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What makes great news?
Transcript of What makes great news?
On a piece of paper, write down what you think you need to have in order for something to be considered great news.
Title this assignment: "What makes good news"
Stories that are local often do better than stories that are from far away places.
For example, a toxic waste dump in Russia is mildly interesting. A toxic waste dump in your neighborhood is major news!
For the most part, you want to make sure that you are telling news in a timely fashion.
In the news business, newer is better, and stories grow old in a hurry. You can think of news as a baked good that is best served fresh -- after a while it's stale and nobody is interested. (The danger in this is that sometimes we're in such a hurry to tell the story that we try to serve it before it's ready).
In a novel-writing class, you learn that your story needs a conflict. A book about everybody being nice to each other all of the time and living carefree lives doesn't exactly grab attention. But everybody loves conflict. That's part of why the news seems so negative. The millions of people who don't get murdered each day aren't news. The few who do are.
(aka the human interest piece)
Taking a glimpse at somebody else's life appeals to a voyeuristic part of human nature. A fire burning down an empty building doesn't have nearly the human interest of a fire that burns somebody's home, leaving a family homeless or killing somebody. We identify with other people, and that's part of what gives a story human interest.
People are more interested in famous people than in non-famous people. If Bob Johnson, a farmer from Nebraska, has an affair, it's not going to make the newspaper. When the President of the United States has an affair, it's front-page news. This is why "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" was a successful TV show, and why unsung heroes often remain unsung.
Is it an unusual story? The old saying in the news business is that when a dog bites a man, it's not news. For a while, U.S. churches sending missions teams to Russia was big news. Then it reached the point where it was almost more unusual for a church to not be sending people to Russia.
**Successful news stories always
have at least two or three of these