The Characteristics of News


News is what people hear, see or read on TV, radio, in print or on the Internet. The term News is derived from the Greek word , meaning “to announce.”

In addition to being current, news stories should be interesting and engaging. Generally, they should be about things that don’t happen everyday or have a significant impact beyond one person’s personal life.

Timeliness: The most important characteristic of news is timeliness. When news gatekeepers decide what to include on a television or radio broadcast, they consider how quickly and how well an event is spreading among the general public.

Controversy: Events that involve conflict, fights and tension between people, nations and groups are always newsworthy.

Prominence: Any story that involves a prominent person is likely to make the news.

Currency: Stories that relate to money are often of interest to people.

Oddity: Stories that are unusual and have no known precedent are also newsworthy.

Emotion: Stories of human interest are usually newsworthy because they are emotionally charged, especially when the events involve people and their lives.

The News Characteristics:

In an effort to update Galtung and Ruge’s (1965) theory of news values, we propose a list of characteristics that can be identified in the news that we receive. Those characteristics could be used to help us understand the kinds of news that we choose to receive and why.

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