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News is the communication of selected[1] information on current events which is presented by print, broadcast, Internet, or word of mouth to a third-party

or mass audience. In todays media news-based market the definition of which events, people and stories qualify as news has become as murky as a muddy river. What am I talking about? Im talking about news: what it is, what it has become and what is should be. Most magazines, newspapers, broadcast and cable news channels cover a wide variety of what each of the establishment considers news for the 21st century market place. The truth is most of it isnt news. Most of what is being reported in the magazines and on news channels, and to a certain extent in newspapers, isnt news. What is it? Well, its pop culture. Heres a hint for budding journalists, the following items SHOULD not be considered news: Anything having to do with celebrities (unless a celebrity is running for political office) Anything on the E! Channel Personal lives of politicians (i.e. their sex lives, families, vacation choices, etc) Call me a news purist but I think the news is something sacred and important to peoples knowledge and life choices. How can you know what is and what is not news? How can you know what you can and should report on? Defining the news is a grey area and its somewhat ambiguous. However, here are some key questions to ask yourself to determine if an event or incident could be considered news: Is it timely? Is it important?

Does it affect a large number of people? Does it affect the audience that reads/watches the news outlet you report for? Is there human interest? If after answering these questions you are still not sure if it is news or not, odds are it probably isnt news. If youre still in doubt ask your editor or another journalist. There is no shame in asking for help or advice. News is the conglomeration of new facts and events that impact our lives. Most people rely on journalists to provide them with this up-to-date information about the world, making it the journalists' responsibility to determine what is news. Then the media must help the audience master the data, "master it intellectually and emotionally by putting it in a context, a mosaic that help[s] make it seem somewhat less gratuitous and unpredictable, somewhat less frightening" Normally reliable 10-year-old, is late for dinner. That may be of consequence in his household, but it is not news. What if he is three hours late for dinner? Then he may be missing and that is news. Then his tardiness takes on community import, especially if he has become the victim of foul play. So, as this example illustrates, news is not just a change in the status quo. It is a change of consequence in the status quo. In a very real sense, news also can be defined as what reporters and editors say it is. They are the gatekeepers, allowing the accounts of some events, but not others, to reach the reading public. And there are other factors that sometimes can determine whether an event is news. These include the prejudice of the management, the size of the paper, pressure from advertisers and the news hole, or the space allotted to news. Still, news professionals agree on at least seven main factors that help them determine if an event has consequence, if it is news. These are: a) ImpactHow many people does the event affect? How seriously does it affect them? b) ProximityAn event will be more important if is closer to the readers. An earthquake in a far-off land is not as interesting as one that is close to home.

c)

TimelinessIs the event fresh? Is it new? The news must be timely to be of use to readers.

d)

ProminenceNames make news, and big names make big news. Ordinary people are intrigued by the doings of the rich and famous.

e)

NoveltyThis is the new in news, the unusual. The "firsts," "lasts" and "onlys" have been the staples of the news business for many years.

f)

ConflictConflict has been the currency of great literature, drama and movies for all time. From the stories of Shakespeare to those of Disney, conflict has played a crucial role. Newspapers are no different.

g)

AudienceWho is the audience? The answer to that question helps determine whether an event is news at all, and if it is, where it will be played in the paper.