on Reliability of Breaking News:
What is the reliability of breaking news? Can we fully trust or is it our job to check and verify it?
To answer these questions, we must first consider the process of producing news.
First, we have to determine what news is. In the most common form, news is information about any event creatively transformed and presented for the better perception by the audience.
Along with this epistemological notion, there is also an ontological notion of news, where it is defined as something that is interesting for the most of the society and was unknown before.
According to C. Holl, news can only be interesting, unusual, and significant event, which occurred over the past twenty-four. That is the tangible timeliness of the incidents or views expressed, their obvious closeness to audience, the drama, urgency, and extraordinariness are primarily important.
Researchers Everett Dennis and John Merrill give the following definition: “The news is a message, which presents a modern view of reality with respect to the specific issue, event, or process. News can present changes in society significant to an individual or a society, which are served in the context of conventional or typical. News is designed according to what are the interests of the audience, as well as internal and external constraints faced by the respective news producer.”
Researchers and theorists in the field of mass communication considered news as a narrative, characterized by the presence of major and minor characters, the “heroes” and “villains,” consistently developing an action that has the beginning, middle, and end, the marked dramatic turns in the plot, which corresponds to the scenarios usual for the audience.
News narrative structure allows the audience to attribute certain motifs to the actors of the reported events, thus, facilitating perception of initially fragmented and random observations.
Some experts believe the key elements of the news producing process (verbal reaction, episode, comment) to be associated with the basic strategies of narrative discourse (anecdote, legend, parable) with their reference functions. They note that the specifics of the news narrative is non-chronological order of its elements, due to the necessity of the media to follow not only the narrative forms, but also news schemes – information fragments collected by journalists and producers into a single unit, in accordance with certain standards of the genre.
The object of news is a knowledge or event. The news subject is a contextual assessment of momentary significance with some prognosis. Hence, news is not an event or knowledge per se, but it is what the audience sees in it.
Each audience has its own news, what it considers as important or interesting. Thus, not any information is news and therefore requires differentiated assessment.
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