Is this really news?

We see it in newspapers, magazines, Facebook, Twitter… News. It’s everywhere. According to the free dictionary, news is defined as, Information about noteworthy recent events or happenings, especially as reported by newspapers, periodicals, radio, or television’ (the free dictionary). Whilst this definition is widely accepted, there are flaws which should be addressed. News is not justified purely by the media, because the media have the ability to skew perspectives, filter information and have biased (especially towards politics). What is important to the media is not necessarily important to us. Secondly, what defines what the general public should and shouldn’t know? This can also be skewed by biased and personal views from the reporter or company which can heavily influence the audiences view. It also fails to recognise the importance of social media in the role of delivering news. News and it’s definition is constantly changing and the following video explains the difficulty in defining and with news. 

This video taken from HBO’s the Newsroom, identifies the change from NEEDING to know information to WANTING to know such as celebrity idolisation. For example, Facebook and news companies like the Sydney Morning Herald ‘reported’ on Kim Kardashian being tackled at Paris Fashion Week. Is this a type of ‘pseudo event?’ Sukhmani Khorana explains that this is where there is no visible news but audiences still expect news to be full (Khorana, 2014). I argue that it is. Whilst the video stresses how Kim Kardashian could’ve been harmed, it’s really just a practical joke.

News has different values which contribute to its newsworthiness.

  • Proximity
  • Relevance
  • Rarity or Continuity
  • Elite References
  • Negativity
  • Composition
  • Personalisation

The Kim Kardashian story plays on Elite References, Negativity and Composition yet hardly makes it newsworthy. It is obvious that this story is satisfying the audiences want and desire to relate and live the life on the one and only Kim Kardashian.

Whilst this story was being run, there are more important events unfolding in the world which can be lost in the pages of a newspaper or newsfeed. At the end of September, a young Al-Jazeera journalist, Abdullah Elshamy, was released from a prison in Egypt for apparently broadcasting false news of Egypt. A problem with these kinds of stories is the lack of follow ups, ‘it’s important that journalists who are serious about covering (stories), need to follow up, they can’t just cover the big moments. It’s important not to take a snapshot but to take a long video of what’s going on’ (Lee-Wright, pp. 1, 2012). Whilst this story did make the news, there are no follow up stories of Mr. Elshamy and his bid to fight for press freedom, where I’m sure we’ll continue to hear from the adventures of the Kardashians.

I believe it is important to question news and its newsworthiness. Also to look elsewhere from our morning paper or Facebook newsfeed and to actively engage in consuming the news to ensure we are finding out about events around the world that don’t necessarily involve Kim Kardashian.

References

Khorana, S. 2014, BCM111, ‘Who Counts in Global Media News Values’, lecture notes, accessed 24/09/2014, University of Wollongong.

Lee-Wright, P 2012, ‘News Values: An Assessment of News Priorities Through a Comparative Analysis of Arab Spring Anniversary Coverage’, JOMEC Journal, University of London

Loveluck, L 2014, The Telegraph, ‘Abdullah Elshamy: ‘Freedom can’t be comprimised’, accessed 03/10/14, http://Http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/egypt/11119275/Abdullah-Elshamy-Freedom-cant-be-compromised.html

The Sydney Morning Herald, 2014, The Sydney Morning Herald, ‘Kim Kardashian tackled by Ukranian prankster at Paris Fashion Week’, accessed 02/10/2014, http://Http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/celebrity/kim-kardashian-tackled-by-ukranian-prankster-at-paris-fashion-week-20140926-10masb.html

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