NEWSNews is any event, idea or opinion that is timely, that interests or affects a large number of people in a community and that is capable of being understood by them.”
We all seem to know that news is when we see or hear it, we feel troubled while defining what news is. There is no standard by which all material may be judged as news.
News in a business magazine differs strikingly from that in a fashion magazine just as the purpose and personalities of the publications are different. At~the extreme, everything new is news to someone “It happened, therefore, it is news.” News has dimensions and perspectives according to time, place, type of publication and interests of the audience.
Definitions : Some important definitions are given as under :
Oxford Dictionary :
"New information, the report of the latest incidents.”
Longman's Dictionary :
"Report of what has most recently happened.”
Gerald W. Johnson :
“News is the report of such incidents, as, in writing them a first rank journalist feels satisfied.”
American College :
“A report of any recent event or situation and as the report of events published in a newspaper.”
North, East, West, South constitute the. vast expanse of news. This is one version of the news. The other version is that all that is “New” is-news. Many communication experts define news as something uncommon.
Lord North Cliff :
“If a dog bites a man it is no news but if a man bites a dog it is news.”
News is any event, idea or opinion that is accurate, timely, that interests or affects a large number of people. Sex, money, crime, in fact, anything and everything interesting about human affairs in all their manifestations is news. News is the difference between the world yesterday and the world today.
Webster Dictionary :
“The report of the latest event is called news.”
Fraser Bond :
“An incident is not a news in itself, instead its description is a news.”
William F. Brook :
“News, in fact, is a synonym of the unexpected.”
Carl Warren :
“The word news is not composed from the initials of the compass points North. East, West and South. It is simply the plural of the English word new.”
William Stead :
“Everything which is extraordinary and unusual is news.”
Components of News/Elements of NewsThe formula of five “Ws” and one “H” is utilized universally by the reporters. without no news story can be conceived as complete. If the five “Ws” and one “H’ formula is included and answered in a news story, the news is naturally and logically complete. Let us discuss these elements in turn:
1. What :
“What’ points to the nature of the event. It is intended to communicate to the readers what has happened or what is going to happen. For example, “new development package for city.” This explains that a new plan is on the anvil for improvements the capital.
2. Where :
It relates to the place or situation whats ad event has taken place. The purpose is to convey full information to the reader. Geographical proximity determines the emotional attachment of the readers, as such it adds value to the news story.
3. Why and How :
‘Why’ explains the reasons and the circumstances which brought about the event. Actually “Why” and “How” enlarge the canvas of the news story and is an attempt to present the causes underlying a certain news story and explores the methods by which the news story was brought into existence. They assist in the exposition and explanation of the news story, which meet the curiosity of the readers and Radio and T.V. audiences. Without these two elements, the news story would lack something vital.
4. When :
It denotes the time and period when the relevant event subject of the news story, took place. It is the element of “time” which establishes and consolidates the validity of the news story. The news story should be associated with the time factor-nearness or temporarily and timeliness-otherwise it will carry no weight.
5. Who or Whom :
If an utterance is made, we must say who made it. We come to know through a news story that the president or any other important personality was addressing a gathering yesterday evening at Islamabad or any other provincial capital. The news story is not complete if we do not provide an answer to this element.
Deciding What is News/News ValuesOut of the millions of things that happen everyday, print and electronic journalists decide what few things are worth reporting. Deciding what is newsworthy is not an exact science. News values are formed by tradition, technology, organizational policy, and economics. Nonetheless, most journalists agree that there are common
elements that characterize news worthy events. These include:
1. Timeliness :
To put it glibly news is new. Yesterday’s news is old news. A consumer who picks up the evening newspaper or turns on the afternoon news expects to be told what happened earlier that same day. News is perishable, and stale news is not interesting.
2. Proximity :
Everyone is more interested in himself and in events and things in and around his neighborhood. The things that concern him most are his occupation, home, relatives, friends, area, town and country. A reader will be less alarmed at a news story that says fifty (50) persons have died in a plane crash thousands of miles away somewhere in Latin America as compared to his concern over the death of five persons in his home town or a train crash near his city. The term proximity as used here is not limited to physical distance only. It also
implies mental distance. There could be an event in a distant country that would affect people hundreds of miles away more than an event in their own country or town. For example the disaster of a ship carrying a hundred Pakistanis near Dubai is much Important news for Pakistanis.
3. Prominence :
The more important a person, the more valuable he or she is as a news source. Thus activities of the president, the prime minister, other heads of state, and sports and entertainment figures attract tremendous media attention. Even the infamous has news value. The past lives and recent exploits of many criminals are frequently given media coverage.
4. Consequence :
Events that affect a great many people have built in news value. A tax increase, the decision to lay off thousands of workers, a drought, inflation, an economic downturn-all these events have consequences.
5. Human Interest :
There are stories that arouse some emotions in the audience, stories that are ironic, bizarre, uplifting, or dramatic. Typically, these items concern ordinary people who find themselves in circumstances with which the audience can identify. Thus when the winner of the state lottery in America gives half his winnings to the elderly man who sold him that ticket it becomes newsworthy.
6. Clash or Conflict :
Today’s life is full of conflicts and clashes. The newspapers are not interested in trains reaching their destination in time, planes flying normally and neighbours living peacefully. Reporters are interested in a tribal clash, conflict between groups, fight between neighbours or war between two countries and so on. Where there is conflict or clash there is news. The bigger the clash or conflict, the bigger is the news. Conflict is the
underlying factor in boxing, wrestling, football, hockey, cricket and all other sports events. In fact, competition is the apparent manifestation and expression of man’s inherent wish to go ahead from others.
7. Emotional Element :
Each of the news elements owes its origin to human instinct. In this context, suspense and conflict are considered to be of basic and primary human interests, which appeal to his or her emotion. Emotional element, in fact, is a nerve-centre of human attention and absorption. These emotions can be mean and base, as animal instinct, or may have highest spiritual value. All are charged with human interest. Hence human emotions give rise to news which arouse public interest.
8. Significance :
Significance means importance of any event, happening, etc. This factor increases with the interest of readers. Great medical discoveries, decisions in national policy and accounts of trends result in important or significant news.
9. Novelty :
Sometimes novelty or unique nature of an event may add to the importance of a news story. Unusual events always make interesting news. Northcliff’s example of a man biting a dog to explain what is news, though only a cliche now, is a good case of unique experience never observed before, never read about before and never heard before.
10. Adventure :
Human beings are deeply interested in the news, events and stories related to adventure. Lone sea voyages from the time of Columbus or round-the-world aerial trips by individual flyers (also fliers) are adventures. Space travel is no less an adventure. Armstrong’s landing on the moon was not only a triumph of science, it was also the success of man's adventure. Who does not know the interest aroused by this space exploit
allover the globe, how people all over the world waited anxiously for touch-down on the moon surface and the safe return of the astronauts to earth.
11. Suspense Mystery :
A newspaper which is considered a minor of the society, reflects the drama of real life.One of the strongest elements common to the stage and the newspaper is suspense, the result and the unpredictable climax of events.
Closely linked with suspense as a news value is mystery. Who has done it or "what next” acts like a magnet to attract readers to a story. They wait with great interest for the result of the mystery. Political scandals in Pakistan hold readers’ interest. Newspapers report the election campaigns in detail and readers are interested in them because of the suspense regarding the election results.