News Values

In 1965, media researchers Galtung & Ruge analysed international news stories to find out what factors they had in common, and what factors placed them at the top of the news agenda worldwide. They came up with the following list of news values. - a kind of scoring system - a story which scores highly on each value is certain to come at the start of a TV news bulletin, or make the front page of a newspaper. Journalists and editors also draw heavily on their experience - of what an audience expects, of what stories have had a major impact on public consciousness in the past, of what is important - and each news organisation will have their own system of setting a news agenda.

News Value

Bad news - involving death, tragedy, bankruptcy, violence, damage, natural disasters, political upheaval or simply extreme weather conditions - is always rated above 'positive' stories (royal weddings, celebrations etc)
Closeness to home (Proximity)
Audiences supposedly relate more to stories that are close to them geographically, or involve people from their country, or those that are reported that way(eg '12 Hong Kongers aboard Australia Crash Plane'). News gatekeepers must consider carefully how meaningful a story will be to their particular audience
Newspapers are very competitive about breaking news - about revealing stories as they happen. 24 hour news channels such as CNN and BBC World also rate this value very highly. However, as we have seen with the events of September 11, stories may take a while to develop, and become coherent, so recency is not always the best value to rate.
This is almost opposite to recency, in that stories that have been in the public eye for some time already are deemed valuable. Therefore a story - for instance about the abduction and murder of a child - may run for weeks and weeks, even if nothing new really happens.
Events that are likely to have a continuing impact (a war, a two week sports tournament) have a high value when the story breaks, as they will develop into an ongoing narrative which will get audiences to 'tune in tomorrow'.
'Dog Bites Man' is not a story. 'Man Bites Dog' is. Any story which covers a unique or unusual event (two-headed elephant born to Birmingham woman) has news values
Obvious, but true. Stories which are easy to explain ('Cat stuck up tree') are preferred over stories which are not (anything to do with the Balkan or Palestinian conflicts)
Stories that centre around a particular person, because they can be presented from a 'human interest' angle, are beloved of newspapers, particularly if they involve a well-known person. Some say this news value has become distorted, and that news organisations over-rate personality stories, particularly those involving celebrities ('Kate Middleton Goes Shopping'). What do you think?
Expectedness (Predictability)
Does the event match the expectations of a news organisation and its audience? Or, has what was expected to happen (violence at a demonstration, horrific civilian casualties in a terrorist attack) actually happened? If a news story conforms to the preconceived ideas of those covering it, then it has expectedness as an important news value
Elite Nations Or People
Any story which covers an important, powerful nation (or organisation) has greater news values than a story which covers a less important nation. The same goes for people. Barack and Michelle Obama are newsworthy whatever they do.
Also a major factor when setting the news agenda. If a newspaper or news programme is the first and only news organisation breaking a story, then they will rate that very highly. The UK Sunday papers are very fond of exclusives, and will often break a story of national or international importance that no one else has.
does matter when it comes to news stories. The bigger impact a story has, the more people it affects, the more money/resources it involves, the higher its value. This is also known as threshold

Further Reading on News Values

What's the Angle (News Bias)?

Each news story is reported from a particular angle or slant. This may be one of the news values listed above, or it may be political or personal, depending on the journalist's (or the publication they work for's) beliefs.

The main ways in which to influence a news story are;

Read more about these here:

Bias In The News - explanations plus examples.

Questioning the News

We are often told that we live in the Information Age, and that regular, recent updates of information (ie news) are vital to our survival. However, some say that the news is nothing but infotainment, and does not bring us any closer to the truth.

FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting).