What Makes Newsworthy?


News is information about events that are occurring now or have recently occurred. It is what people hear, see and read in the media each day. The news that makes it into a newspaper, onto the television news or radio programs, and posted on Internet news sites is decided upon by people who work for these organizations. These people are called editors, news directors or even news managers. They sift through the many recommendations of reporters, assistant editors and others to decide what is newsworthy. These people are also known as gatekeepers, because they control what gets into the news and how it is presented.

What makes an event newsworthy is usually determined by what affects a large number of people or what has a significant impact on society. For example, a large number of people could be affected by a robbery at their local convenience store or by a sudden drop in the stock market which causes many companies to close down and workers to lose their jobs. Newsworthy events often involve famous people or have a strong public interest such as a political crisis, natural disasters or a war. People are also interested in stories about their health, traditional remedies, hospitals and clinics, diseases, drugs and sex, especially when those involved go outside society’s generally accepted standards for behaviour.

It is not so much the actual events themselves that make newsworthy, but rather the fact that they are unusual, interesting or significant. The more these factors are present the better the story will be and the more it will likely be reported in a newspaper, on TV or on the Internet.

In addition to these factors a good news story must be well written and easy to understand. It is also important to know your audience. People who read newspapers tend to be more interested in logic and reason, while those who watch TV or listen to radio tend to be more emotionally influenced by what they see or hear. These factors are why newspapers rely more on printed words while television and radio rely more on moving video images and spoken words.

All of the above factors and more are considered by those who determine what is newsworthy each day. There are many different models used to help them make these decisions, but the most common is the idea that what happens in reality will eventually have an effect on people and therefore should be reported as news. This is often referred to as the Real World Model.

The other major factor that influences news is drama. Newsworthy events often have a clear division between the “good guys” and the “bad guys”. A robbery at a convenience store is dramatic because it involves a group of people who are being threatened by bad men with weapons, while the story of baby tigers at an animal park is poignant because it speaks to our sense of compassion for other living things.