Read All About It: What Makes a Story Newsworthy

Jun 11, 2024 by S. R. Watts

In today’s high-tech world, there is no shortage of media sources from which to get your news. Whether it's the New York Times or The Daily Wire, everyone can access news stories that, to varying degrees, impact them and their way of life. However, I have come to realize that there is a fine line between newsworthy stories and merely sensational ones. So, for this blog entry, I will share my views on what deserves a news outlet’s attention and what should be relegated to a mere social media post.

First, it’s important to examine how average news companies report news and evaluate successive stories. Typically, when I tune into the national news at 5:30 PM, the anchor begins with a segment on a national or international incident or event that is generally relevant to all viewers. This could involve a presidential election, warfare in a significant geopolitical area, or a natural catastrophe ranging from earthquakes to hurricanes. If multiple events occur in a day, they are covered in sequence. Subsequently, as the news progresses, the stories become less pressing until the final segment, which often presents a feel-good piece to conclude the broadcast positively.

Based on how each story is organized by urgency for viewers, I think a story is most newsworthy when it can affect an individual's well-being. This forms a spectrum where necessary stories are urgent, while others may not need telling for a long time - if at all. To illustrate, urgent news could be like the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 a pandemic threat in March 2020. Sensational news might include news about Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez reuniting in 2022, which may be important to fans but unnecessary information for others.

So, to sum it all up, Newsworthiness should be based on how relevant the story is to the vast majority of people receiving it. Some news pieces, by their very nature, have a greater impact on society simply because of how the information will impact the people hearing the story unfold, so they should be given priority when considering which news stories to tell first. All other pieces, particularly those related to pop culture and celebrities, should only be given more attention if their impact on society is so great that a large number of people would either be positively or negatively affected by what has happened within the realms of those people and events.