Real News, Fake News, and the News Value

Examples of real news: Things that happen “on the news” that influence world events and decisions. An example of this is a story on CNN about the pending explosion of a pipeline in Texas. A local story that isn’t even about an immediate local event. (May 16, 2000; papers only)


Another example is the contents of a human interest magazine. These are very similar to newspapers, in that they are designed to keep readers informed of significant happenings. They do this through stories about people. But unlike newspapers, magazines choose to focus on interesting or unusual events. A real news story could become boring reading if it was about everyone’s everyday life, but a unique human interest story makes for interesting reading because the author has put a little bit extra effort into making the story as interesting as possible.

Finally, we have websites such as YouTube and Twitter, which allow us to post short snippets of real news, along with commentary. Sometimes, these tidbits are posted on a number of different cultures and countries at once. It seems that the world is getting smaller by the minute. The news value in these is almost entirely subjective to the reader, since no two readers will likely experience the same news experience. When you consider that many people share opinions about the day’s events, the potential for a viral sensation is nearly infinite.