Monday, September 8, 2008

From Green Polar Bears to Britney Spears

News is anything that address the issues people want to know about concerning the world around them. In the book All the News, Thom Lieb calls this check list of news values, "editorial judgement." He characterizes these into nine different categories: impact, prominence, unusualness, currency, conflict, timeliness, proximity, affinity and human interest. A journalist must always be conscience of the audience they are writing for. Some audiences are only looking for specific characteristics in their news stories.

When reading the news stories on the homepage of the the first one that struck me was an unusual story of green polar bears. In "Zoo visitors in Japan are puzzled by polar bears who have turned green for algae," by the associated press and published on September 8, 2008. (Picture from The main characteristic of this story used by the author is its unusualness. It is an out- of- the ordinary story, used to entertain the audience. The polar bears are not harmed from taking a dip in the algae filled pond, they just get a comical dye job. Lieb states that journalists must be careful with this characteristic. "Journalists need to be careful that this news value does not blind them to important everyday happenings."

The story that caught my eye immediately as a story of prominence was: "Britney Spears to open MTV Video Music Awards," by Nekesa Mumbi Moody, published September 4, 2008. (Picture taken from Lieb states that, "simply put, names make news." Arguably, the small actions of celebrities make more news than politics or world events. Britney Spears is a perfect example of how prominence can "lead to overblown coverage of the inconsequential actions of minor celebrities." -Thom Lieb. This story could also be viewed as a story of timeliness because the VMAs (video music awards) was just three days ago. The story of Britney Spears as a whole could also be called a human interest story. The public always loves to cheer for fallen celebrities who pick themselves back up. Some may even find an emotional connection in her story which is what human interest stories strive to produce.

The next and final story that I read was, "Man charged in fatal shooting of 17-year-old last month," by Gus G. Sentementes, published on September 9, 2008. This story is a story of conflict, proximity and affinity. The conflict stems from the area in which the murder was taken place, he is the second person to be killed in Garrison. The young, 17- year-old, would strike affinity as another characteristic. He, just like those who read the Baltimore Sun, live in Maryland and as far as the authorities know, he was not involved in any gang related activity. The senseless act of murder could have been victimized anyone in the area. The final characteristic is proximity. It occurred in Baltimore, where so many people call home. "Proximity refers to physical nearness," states Lieb. Altogether the story was an important one to be known especially in the Baltimore area.

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