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Who Decides Whats Newsworthy...?

Thu Feb 16, 2006 11:39 pm

Just heard the latest news updates on the radio,

Weve got bird flu spreading throughout europe, wars and conflicts going on across the globe, and god knows how many people murdered or badly beaten up, but instead the BBC Radio1 news decides to feature a far more important story.....

A 7 year old boy who has been told off for taking a pink pencil case to school with a playboy bunny on it! Wow, far more important than anything else which might be happening in the world. Expect a newsflash on a TV near you!

Who exactly decides what is news worthy and what isnt?
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RE: Who Decides Whats Newsworthy...?

Thu Feb 16, 2006 11:41 pm

I'd imagine the editor of the programme in question.

Radio 1 news is hardly the most intellectually stimulating service out there!
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RE: Who Decides Whats Newsworthy...?

Fri Feb 17, 2006 12:12 am

The public ultimately, but the editor plays a massive role in deciding what you see.
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RE: Who Decides Whats Newsworthy...?

Fri Feb 17, 2006 12:28 am

The dart board in the back of the Editors office . . .

I'm almost convinced no one makes a conscious decision about it . . .

Where ever the most inane, irrelevent BS can be found . . . you know - like all the hoopla over VPotUS. You remember all the hoopla over PotUS CLinton and the stained dress. You know all the death and destruction in Iraq - of course, there's nothing good there, nothing at all . . .
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RE: Who Decides Whats Newsworthy...?

Fri Feb 17, 2006 12:34 am

Quoting Nighthawk (Thread starter):
Who exactly decides what is news worthy and what isnt?

Looking at the bottom line, what's newsworthy is what keeps listeners listening or viewers viewing...... the adverts that pay for it all. (Apart from the bbc that is.)
wheat and dairy can screw up your brain
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RE: Who Decides Whats Newsworthy...?

Fri Feb 17, 2006 12:42 am

The majority of the listening/watching public would be more interested in the "pink bunny" story than Iraq. Hence, stories of similar ilk.

Not that many people pay attention to current events--unless the current events involve Brad and Angelina, or Paris, or just sports scores. Think back to when you were in school. Probably only a handful of kids in each class were interested in serious stuff. The same when they are adults.
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RE: Who Decides Whats Newsworthy...?

Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:18 am

there *is* a reason why the first three letters of news spell n-e-w
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RE: Who Decides Whats Newsworthy...?

Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:46 am

I used to write regularly for my university newspaper on crime and crime-related issues.

The editor, whose lack of ability or care or both resulted in numerous errors, many of which being very funny, complained that my articles - which were of great importance* - were too long and perhaps not worthwhile. Disgraceful! Instead, she included lots of things about sport and entertainment.

The editor had the final say regarding everything, including inclusion.

* On crime prevention - it was not dry and boring - for students.

[Edited 2006-02-16 18:49:44]
"Everyone writing for the Telegraph knows that the way to grab eyeballs is with Ryanair and/or sex."
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RE: Who Decides Whats Newsworthy...?

Fri Feb 17, 2006 5:37 am

In America, it starts with the early editions of important newspapers, especially the NY Times. When broadcast journalists get to work, they read these editions and begin their reporting based on what they read in the paper.

There is obviously one essential source they all follow. If you go to FOX, MSNBC and CNN right now, they will all be showing 90% the exact same stories and giving them the same importance. If you watch the evening news broadcasts you'll hear much the same thing.

Journalism is herd mentality. Reporters report mainly what others are reporting.

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RE: Who Decides Whats Newsworthy...?

Fri Feb 17, 2006 5:55 am

Bottom line, we do. News is (and always has been) business and the media provides what the public has indicated it will respond to. So stories about Jackson's former partner/wife not losing her parental rights will top the news that another x number of people have been slaughtered in Darfur. Nothing is more sadly ironic to me than someone bitching about the crap they pass of as news 'analysis' on the major networks, at the same time they devour the latest tidbits of gossip about celebrity x. Unfortunately, we deserve what we get.
"The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity"
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RE: Who Decides Whats Newsworthy...?

Fri Feb 17, 2006 7:27 am

as has been said the editor in chief decides, going on what the sick general public will want to see. a news script unlike others wont be stapled together, if something worse comes in something else goes out.

good news is no news and bad news is the news is basically because twat joe public couldnt give a shit about the good things happening in the world all they care about, even if they wont admit it, is the bad things. they want to see a car chase then the bad guy get shot. they dont want to see people picking up litter in a park or building a childrens hospital.

its the publics own fault. they get what they want.
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RE: Who Decides Whats Newsworthy...?

Fri Feb 17, 2006 8:03 am

Rather armchair airline CEOs suddenly become armchair media experts...?

Actually, a team of very senior editors - just like the editorial board of a newspaper, (and occasionally the host/news reader) meet early in the afternoon to discuss the lineup of that evening's show. This determines the lineup that will be worked from. All afternoon long, the writers and lineup editor watch the wires as stories come in. The lineup gets shuffled almost continuously until right before air time. I've seen major stories drop out of the lineup at a moment's notice for any number of reasons (legal, unreliable facts, etc.) I've also witnessed huge battles between editorial board members that have ended careers over seemingly trivial stories. As unsure as tv news can be, what I can definitely count on is the lineup I get at 2pm is never the show that airs at 9.

As for "they get what they want" - umm, not necessarily. The quality of any given news program is only as good as its team of senior editors.

How do I know this? I work for one of Canada's higher-end national news programs - but I'll decline to say which, so please don't ask.

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RE: Who Decides Whats Newsworthy...?

Fri Feb 17, 2006 8:09 am

If you want to know how news works get a copy of this

Piers edited the News of the World and The Mirror. He describes exactly how it's done, the influences and pressure which is put on editors from all sides. Especially political lobbyists and people like Murdoch.

That is a brilliant book, I didn't expect it to be as good as it was. And forget the concept of free and fair news, it doesn't exist. Anywhere. There are people out there who work full time to manage news stories.
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