News Values

Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?

These are the essential elements of every good news story. Most readers are aware of these six questions, but there many other values that contribute to the definition of news. Gerald Lanson and Mitchell Stephens, authors of Writing and Reporting The News, emphasize eleven judgments that journalism students should make when evaluating newsworthiness(11).

The facts and events that have the greatest effect on the audience are the most newsworthy
The significance of a particular fact or event lies in its value with respect to other facts or events
Arguments, debates, charges, countercharges, and fights increase the value of news
Take into account human interests that touch our emotions
The Unusual
When a dog bites a man it's not news. But when a man bites a dog, it is news. (Old journalistic cliche)
More prominent individuals are given more attention
Concentrate on news that is of local interest; the closer to home the better
Emphasize what is new
Take into account what is on people's minds
Help the audience answer questions and solve problems in their daily lives
Educational Value
Make readers more knowledgeable rather than merely informed

While these values help determine what is reported in both print and television news, the medium also shapes the message.

What is News? The Style of News
Online News The Evolution Process