In Sound Reporting: The NPR Guide to Audio Journalism and Production, author Jonathan Kern discusses the many factors that can make a story newsworthy:
- It will have great impact on people.
- It’s unusual or unexpected.
- It’s the first of a kind.
- It’s timely.
- It’s controversial.
- It involves prominent people.
- It deals with death or tragedy.
- It has to do with the U.S.
- It concerns an important issue.
- It is of human interest.
- It’s useful.
- It’s “out there.” (As in getting widespread interest elsewhere.)
Kern says these factors help newscasters quickly sort thousands of stories down to a manageable number.
And while news judgment can be subjective, in public radio it also conforms to particular values and principles:
- The news is accurate.
- The news is up-to-date.
- The news stories are easy to understand.
- The news stories provide context.
- The news is balanced.
- The stories are well written.
- The news stories avoid hype.
- The newscast takes a global perspective.
- Newscasters don’t let themselves become part of the public relations machine.