What is News?
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?
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
Journalists are called gatekeepers because they decide what is and what isn't news. Only some news gets through the gate.
- Time of day
- The Medium
- News sources
- Personal values