Sound Reporting: Newscasting

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.

More on Sound Reporting by Jonathan Kern of NPR News