Somewhere between Romney,Obama and Hollande,petrol hikes and pilot strikes,Egyptian elections and the Syrian crisis,I happened to read a a piece of news.Well protected nationalities and names of the accused and the victim and unmentioned location of the incident, leaves the reader or more so with greater force the journalism student wondering, ‘How?’ Not how the incident occurred and proceeded.But how did it work its way into the much prized newspaper space?
The Oxford Dictionary of Media and Communication gives in description of news worthiness that,”…over time,news actually creates the consensus knowledge by which reporters and the general public recognize newsworthiness.”
It now leaves us with another enigmatical question.Is this is the consensus at which we have arrived through an era of desensitization or is it an evident overlooking of news worthiness.
The journalism student is taught to consider news values with the thoroughness nursery rhymes are etched into the memory slot of the brain.Looking over at the piece of news, this time,contemplating the omissions rather than the unwanted additions.When so much information is skipped,is this what the reader wants to know?Is such a graphic description of the scene in any requirement of its worthiness?Or has the reader allowed at will to be offered such (un)necessary details.
The definition of news value(Oxford Dictionary of Media and Communication)will find itself in paradox in such a situation for it underlines the criteria of adoption of such events in the news that “are open to a clear interpretation rather than ambiguous…” In such a report what is that which can be interpreted? At the same time it definitely cannot be qualified as ambiguous as its devoid of ambiguity to a far stretched extent.
Its time we stop and think what we read or rather allowed to be offered to read.
Like Mark Twain once put it, “all generalizations are false.”…”including this one”!