News Construction

23 10 2009

Category: Media

News stories are constructed. What I mean by that is that they are built up from raw materials into a news story. If you think of the empty space in the paper or on TV or radio as a plot of land and the journalist as an architect; when they’re asked to build a house on the plot there’s a range of possibilities as to what they will come up with.

The journalist takes the raw material of information and constructs a news story. How they use that material, what they add or leave out – that’s up to them, their resources and the editorial policy of that news organisation. There’s a finite space for news, so organisations are not just dealing with the issue of how stories are covered, but also what is covered and what isn’t.

Journalism school teaches you on day one to think about the ‘who, what, why, when and how,” of a story. That’s exactly what a reader needs to be thinking when they read a story or watch an item on television, but not about the subject matter of the story; about the construction of the story.

Having worked as a journalist I was constantly troubled by the decisions and ideas going into the construction of news. I constantly see examples that illustrate this process. I’ll be putting up some examples on this blog to help illustrate what I mean.

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