News Values – What Counts?

So the questions we should be asking is – what exactly IS new and what actually MAKES news?
It seems today that news mediums are multiplying. Gone are the days where people could only get their daily dose of news from transistor radios and young boys in suspenders yelling “EXTRA, EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!”. Now we are bombarded with it on all media platforms. But before they decide to bombard us with their ‘important’ information, how do they determine what news story is valuable?

It is important to recognize that news itself is not purely the workings of the media. The news is not transparent, but a product of journalistic routines and procedures that is extremely tangible in that it can be skewed and modified. Whether we recognize it or not, news is constantly being modified in order to support the claims and perspectives of various media companies.

The potential value of news, as seen by the media, can be reliant on a number of key values:
– Proximity
refers to ‘cultural proximity’, stating that those countries who are culturally similar or familiar will be more likely to be of value whereas those who are more distant will be more permissible.
– Relevance
supports the idea that value can be found in culturally distant countries so long as they have to potential to have meaning to the audience eg. Syria conflict
– Rarity
argues that the more unexpected the event, the higher the chance of it being valuable and recognised as ‘news’
– Continuity
Once a particular news story has it the media platforms, it will continue to be considered valuable until attention dies down and people begin to be uninterested.
– Elite References
refers mainly to people of elite status such as celebrities and the events that occur within their lives that may spark interest in a majority of audiences.
– Composition
stories will be selected based on a sense of balance and composition Eg. if many home stories have been used, even a fairly unimportant foreign story may be included.


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