Construction Of A News Story

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's October 2001

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In this essay I will discuss how news values, ideology and culture can affect the construction of a news story. Firstly, what is news? News is a constructed product. It is saleable, superficial, simple, objective, action-central, interesting (as distinct from significant), stylized and prudent (Breed, 1956). According to Greg Philio, "˜"�News"� on television and in the Press is not self-defining. News is not "found"� or even "gathered"� so much as made. It is a creation of a journalistic process, an artifact, a commodity even' (Fowler, R. 1991, p10). However, news is not a piece of history (although it may record history), gossip, of human interest, free of subjectivity, free of socio-cultural influences. Television news for example is highly selective. Countless events of huge magnitude can occur on any one day but only a very small, selected portion ever reaches our living rooms via the television news programs. There are certain identifiable characteristics which determine what is selected.

Television news is personalized; it ignores institutions and structures and concentrates on personalities. This is because things like communism are subjects that are hard to get across to the audience. The medium and the timeslot demand that stories be short and visually interesting. A recipe approach is used- there is a blend of international, nation and local stories; political, industrial, economic and human interest stories. Minor stories with dramatic impact therefore get equal or greater coverage than more significant, global items. The news presents itself as actuality when in fact it is a coded construction of manipulated signs and symbols.

Every event that is reported in the news will always have to undergo a process called "˜gatekeeping'. Journalists and editors do not decide for themselves about whether the reported event is newsworthy or not. They have to refer to a set so called...