Monday, September 15, 2008

News and its Values

The first story I selected to review for newsworthiness from the is headlined, “People didn’t leave,” by David Zucchino and P.J. Huffstutter of the Los Angeles Times (story published 9/14/08). The lead writes, “Officials race against time to find thousands who defied Ike, evacuation order Power goes out for more than 3 million Texans, may not be restored for weeks.” The following factors substantiate the article’s newsworthiness.
· Impact- the Gulf of Mexico has many oil, natural gas and petrochemical industries, which were ordered to evacuate prior to the storm. Their shutdown has caused gas prices to rise across the country. The article reports that many places now sell gas at over $5 a gallon. Personally, my family is affected by Ike because over night (from Friday 9/12/08 to 9/13/08) gas prices near my family home jumped 28 cents per gallon.
· Currency- The article references the previous hurricane to hit the United States (Gustav) Even though Gustav only happened within a month, its currency to Ike is astounding as people in New Orleans were ordered to evacuate, yet many stayed behind because they feared the aftershocks (Looting, vandalism, destruction of property, ect.) of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
· Conflict- The rescuers face many dangers in trying to say the people who stayed behind after evacuation. Many people are stuck in their homes, which have flooded and can only wait for help. Much of the conflict in this particular story resides against nature and the warm waters of the gulf.
· Timeliness- Hurricane Ike just recently made landfall at about 2 A.M. on Friday, September 12, 2008.
· Human Interest- There is a lot of human-interest focus in this article because rescuers are in a frenzy to find those who stayed behind. Officials are very angry because an evacuation order was put into effect to make sure everyone was safe from the storm and the damages that would follow afterward. The people who did not leave endangered not only their own lives but the lives of the people who had to save them.

The second story I chose to study for the news values studied in the textbook was titled, “With public divided, campaign to pass slots measure heats up.” Written by Gadi Dechter and Laura Smitherman, this story is major news for Major news for the people of Maryland. Let’s look at why.
· Impact- If the state government of Maryland were to pass the legislation allowing slots into local areas, most notably Laurel Race Track in Prince Georges and Howard counties, the new revenue is slated to be injected into the education of school children up to grade 12.
· Prominence- There are many names involved including the Governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley.
· Currency- The topic of slots in Maryland has been debated for many years. Former governors have tried to pass this same legislation but were only met with protest.
· Conflict- Although the general public has long since backed the idea of slots, approval ratings are now giving way.
· Proximity- This article and the legislation itself is extremely close to the people of Maryland.

The final story is one less focused on news, but rather the entertainment world. During the premiere of the 34th season of Saturday Night Live (SNL), local Olympic champion Michael Phelps hosted. Although critics say he did not fare so well, others involved made the show shine once again. The story was written by David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun newspaper. The blog post shows much newsworthiness.
· Prominence- Two main names were used in this article which gave it a lot of prominence: Michael Phelps and Tina Fey.
· Unusualness- Critics of Phelps as a comedian say he did only “okay” until his last skit when he clearly lost his focus. Phelps took on 8 skits for the show. His load was incredible.
· Timeliness- The premiere of SNL recently occurred within the past week.
· Proximity- Although SNL is not produced in Maryland, its host for this show was—Phelps was raised in the Baltimore area.

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