2Definition News Judgment Also known as news value, this is the process that journalists use to determine what is newsworthy based on these generally known factors: novelty (oddity, rarity), timeliness, proximity, prominence, conflict, consequence (impact), currency and human interest.
3Who cares?When judging the value of news, this is a question that reporters should pose as they consider writing a story. Here, consideration should be given to the story content and the audience. This is judgment, so what might serve as highly valuable news for one publication might serve less for another, and vice-versa.
4Who cares?To try determining who would care about a potential story, consider the following eight news values that are commonly considered by journalists.
5Factors of News Judgment CurrencyWhat is of high interest to the public?TimelinessWhen does or will the news occur?ProximityWhere does the news occur?
6Factors of News Judgment ProminenceDo we have a well-known person?ConflictAre two or more forces going at each other?NoveltyHow original, odd, or rare is the story?
7Factors of News Judgment ConsequenceHow important is the event?Human InterestWhat emotional value does the story contain?
8DiscussionCurrency, Timeliness, Proximity, Prominence, Conflict, Novelty, Consequence, and Human InterestOf the eight news values regarding nes judgment, which do you think is most important for journalists? Least important?
9A look at each news value Let’s take a look at each factor and look at some possible examples. Consider some potential story ideas that come to mind that would be newsworthy based on each of the factors.
10CurrencyHere are a few topics that are or were known to be current topics:- Partisanship in government- Concussions in sports- Climate change- Gay Marriage
11CurrencyThese topics tend to have a presence in public discourse for a wide range of time, holding the interest of its public.
12Timeliness Here are a few news topics that depend on the here and now. - Today’s weather and traffic reports- Election results- Upcoming homecoming game- Human or tropical disasters
13TimelinessThis news value refers to stories that require immediacy in its reporting; breaking news stories have timeliness as one of its most important news values, and news organizations tend to compete to get these stories out first.
14Proximity Look at these football examples. - Who cares about last night’s high school game? (local)- Who cares about yesterday’s college game? (local or national)- Who cares about the Super Bowl? (national or international)
15ProximityThis news value gives focus to geographical importance of stories. Basically, the closer the story hits home, the more prevalent the value of proximity becomes. Often, scholastic publications will look to “localize” stories that have a national scope to increase the value of proximity.
16ProminenceWho might be prominent figures within your school community?- Principal- Star athlete- Teacher of the year (state or national)- Child of a celebrity or politician
17ProminenceScholastic journalists should create a list of prominent members of the school community during the beginning of a school year and plan coverage at appropriate times. This should go beyond the obvious choices- students and faculty will have prominence in certain groups that otherwise go unnoticed in the general realm.
18ConflictHere are some possible clashes suitable for scholastic news coverage.- Rivalries (sports coverage)- Administration vs. students- Juniors vs. seniors- Conservatives vs. liberals
19ConflictWhile striving for objectivity in journalism, look for stories that provide productive, healthy debate on issues important to the school community. Cover all sides, especially when covering high school sports.
20NoveltyConsider these past stories that captured the attention of the media:- Alligator found in New York sewers- Spud Webb wins 1986 NBA Slam Dunk Contest (he is 5 ft. 7 in.)- Octomom, mother of 15 kids, may lose home before Christmas
21NoveltyThis value deals with the odd, rare stories. Sometimes, students or teachers offer unique experiences, traits, or talents that make for interesting, unique stories. Do you remember the time that having a female make the football team was a bit unusual?
22ConsequenceConsequence is a news value that determines the importance of stories. Often, localizing national stories emphasizes this value.Look at how these two national news story in turn could create an important story for a school publication.
23ConsequenceNational story- foreclosure rate of homeowners increased significantly during the past year.School angle- student council president, starting quarterback, and half of cheerleading squad forced to transfer to other schools after losing their homes due to foreclosure.
24ConsequenceNational story- Tornadoes ravage several towns in Oklahoma last week.School angle- Student body raises over $10,000 to help with relief efforts, or local family brings in family that lost everything due to tornados ravaging Oklahoma.
25Human Interest Look at these three stories. - Student cheats on a test.- Teacher loans a student $2 for lunch- Principal buys a new car- Man takes candy from a baby
26Human Interest Now look at these. - Teacher cheats by providing answers on state test to students.- Teacher donates 20 turkeys to holiday food drive.- Teacher buys a Lamborghini- Teacher arrested for stealing Halloween candy from neighborhood kindergarten studentsWhat type of feelings/emotions would these stories evoke?
27Story Summary 1Often, stories have several factors that increase its news value. Let’s look at this example:Auburn defeated Alabama as Auburn senior Chris Davis returned a missed field goal 109 yards, thus ending Alabama’s reign as the top-ranked team in the nation. With the win, Auburn now has a chance at the national championship game.Which of the following applies? Currency, Timeliness, Proximity, Prominence, Conflict, Novelty, Consequence, and/or Human Interest?
28Currency?From a currency standpoint, this story is part of a wider topic that grabs the attention of college football fans. This particular game was part of an overall discussion on the chase for the national championship, which in turn opened discussion on how the NCAA determines who plays in a national championship game and who gets left out. This topic comes up every football season.
29Timeliness?Sports fans that watched this game will probably say that this moment will never get old. It is a football moment, and the story becomes less timely as the weekend and season ends. However, as with many historical moments, it will surface again as newsworthy at later times.Still, the timeliness of the story is at its height in the days following the event. That one play dominated sports news for nearly a week.
30Proximity?Imagine being a student at Tuscaloosa or Auburn, Alabama, the proximity of this story is clear. There are areas of the country where the passion for college football is intense. It is safe to assume that this story has a nationwide proximity- but internationally, the news value of proximity wanes.
31Prominence?This was a game full of college football stars. After that play, Auburn player Chris Davis became one of the game’s most prominent players. The quarterback of the losing team was vying for a third straight national championship and a Heisman trophy. As far as college football is concerned, the game featured two teams playing in what many experts see as the prominent conference, the SEC.
32Conflict?Sport stories usually involve conflict. This was the Iron Bowl, one of the great rivalries in college football. Let’s add to this story. The quarterback for Alabama, AJ McCarron, was shown kissing his mother and his girlfriend after losing to Auburn.Guess what school his girlfriend graduated from?Yep- Auburn.More conflict- the outcome of the game brought out debate from other teams as to who should advance into the national championship game.
33Consequence?-How important is this story? As it is a sports story, it was the front page story of five of Alabama’s major newspapers, and it was front cover coverage in nearly all sports publications.-For those that value college football, the consequence of this game’s outcome is apparent. Several teams, mainly Ohio State and Florida State, saw their chances of making it to a national championship game increase. Beyond fanatical interest, economic impact comes into play.
34Consequence?However, how many people truly see the importance in sport stories?
35Novelty?As mentioned earlier, AJ McCarron, the quarterback for Alabama, is dating a graduate of Auburn. This storyline was exposed before the game and afterward as he kissed her before leaving the field following the loss.
36Human Interest?For college football fans, this rates high on the news value scale; others not fans of the game might still get a feel for the emotional components of an event such as this.Several sidebars came from this game. The new star for Auburn? The fan reactions from both teams? To watch the moments leading to the play and afterward, it was so clear to see the thrill (and shock) of victory and the agony (and shock) of defeat. Still, some just do not get into sports.
37DiscussionWhat news value do you think dominates this story? What least dominates?(if possible, watch a YouTube clip of the game’s ending before evaluating).
38Story Summary 2During the same weekend, this story made the front page headlines in New York City area newspapers.A commuter train carrying hundreds of travelers derailed after spinning out of control in the Bronx. Over 60 were injured, and four died in the crash that occurred during the Thanksgiving weekend.
39Currency?As this story is hard news, it tends to leave the news cycle within a week. It most likely becomes part of a larger discussion on transportation safety at a later time, but most likely does not dominate public discourse as would other stories such as terrorism, gun control, or health care.
40Timeliness?This is a hard news story. As this train derailment occurred, it became breaking news. The after-effects of this event kept this story as front page material for nearly a week, especially in the Northeast Corridor, an area that greatly depends on commuter rail travel.
41Proximity?The day following the derailment, this was front page coverage for newspapers throughout the northeast; in other areas of the country, the story was below the fold on the front page or not there at all. This was a national story, but definitely more significant in areas of the country where commuter rail serves its community.
42Prominence?There were no celebrities or public figures that were on the train when it derailed. In the day following the derailment, the NTSB began to investigate the incident.
43Conflict?While the initial moment of the derailment shows no conflict, this news value develops as the days progress. Victims and their families begin to challenge operators of the commuter train as investigators discover information leading to the accident.
44Consequence?There is no doubt as to the importance of this story. The audience will certainly consider the loss of life, the needed attention to safety issues, and the need to hold responsible parties accountable. From a personal standpoint, some will see less consequence due to not having this mode of transportation available to them.
45Novelty?Directly, we find no unusual, rare aspects to this story. Tragedies happen, and a wide range of these stories are covered often. However, it is possible that a story could come from this event that is odd,rare, or unique.
46Human Interest?The tragic component of this story will evoke some emotional response. As stories like this develop, there tends to be more focus on the human element to the story. Stories of victims, train operators, and first responders will develop, adding to the human interest qualities to the event.
47Discussion?What news value do you think dominates this story? What least dominates?
48Front Page analysisChoose several front pages presented on the Newseum website. Find front pages from various regions of the country.Look at each and discuss what news judgment tends to dominate the coverage of the day. Compare and contrast.
49Assignment 1Find two stories, each from a different section of a newspaper or online site. Read the articles and complete the news judgment analysis handout.
50Assignment 2Choose a recent story that you wrote and consider a story that you would like to cover. Use the news judgment evaluation sheet and evaluate the news value of your work.