Dr. Drissia CHOUIT
Moulay Ismail University
Values: Part I
Potter, Beborah. Handbook of Independent Journalism.U.S. Department of State: Bureau of International Information Programs, 2006.
WHAT IS NEWS?
The answer to the question “What is news?” may seem obvious. News is what is new; it’s what’s happening. Look it up in the dictionary, and you’ll find news described as “a report of recent events
or previously unknown information.” It is also defined as "information about recent and important events" and "the quality of being sufficiently interesting to be reported in news bulletins".
But most of the things that happen in the world every day don’t find their way into the newspaper or onto the air in a newscast. In fact,
journalists decide what news to cover based on many of the following “news values”.
Did something happen recently or did we just learn about it? If so, that could make it newsworthy.
Generally speaking, news is information that is of broad interest to the intended audience, so
what is big news in Paris may not be news at all in Washington.
Are many people affected or just a few? Contamination in the water system that serves your town’s 20,000 people has impact because it affects your audience directly.
Did something happen
close to home, or did it involve people from here? A plane crash in Chad will make headlines in N’Djamena, but it is unlikely to be front-page news in Chile unless the plane was carrying Chilean passengers.
people in disagreement about this? It’s human nature to be interested in stories that involve conflict, tension, or public debate. People like to take sides, and see whose position will prevail.
Is a well-known
person involved? Ordinary activities or mishaps can become news if they involve a prominent person like a prime minister or a film star.
Are people here talking about this? A government meeting about bus safety might not draw much attention,
unless it happens to be scheduled soon after a terrible bus accident. An incident at a football match may be in the news for several days because it is the main topic of conversation in town.
Is what happened unusual? As the saying goes, “If
a dog bites a man, that is not news. But if a man bites a dog, it’s news!” The extraordinary and the unexpected appeal to our natural human curiosity.