The world is full of news, but not all news is good news. The ability to discern the important from the irrelevant is the mark of a well-rounded citizen. It takes practice to make sense of the flood of information that assaults us every day. It helps to have a few moments of the day where you will take the time to consider what is happening in the news and why it is significant.
A good news story is one that meets the following five criteria: it must be new, unusual, interesting and significant and about people. It should also be reported briefly and logically, with enough detail to convey the facts, but not so much that it becomes boring. The story must be sourced to ensure the journalist has the five “Ws”: who, what, when, where and why.
Veteran reporters have a special knack for determining what will make a good news story. They can read between the lines of a press release and pick out telling snippets of conversation and dialogue, watch for details that develop character and place and observe actions that capture the essence of an event. They know how to write their news stories to attract readers, quickly so that they can read them, clearly so that the message is understood and picturesquely so that the story will be remembered.
This article presents six major storylines in a local newspaper as detailed chapter narratives, allowing the reader to see how each unfolded and to discover what lessons can be learned about the production of news. It updates scholarly definitions of news such as those put forward by Galtung and Ruge, while examining how news selection and dissemination decisions are made.