Posted by Emily Carl
How does a journalist decide what is news? When does the information streaming every day become newsworthy? Recently, the media has been reporting on the recent engagement of Kate Middleton and Prince William. Magazine covers and news webpages have been showcasing the engagement. Pictures and video of the two announcing their engagement have been broadcast across major news networks. Even critiques and judgements of Kate’s outfit circulated across news outlets. Some even commented that she could be the next fashion icon like Michelle Obama. Among major news stories such as the Indonesian volcano blast, Cambodian stampede, and the outrage over the new Ugandan newspaper, the engagement seems un-newsworthy, almost unnecessary. Within days after the engagement, souvenirs are being sold with Kate and Williams’ faces imprinted. With the news being flooded with their engagement, journalists are expected to report on what is in demand. This allows the journalist to stay relevant among rival or oppositional news media.
But how does a trend like this start? The news is often dark and potentially saddening. Reports of death and destruction take up most of the evening news stories. People don’t want to hear of this every day. They want something to occupy their news coverage between the negative news reports. So journalists must decide whether information is worthy enough of being reported as news. Most often, the so-called soft news will be reported to appease the viewers.
Every day, people become popular through social media such as Twitter and Youtube. Viral videos and “celebritweets” are fast becoming news. People want to escape reality, and the news outlets are making it easier for people to do that.