Announcing/Defining News

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What is News?[edit]

News can be defined as "anything timely that interests a number of persons."

News writers try to uphold three traditional journalistic values:

  • Accuracy (factual, true)
  • Clarity (clear, unambiguous)
  • Objectivity (free of bias)

Where does news come from?[edit]

Journalists gather news from various sources.

The assignment editor continuously monitors:

  • wire services (like AP and Reuters)
  • police and fire radio scanners
  • National Weather Service broadcasts
  • telephone beat check and phoners
  • news releases that are faxed or mailed in
  • stock and sports tickers
  • cable news channels and other media

The assignment editor may decide that a story

  • can be read as is by a newscaster
  • should be rewritten by a copywriter
  • needs an actuality (a.k.a. sound bite), a recorded quote from a news maker
  • should be written as a wraparound, with a lead-in and lead-out around an actuality
  • needs raw sound (a.k.a. natural sound), background sounds from the environment

Often the assignment editor will assign the story to a reporter to gather more details:

  • A field reporter goes out into the field to cover on-the-scene breaking news.
  • A beat reporter regularly covers a beat, like City Hall and the Police Department.
  • A feature reporter covers soft news‚ stories, like health, consumer and entertainment.
  • A stringer is a free-lance reporter who works on an as-needed basis for many stations.

Journalists as Gatekeepers[edit]

Journalists are called gatekeepers because they decide what is and what isn't news. Only some news gets through the gate.

News Factors[edit]

  • Timeliness
  • Prominence
  • Proximity
  • Significance
  • Conflict
  • Time of day
  • The Medium
  • Management
  • Advertisers
  • News sources
  • Personal values

Articulation · Writing Broadcast News