Shortcut: What Is News? (pp. 204-205)

The question 'what is news?' may seem simple, but is in fact quite complicated.

Very often it is something that has just happened. This is true, but not everything that has just happened can be called news. And something that happened long ago may be news some times.

Some would say that a news story should be important. This is also true, but some news stories cannot be called important. A celebrity’s divorce is often a news story, but it is not really important. And many really important questions are not covered by the media.

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Sudden changes make better news stories than gradual changes. That is why a hurricane is a better news story than global heating.

Conflicts, wars and killings are also good news stories, but we need to see the people who are involved. A news story is better if we can relate to people.

Some countries are more important to us than others. This often has something to do with distance. We are more interested in what happens in countries that are close to us.

Still, there are some countries that are important even though they are far away. It could be a very powerful country, like the USA. Or it could be a country that we feel related to for cultural reasons.

Shortcut activity

Make a list of what makes good news stories. Give reasons for your answer.