Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Producing the News

What makes any potential story newsworthy? According to Gauting and Ruge ’81, news values can be broken into nine points: frequency, threshold, intensity, meaningfulness, consonance, unexpectedness, continuity, composition and reference to the elite. Gauting and Ruge believe that any story wound come under at least one of these headings in the news. For example, the accusation that Madeline McCann’s parents killed their daughter could come under continuity, as the story follows on from the main abduction; and meaningfulness, as well as perhaps frequency as parents are rarely accused of killing their own children.

The object of reporting these stories all revolve around the reporter not being biased and corrupt. Events that occur are assumed to be self-evident and developing, and to exist independently. Detecting and reporting on the event is seen to not change the process of events that may occur. Also, the event should occur logically and temporarily before detection.

There are three things to remember when the journalist is reporting a story. Will the story hold the readers attention, and is it important/relevant/entertaining/interesting enough to sell stories? Secondly, is the story prominent enough to report, and is there a possibility of the reporter getting to the event to report it? Finally, is the item consonant with the pragmatics of technical and organisational productions?

There is an important role in the newspaper team, where one person sifts through the many stories coming into the workplace to find and events that are good enough to report on. This is known as the gatekeeper. He/she works to eradicate any media, and has to be imbedded in social ideologies as to not work from a personal whim.

The production cycle follows a simple four step plan: planning, gathering, selection, and finally production. Planning involves knowing of any key dates that are coming up, such as press conferences, protests and political meetings, but also being aware that unpredictable events may occur at any time to report on. Gathering is simply actively collecting information of craft a story from sources and witnesses. Selection is the editing and culling of the gathered news, and finally the production is the forming of the story in a way that would fit audience expectations.

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