News Values

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  • Topic: NEWS, Mass media, News agency
  • Pages : 9 (3134 words )
  • Download(s) : 267
  • Published : March 12, 2006
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News values are intrinsic standards adhered to by media professionals and organisations in an effort to produce news worthy of reporting. News values are based on a variety of ideals ranging from capitalism to ethics to entertainment. The way in which media is shaped is heavily reliant on the individual news provider's implementation and handling of news values. News practices both globally and locally can be analysed alongside Galtung and Ruge's (1974) twelve ‘news values' and McGregor's (2002) four new ‘news values' providing insight to the intentions and practises of the news-media industry. Theories from various media texts have also supported and complemented the theories of the structure of news selection.

A set of twelve news values have been theorised by Galtung and Ruge (1974) in the process of structuring and selecting news. These twelve values provide a structure for journalists to create a ‘newsworthy' story. According to their theory, if the news values are adhered to the story will be successful in reaching, informing or entertaining the public, which ever it's intending. This theory is largely based on the basic psychology of perception, and argues that people perceive the news through the twelve factors referred to as the news values. Galtung and Ruge recognised that people cannot absorb large amounts of information, they must select information and in doing so only select what is important or of interest to them. It is in this human process that journalists and news organisations select and organise information to appeal to its main consumers. The news values now come into place, with news organisation's structuring the news around these values to achieve the greatest interest and impact. The twelve factors are used to appeal to the majority and in doing so may not appeal to everyone. The twelve factors includes eight general factors consisting of frequency, amplitude, un-ambiguity, meaningfulness, consonance, unexpectedness, continuity, composition, and four culture-orientated factors applicable to the developed Western world. The four cultural factors are based on more fickle perceptions of the Western world adhering to values of an entertainment nature. They consist of personification, elite persons, elite nations and negativity. The twelve news values do not stand independent of one another and are interrelated, although they may at times conflict or cancel one another out.

Galtung & Ruge (1974) theorise that news values are an inherent element of journalism. These values are "embedded in the culture of journalism scholarship and accepted as common currency" (McGregor, 2002, p.113). Journalists learn the importance of news values through newsroom socialisation and a trial and error process of reporting. If the news values are adhered to a story will survive and become what is known as ‘newsworthy', therefore applying to the rules of journalism thus news values. McGregor (2002) describes firsthand the process that leads to ‘newsworthiness' in the newsroom. McGregor experienced as a journalist what constitutes a good story through newsroom "initiation and socialisation" (McGregor, 2002, p.114). Stories are rejected or selected based on their adherence to the news values; a story based on the news values would therefore be ‘newsworthy'. This process has been analysed further to reveal that what makes news is based on the values of the newsroom rather than the values of the general public in order to create news that will ‘grab' attention opposed to solely informing. Winter's (1990) fieldwork study in TVNZ investigated the research intentions of the news reporters when it came to news reporting and selecting. Winter was informed by the Bulletin editor of the time that "There's not a lot of talk within TVNZ about the nature of news. People just come in and inherit the culture that exists" (Winter, 1990, p.163). Elsaka and Tully (2002) also discuss the professional and ethical standards as part of...
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