When you read a newspaper, watch the TV news program or listen to the radio you are hearing about what is happening now. It is not about something that happened 10 years ago or even last year (unless it is an anniversary of a major event). What makes the news each day is something that has just happened, is happening now or is new information about an ongoing situation.

What makes a story newsworthy is what people think about it and what their reaction to it will be. The way a story is presented in the media can affect whether or not it is read, watched or heard by the audience. What makes a good news story are those things that have drama, consequence and proximity. It is also helpful if the story is unusual and interesting. People like controversies, arguments, charges and counter-charges and they empathise with stories about people in trouble.

The decisions about what makes the news each day are made by a group of people who work for the news organization. They are called editors, news directors and in some cases, news managers. They sift through the daily events and decide what will be included in the newspaper, on the TV news line-up or posted on the website. They may take recommendations from reporters and assistant editors but they are the final decision makers.

There are a number of different theories about why some events make the news. One theory is the Mirror Model which suggests that the news should reflect what is going on in society. Another is the Political Model which focuses on how pressures in society affect the selection of news events.

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