What is news?

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News values

Three categories

  1. Impact

    • threshold: event must pass minimum size/scale/intensity/effect threshold to be reported, beyond which greater impact = more coverage
    • frequency: sudden events more likely to be reported than long-term/gradually unfolding stories
    • negativity: bad news more exciting than good (also likely to score highly on other metrics)
    • unexpectedness: unusual more interesting than everyday (aka man bites dog not dog bites man)
    • unambiguity: easy to understand topics (fewer possible interpretations) more likely to be reported than those with complex background or requiring specialist knowledge.
  2. Audience identification

    • personification: stories presented in terms of actions of named individuals, or concerning particular people, or presented from human interest angle preferred to those presented as result of abstract social forces (which are more likely to be presented if can be illustrated via references to individuals)
    • meaningfulness: cultural relevance or proximity to audience preferred (language, identity, values etc.)
    • elite organisations/institutions: stories involving powerful actors more likely than those about less influential players
    • elite people: stories involving important persons (wealthy, powerful, famous, infamous) with influence on lives of audience more likely than those about ordinary people.
  3. Pragmatics of coverage

    • consonance: stories matching sector’s expectations of newsworthiness more likely to be reported than those which do not, journalists more likely to cover event for which they are prepared
    • continuity: story already in news and of persistent interest more likely to be reported, partly because previous coverage has made story more accessible to audience
    • compositional balance: story that adds to coverage range more likely to be reported than one that adds to pile of similar items.

Summary

Has something happened that is:

  • significant?
  • sudden?
  • problematic or controversial?
  • unexpected or unusual?
  • easy to grasp?
  • emotive?
  • proximate?
  • involving a prominent organisation, institution or individual?
  • expected?
  • ongoing?
  • suitable for the media channel?

The more criteria a story meets the better, but if a story does not meet any of these criteria for its intended audience it is unlikely to gain any attention.

Further considerations

  • What about the personal interests of the journalist?
  • What about research or time constraints?
  • What about the public interest?
  • How important is timeliness/recency?
  • How important is exclusivity (to a particular media channel)?
  • How important is the media channel’s content strategy?
Recent stories
Net Zero Exeter logo

Comment  ⁄  Climate & environment

Is Exeter City Council going to abandon its Net Zero 2030 target?

Review suggests alignment with Devon Carbon Plan, currently aimed at 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and net zero by 2050, citing "technical and financial challenges ahead", although change in policy would require decision by councillors after 6 May local elections.

Interim Devon Carbon Plan consultation responses net zero target date preferences

News  ⁄  Climate & environment

Devon Carbon Plan consultation finds majority want net zero by 2030

Devon Climate Emergency Response Group questions whether 2030 "realistic" and suggests "palatable" compromise while only 13% of consultees support UK government's 2050 target.

Exeter City Council in session at Exeter Guildhall - Inauguration of Lord Mayor

News  ⁄  Democracy & governance

High Court rules council meetings must resume in person after local elections

Case seeking judgement to allow local authority meetings to continue remotely when temporary coronavirus regulations expire fails to override requirement for primary legislation.

Electoral Commission ballot box graphic

Analysis  ⁄  Democracy & governance

2021 Exeter local elections guide

Elections for Exeter City Council, Devon County Council and the Devon & Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner are taking place in Exeter on 6 May. Our essential election guide highlights wards and divisions to watch, changes taking place and how, when and where to vote.

Met Office graph showing 2020 global mean temperature difference from 1850-1900

News  ⁄  Climate & environment

World Meteorological Organization report confirms "relentless" intensification of climate crisis despite pandemic lockdowns

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Centre for Cities Exeter City Monitor graphic

Comment  ⁄  Economy & enterprise

Selective use of statistics presents an unbalanced account of Exeter's economic & environmental status

Exeter City Council's Chief Executive uses statistics to show the city in a good light, but in doing so presents a picture which omits important information about the city's true position.

Recent stories
Net Zero Exeter logo

Is Exeter City Council going to abandon its Net Zero 2030 target?

Interim Devon Carbon Plan consultation responses net zero target date preferences

Devon Carbon Plan consultation finds majority want net zero by 2030

Exeter City Council in session at Exeter Guildhall - Inauguration of Lord Mayor

High Court rules council meetings must resume in person after local elections

Electoral Commission ballot box graphic

2021 Exeter local elections guide

Met Office graph showing 2020 global mean temperature difference from 1850-1900

World Meteorological Organization report confirms "relentless" intensification of climate crisis despite pandemic lockdowns

Centre for Cities Exeter City Monitor graphic

Selective use of statistics presents an unbalanced account of Exeter's economic & environmental status

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Featured stories
Centre for Cities Exeter City Monitor graphic

Comment  ⁄  Economy & enterprise

Selective use of statistics presents an unbalanced account of Exeter's economic & environmental status

Exeter City Council's Chief Executive uses statistics to show the city in a good light, but in doing so presents a picture which omits important information about the city's true position.


Train at Okehampton Station in 2015

News  ⁄  Transport & mobility

Okehampton to Exeter "Dartmoor Line" passenger rail service reinstatement confirmed

£40 million Department for Transport "Restoring your Railway" funding to enable trains every two hours by end of this year, with plans to increase to hourly service during 2022. Stakeholders combine to get South West infrastructure needs onto Whitehall agenda.


Maclaines Warehouses beside Exeter ship canal

Analysis  ⁄  Planning & place

Maclaines Warehouses development tests Exeter Heritage Harbour status

Decisions taken behind closed doors in favour of commercial interests threaten maritime and waterway heritage vision for Exeter’s historic quay, canal and canal basin.


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Comment  ⁄  Climate & environment

I'm a climate scientist – here's three key things I have learned over a year of COVID

A leading climate scientist's perspective on what the community has learned over the past year about the interactions between the pandemic and the current and future global climate.


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Analysis  ⁄  Democracy & governance

£37.5 million council maintenance backlog caused by underinvestment to be part-funded by asset sales

Exeter City Council has allowed property assets to deteriorate while prioritising new schemes including the £44 million St Sidwell's Point leisure centre, forcing it to identify assets for sale to pay its outstanding repair bills.


Exeter City Council offices on Paris Street

Analysis  ⁄  Democracy & governance

Council pushes back on Liveable Exeter Place Board scrutiny following membership change

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St Sidwell's Point development site outline aerial view

Analysis  ⁄  Democracy & governance

Exeter City Council executive members take direct control of city planning decisions

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Analysis  ⁄  Climate & environment

Is the "Net Zero" Exeter plan fit for purpose? Part I: Exeter's carbon footprint

Exeter City Futures' carbon reduction plan ignores over a million tonnes of carbon emissions and massively underestimates the challenges facing the city. First in a series examining its flaws by Fridays For Future youth climate activists.


Food retailers at Queen Street Dining in Exeter Guildhall shopping centre

Analysis  ⁄  Democracy & governance

Unelected Liveable Exeter Place Board created to oversee city from the shadows

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Department for Transport New Road Layout for Social Distancing coronavirus road sign

Analysis  ⁄  Transport & mobility

Coronavirus exposes council failure to deliver Exeter transport plans

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Pulling Road Pinhoe Exeter zero carbon housing development site plan

Analysis  ⁄  Planning & place

Exeter's first "zero carbon" housing development includes 96 car parking spaces for 40 homes

Exeter City Council has approved plans to develop land at Pinhoe with a parking ratio of 2.4 cars per household as part of an "exemplar scheme for future residential development in the city" while accepting that zero carbon construction comes "at a cost to the provision of affordable housing".