But the bad news is more newsworthy!

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Before taking this news writing class, I had the same opinion of the public: Reporters and the news focus too much on bad news.  However, I have learned that the bad news is more newsworthy.  Who wants to read a story about each person who rode a bus and arrived safely to their destination?  They'd rather read about a bus plunge (even though it would be a filler story).  Haiman states: "Journalists respond that news is not the story of all the airplanes that landed safely yesterday but of the one that did not" (37).

So how can the newsworthy bad news be balanced with the public's request for more positive news?  The two tips I found most helpful from Best Practices for Newspaper Journalists are:

-React less; initiate more.  Cover the breaking news of individual events but look more for the significant trends.  Put stories in context ("Was this the first murder of the year or the 40th?") 
*This tip allows the story to focus less on the bad news and take a more realistic view of the situation. 

-Reach deeper into the community for sources.  The team discovered that readers were very interested in being informed about such things as traffic safety or bicycle thefts, which often can fall below the threshold of how newsrooms define news.
*This tip is interesting because it suggests other newsworthy stories that are not bad news.  Of course nobody wants to read about bunnies and rainbows (pardon the cliche), but there are other stories (such as the ones suggested above) which can be more newsworthy, positive, and not bad.  In the end, journalists will have real news to report and readers will have their complaints tended too.  Balance is key. 


These tips were found on page 41 of Best Practices for Newspaper Journalists
Click here for the course page.

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