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What are News?



what are news?

The media’s reporting on current events and on the background to political or economic developments, for example, is one of the basic prerequisites for the functioning of our democracy. Freedom of expression and freedom of information are an important component of the fundamental rights of our constitution. Due to the experiences of the National Socialist era, when the media were aligned with the rulers and thus under the total control of the National Socialists, the media in the Federal Republic should be organized as far away from the state as possible. The diversity of opinions is expressly desired.

We learn about the current events of the day from the news. They usually give an overview in a very neutral form of what we as viewers should know, at least according to the opinion of the editorial staff who compiled the news. Precisely because the news is presented in a very sober and seemingly objective manner, it is important for children and young people to gain an insight into the conditions of production in order to understand and classify it. This includes, above all, a critical reflection on news procurement and the credibility of sources.

What becomes news?

Another important area is the question of the selection of existing reports by the editorial team, which thus decides what, from its point of view, is important for the viewer and what is not. This includes both the order of the reports since viewers are used to the “top reports” being at the beginning of a newscast and the mix that makes up a newscast. Of importance here is the proportion of socially and politically relevant facts on the one hand and the more emotional stories on the other, e.g. reports on the offspring in royal families or marriage or divorce intentions of stars from the fields of music, film, or sport.

The preparation of the news can also be very different: On the one hand, they can convey quite abstract data, numbers, or names, for example, when it comes to reporting on an earthquake. On the other hand, they can also present the catastrophe from the perspective of an affected person who tells how he or she experienced, survived, and processed the earthquake. There are different intentions behind these two types of news construction: The soberly presented information leaves it up to the viewers how they use the news to construct their own worldview; the reports from the perspective of the victims, on the other hand, give viewers a better sense of empathy for the situation of those affected. Especially when it comes to generating aid or donations, for example, this form of reporting is considerably more effective.

News provides orientation

News exists in all media, but its function and preparation are very different. The print media, for example, are less and less able to keep up with the topicality of the electronic media Рradio, television, the Internet, and Gastbeitrag veröffentlichen. Daily newspapers, and even more so weekly or monthly magazines, therefore tend to have the task of explaining backgrounds and contexts beyond topicality. On the radio, news usually takes place every hour, but the most important world events are usually compressed into just five minutes. Television news programs are probably the most important sources of information on current events for most people. Online, supplementary forms to classic news reporting are emerging, as well as new formats, supplemented by numerous apps for mobile devices, which go hand in hand with a change in reception behavior and are thus more likely to be used by a younger target group. The news is prepared according to the respective services, linked to social media offerings, updated at short intervals, and checked by recipients for a quick overview in between.

The relevance of news broadcasts and reporting varies greatly, both in terms of the different types of information and the needs of the recipients. A large part of the information conveyed is primarily for orientation in the world, i.e., to know what special events are taking place in different parts of the world. Whether a tornado in Oklahoma, an earthquake in the Hindu Kush, or a tsunami in Japan: catastrophes somewhere in the world rarely have a personal connection to the reality of the viewers’ lives. This can be different with news from politics and economics. We find out almost exclusively when elections are taking place and who is running which program.