One would think the definition of news would be rather cut-and-dry. One who thinks that would also be quite wrong.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word “news” as “newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent events.” However, this is not nearly nuanced enough to encompass the ever-changing landscape of news.
Prior to the advent of broadcast news, when newspapers ruled the day and dinosaurs roamed the earth, the newsworthiness of a piece of information or an event was determined largely by the location of the publication and the size of the paper’s newshole. It was not uncommon in those days to see 12 column-inches devoted to the color of the dress Ms. Birdie McBride wore to the local corn boil.
Once the television invaded every American home and the local television news broadcast was born, the definition of news significantly changed to “semi-noteworthy information that looks good on camera.” This, coupled with many news stations’ investment in a helicopter, meant that any burning structure or minor traffic snarl became newsworthy events.
As time progressed, and money rolled in from large advertising firms, the definition shifted to “semi-noteworthy information that looks good on camera and will not offend our big advertisers.”
More recently, in the age of the Internet, the definition has shifted to a much more simple definition that has inspired new forms of innovation. News can now best be defined as “Stuff we can get people to click on in the hopes of maybe earning 10 cents.”
Photo by eliztesch