1 News Judgment Is it important? Is it interesting? How do you know? 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.
2 Who cares? Because you are constantly asking one question: 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.
3 RULE OF EIGHT Use the news values, or factors in news judgment. To decide “who cares” …Use theRULE OF EIGHTnews values, or factors in news judgment.Journalists use these to find stories and decide what questions to ask in research and interviews.
4 Rule of Eight News Values 1. Timeliness / ImmediacyNews is what’s happening NOW, or at least recently.2. ProximityNews happens close to home, or close to the heart.3. Impact / ConsequenceNews matters to people because it can affect their lives.
5 Rule of Eight News Values 4. Prominence / CelebrityWell-known people are talked about; they make news.5. ConflictWhen people fight or disagree, often that’s news.6. Oddity / Rarity / NoveltyNews can be weird. Or odd. Or something that rarely ever happens.
6 Rule of Eight News Values 7. Human Interest / EmotionWhen something or someone makes you laugh or cry or get angry or truly amazes you, that’s news.8. CurrencySometimes it’s news just because a lot of people are talking about it.
7 Rule of Eight News Values As we go through each news value, consider story ideas or examples that would be newsworthy based on each of the factors.
8 What are some examples from this week or last week? TimelinessNews stories require immediacy in reporting.Breaking news stories have timeliness, and news organizations compete to be the first to report these stories – and each subsequent development.What are some examples from this week or last week?
9 - Upcoming homecoming game - Human or tropical disasters Timeliness- Today’s weather and traffic reports- Election results- Upcoming homecoming game- Human or tropical disasters
10 ProximityThe closer the story hits home, the more important the news is.“Proximity” is the word journalists use to mean, this happened here.What are some examples of news that happens in our school or community?
11 Proximity Who cares about last night’s high school game? (local) Often, scholastic publications will look to “localize” stories that have a national scope to increase the value of proximity.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)Teachers, feel free to add your own examples here. Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and other weather events are good. You may have others.
12 What matters to our readers? Consequence / ImpactSome news has a direct impact on people’s lives or consequences for them.Sometimes, you can localize a national story to emphasize the impact of far-away news to your readers.What matters to our readers?
13 Consequence / ImpactLook at how a national news story could be an important story for a school publication.National story: The foreclosure rate of homeowners increased significantly during the past year.School angle: The student council president, starting quarterback, and half of cheerleading squad were forced to transfer to other schools after losing their homes due to foreclosure.
14 Consequence / ImpactNational 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.
15 Prominence / Celebrity This isn’t just for famous people.Some people are well-known just within a certain community.Think beyond the obvious choices. Some students and faculty have prominence in certain groups that go unnoticed by other groups.Who is prominent in our school?
16 Prominence / Celebrity Who might be prominent figures within our school community?- Principal- Star athlete- Teacher of the year (state or national)Child of a celebrity or politicianThat kid who is always in the hall and never in class
17 What kinds of stories have conflict? Disagreements make news.Readers love stories that provide a debate or reveal a difference of opinion -- especially on issues important to them.What kinds of stories have conflict?Remember to cover all sides, especially when covering high school sports.Sports news is the obvious one, but teachers should guide students to think of others based on conflicts in your school or community.
18 ConflictHere are some possible clashes suitable for scholastic news coverage.- Rivalries (sports coverage)- Administration vs. students- Juniors vs. seniors- Conservatives vs. liberals
19 Novelty / Oddity / Rarity Sometimes, students or teachers offer rare or unusual experiences, traits or talents that make for interesting, off-beat stories.These are often the most ed and shared stories of the day or week for news sites.Who in our school did something rare, phenomenal or amazing?
20 Novelty / Oddity / Rarity Consider 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
21 Novelty / Oddity / Rarity This category also encompasses the novelty of “firsts” or “the few.” Consider these female athletes who dominate in male sports:- Mo’ne Davis, the Little League World Series fastball pitching phenom- Erin Dimeglio, quarterback for the South Plantation High School football team
22 Human InterestThese stories tap into the humanity of their subjects and those who read about them by focusing on the feelings they evoke.Often, a good human interest story is found hidden within the ordinary. Consider these:- Students cheat on a test.- Teacher loans a student $2 for lunch.- Principal buys a new car.- Man takes candy away from kids.Students should react to these stories by commenting that they aren’t really news, because they’re not. Check out the SAME stories on the next slide.
23 Human InterestNow consider these:- Teacher cheats by providing answers on state test to students.- Teacher, whose parents charity turkeys at Thanksgiving when he was a child, donates 20 turkeys to holiday food drive.- Principal buys a Lamborghini.- Teacher arrested for stealing Halloween candy from neighborhood kindergarten students.What type of feelings or emotions would these stories evoke?
24 CurrencyStories that have currency capture the public’s interest in some way. Some stories dominate for an intense day or week, others remain current for a wide range of time.Often these stories seem overblown or draw complaint that they aren’t really news, such as the birthday of the royal baby or Miley Cyrus twerking on national TV.
25 CurrencyOther current topics are those that come up over and over again, such as:Partisanship in governmentConcussions in sportsClimate changeGay marriageCurrency also covers anniversary stories, such as the 100th anniversary of events in World War II or the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act.
26 Rule of 8 News Values 1. Is it timely or immediate? (timeliness) 2. Is it happening nearby? (proximity)3. Does it affect the readers or viewers, or have some consequence for their lives? (impact/consequence)4. Is it about someone who is well known? (prominence/celebrity)5. Is it odd, rare, weird, a “first” or otherwise outside the ordinary? (oddity/rarity/novelty)6. Is it about a conflict or disagreement, or the continuation of one? (conflict)7. Does it tug at the heart strings? (human interest)8. Is it something everyone is talking about in social media or other news media? (currency)The presentation can end here. The best reporters look for multiple news values in every story. And any story you read in the news should have at least one or two of these values. REVIEW and make sure the students have notes on all 8 before going on.
27 What’s the news value?This is a question every reporter should ask on every story. The best reporters keep digging to find multiple values in their stories.Consider this story from the 2013 SEC football season:Auburn defeated first-place Alabama as Auburn senior Chris Davis returned Alabama’s 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, while Alabama faces losing its No. 1 position.Slides use this game story as an example for how each of the 8 news values applies, for reinforcement or reteaching of this lesson. If your student zone out at the idea of sports, you can skip to slide 38, where a breaking news example begins and goes through the same process.
28 Currency?This 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.
29 Timeliness?It is a football moment. The story becomes less timely as the week and season ends. However, as with many historical moments, it will resurface as newsworthy when Alabama plays Auburn again, or whenever an underdog overthrows a top-ranked team.
30 Proximity?If you are a student at or a fan of the University of Alabama or Auburn, yes. If you’re a student at any SEC university, or any of the Top 10, 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.
31 Prominence?After that play, Auburn’s 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.The game featured two teams playing in what many experts see as the prominent conference, the SEC.
32 Conflict?Sport stories usually involve conflict. This was the Iron Bowl, one of the great rivalries in college football.But there’s more: 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? Auburn.More conflict: The outcome of the game brought out debate from other teams as to who should advance into the national championship game.
33 Consequence?For those who value college football, the consequence of this game’s outcome was apparent.Several teams, mainly Ohio State and Florida State, saw their chances of making it to a national championship game increase.But for most people? It didn’t matter that much.
34 Novelty?As mentioned earlier, AJ McCarron, the quarterback for Alabama, was 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.
35 Human Interest?Several human interest stories spun out from this game.The new star for Auburn.The fan reactions from both teams.The moments leading to the play and afterward, it was clear to see the thrill (and shock) of victory and the agony (and shock) of defeat.
36 What news value do you think dominates this story? DiscussionWhat news value do you think dominates this story?What least dominates?(if possible, watch a YouTube clip of the game’s ending before evaluating).
37 What’s the news value?In March 2014, this story made the front page in Chicago area newspapers and national headlines across the nation.A Chicago Area Transit train carrying hundreds of travelers derailed and continued up the escalators at O’Hare International Airport after it failed to stop at the end of the platform, injuring 32 people, none seriously.Teachers: You can see where this is going. You can update these slides with almost any bigger breaking news story to keep it up to date.
38 Currency?Because the L-train actually climbed an escalator, this story was current for a short while.It most likely becomes part of a larger discussion on transportation safety and driver scheduling, since the driver fell asleep at the wheel.The story does not dominate public discourse as would other stories related to terrorism, gun control or health care.
39 Timeliness?As this train derailment occurred, it was breaking news, and it stayed in the news for a few weeks in Chicago, where travelers were inconvenienced by the closing of the commuter station at O’Hare Airport, one of the busiest airports in the world.
40 Proximity?This was a national story, but definitely more significant in Chicago and for people who traveled in and out of Chicago.
41 Prominence?No celebrities or public figures were on the train when it derailed, so no.
42 Conflict?While the initial moment of the derailment shows no conflict, later several of the passengers who were injured filed lawsuits.
43 Consequence?The impact centered on the O’Hare Airport and the travelers who were inconvenienced, as well as on the passengers who were injured.An additional impact will be felt by Chicagoland taxpayers and train riders as the Chicago Transit Authority recoups the estimated $6 million cost of the damage to the train and station.
44 Novelty?This is the main reason this story made the news beyond Chicago: The train lept off the tracks and traveled up an escalator before it stopped.
45 Human Interest?Since no one was seriously injured and the inconvenience to travelers was quickly minimized as the CTA opened an emergency bus service from O’Hare to the nearest train station, the only remaining human interest was the train driver, who admitted to falling to sleep at the wheel because she had worked a lot of overtime recently.
46 What news value do you think dominates this story? DiscussionWhat news value do you think dominates this story?What least dominates?(if possible, watch a YouTube clip of the game’s ending before evaluating).
47 Assignment 1Find two stories, each from a different section of an newspaper or online news site. Read the articles and complete the news judgment analysis handout.
48 Assignment 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.Vocab Word Bank:Novelty Human InterestConsequence CurrencyConflict “Who Cares” methodProximity ProminenceTimeliness News Judgment