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Skip to 0 minutes and 10 seconds The next news value is good news. So this includes stories about rescues or cures. So this is where you get all the stories about potential cancer cures or cures of other fatal or chronic diseases that the media love to talk about. This is also where you get the rescue stories of people, of animals, and so forth. These are also very often obviously feel-good stories that the media love to report on. The next news value is follow-ups. So this is where you get stories on things that are already in the news and the media have already reported on them.

Skip to 1 minute and 0 seconds So when there’s a new development to a news story and the media has already covered it, they’re more likely to report on it again. And this is because, first of all, journalists are already familiar with the issue. And it’s gotten their attention, so they have considered it newsworthy already once. And also the public are familiar with the issue, so it’s easier for journalists to bring it back to mind to their audiences once a new development happens. So basically, here very often a rule of thumb is that news brings more news. So the more a news outlet is covering an issue, sometimes the more likely it is to continue covering it.

Skip to 1 minute and 46 seconds And that’s how very often you get those what we call media frenzies when the media go crazy on a news story and they keep covering it and churning out more and more information about it based on this news value of follow-up. The last news value is media agenda. So these are news stories that set or fit into the news organisations’ own media agenda. And so this is a case where in some cases certain newspapers or TV stations have a certain outlook about political issues. And so they tend to pick events (that) actually that fit this outlook, their political outlook.

Skip to 2 minutes and 33 seconds So for example a bill that limits immigration or illegal immigration is more likely to be picked up by newspapers that are against illegal immigrants, for example, because then they can put their own spin on this story. Newspapers who don’t care about this issue or that have a more liberal stance on it may not be very likely to notice that issue and to report on it. So you’re now familiar with the 10 news values that are most common, most popular in the literature and among practitioners. And we’ll practise later on how to apply those for various news stories. But I must emphasise in the meantime that these news values are actually relative.

Skip to 3 minutes and 25 seconds So what this means is that what one community finds as impactful, it may not be impactful for another community. Or what is proximate and close for one community, say for Glasgow, is actually quite far from London. And so therefore for this reason what is newsworthy here in Glasgow is different from what is newsworthy in Edinburgh and is different from what the media find newsworthy down in London. Knowing these news values is important both for just media consumers who want to be more educated about the media and also for beginning journalists.

Skip to 4 minutes and 13 seconds For media consumers who want to be more critical and more aware of the news-gathering process, knowing these news values is important because it can guide them into figuring out why certain events make it into the news and others don’t. And very often, the answer to those questions lies in the news values. And typically what happens is the more news values an event has, the more likely it is to be covered by the media. So for example, if you have an event that is first of all new, then it’s local, and then it has a conflict and it impacts a lot of people, these are already four news values that this event has.

Skip to 5 minutes and 3 seconds And so it’s very likely that the media would cover it, as opposed to an event that is new and local but maybe is not very impactful or is not as interesting because there’s no conflict in it. So this is very often how the media think about, again, what to cover and what not to cover. Being aware of these news values is also important for beginning journalists, because it guides them into how to pick things to write news about. Very often, beginning journalists struggle with the idea of what is newsworthy and what isn’t, and what would make a good story and what wouldn’t.

Skip to 5 minutes and 46 seconds And older and more experienced reporters are often not very good in explaining that, because, as I said earlier, these news values often become second nature to reporters. And so knowing those could be useful for beginning reporters just as a guideline on figuring out what potential stories to pursue. But finally, I also want to point out that there are a lot of critics to these news value, both in industry and primarily in academia.

Skip to 6 minutes and 26 seconds A lot of scholars have argued that these particular news values have driven the media to provide episodic coverage of events, so focusing only on the new developments versus providing more in-depth and consistent coverage of stories that are long running or stories that are chronic and have been around for years. And so as you can see already, you can see the draw for journalists to cover new happenings versus something that has been around for years and nothing new or exciting is happening there. The flip sides of this, however, is that the issues that have been around for a while may be just as important or even more so than the new and episodic things that are happening around us.

Skip to 7 minutes and 19 seconds Another critique and criticism of these news values is that they drive the media into oversimplifying events and they also drive them into providing a bigger number of negative events, so erring on the side of negativity, because as you saw already, bad news and conflict is one of the news values there. And although you may say, yes, but good news is also a news value, the conflict news value is actually often seen as more newsworthy and more interesting and more relevant than the good news one. And so you often hear this complaint of there’s too much bad news in the media.

Skip to 8 minutes and 3 seconds And part of the argument goes it’s because of the news values that journalists use to apply to what to cover and what to skip.

News values - part two

Dr Eckler concludes her talk on news values which includes insight on follow-ups, media agendas and the ways in which news values often prompt criticism.

Think about how constructive such criticism might be and post your thoughts in the comments area.

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Introduction to Journalism

University of Strathclyde