What makes news news?

Mindblowing news. Photo: juhho/deviantart/CC
Mindblowing news. Photo: juhho/deviantart/CC

TOPIC: Understanding news and newsworthiness.

READ: Factors in newsworthiness; The 5Ws and H of News

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The journalist

  • What does a journalist do? What does a journo need to be?
    • Asks questions to which public want answers
    • Perseveres to find the truth of events
    • Is accurate and balanced when constructing a story
    • Presents a story in the clearest and most powerful way
    • Has an extensive network of sources
  • Being a journalist
    • Tell real-life stories
    • Explain the world beyond a person’s direct experience
  • The job
    • Gather facts
    • Decide which to include and what to omit
    • Structure the story
    • Decide which words to use and how to package the story

Discussion: Do people trust journalists? Why or why not?

What makes a good journalist? (Sissons, p4)

  • Curiosity! Be nosy
  • Being a people person – people watchers, listeners
  • A questioner – full of questions, intent on establishing as many facts as possible. Having courage to ask. No question is stupid!
  • A verifier – verifying facts. Question people, but also question what they tell you.
  • Accuracy is vital
  • Perseverance
  • Courage – in a war zone, or covering local council. Don’t reveal sources
  • Good news judge – recognise news
  • Able writer – you need to be able to express ideas and information in writing. A clear, grammatically correct writing style is critical
  • Creativity – use language in an original way. Think of new ways of using pictures and sound. Cover stories creatively
  • Competitiveness – be first and fastest
  • Ethics – do the ends justify the means? Should you knock on the door of a family who has just lost two children in a car accident? Call first? Leave a note?
  • Fairness
  • Balance
  • Objectivity
  • Cultivation of contacts – keep an up-to-date contact book – hard copy or electronic – and back it up.
  • Well-read – stay informed and up-to-date

_______________________________________________________________________

TODAY:

Knowing the news

  • List the news organisations that you know of
    • Local
    • State
    • National
    • International
  • Who reads what, and why?
  • Analyse the readership
  • Which do you read regularly?
  • Identify the top stories in the news today.
    • List stories
    • Why are they the top stories?
    • Why do you think they are news?
    • Every time you read a news story, note how good writing makes it easy for the reader! Good writers use:
        • Everyday words
        • Short, simply structured sentences
        • Active verbs
        • Anecdotes and quotes
  • Was it difficult to identify exactly what made the stories worthwhile?
  • Find the same news story on two different news sites. How were the same stories treated in different newspapers?
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Author: veritychambers

Journalist and teacher

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