What Is News?


News is entertainment or reports about current events locally, nationally, and internationally. That is correct, but they would be missing the central point of what news is. News is an effective way to spread new information around the world. While viewing the “What is News?” video on Newseum, I realized how important news is from an international perspective. From World War II to September 11th to the death of Osama Bin Laden, news travelled around the world quickly because of radio, television, and the internet.
In the first chapter of Inside Reporting, Tim Harrower writes that every society thinks of new and effective ways to get new information and gossip to the public. He states that in ancient times news was written on clay, and during the height of the Roman Empire slaves wrote newsletters, and as we advanced as a civilization the printing press was invented, and finally, during the 20th century, radio, television, and the internet became the primary source for journalism. The printing press has impacted the news because it provided mass production of newspapers. The radio impacted news in the 1920’s because it was the first time in history that people from all over the nation could hear news stories simultaneously. Television impacted news in the 1950’s because it brought sights and sounds, which engaged the audience in the story more than ever before. The internet, in my opinion, had the biggest impact on journalism because no matter where someone is, they can receive breaking news on their phones or tablets in real time.

The Digital Age

The internet completely changed the way journalism and news stories are written and viewed. Modern news coverage is very different from how it was covered in the 19th century. News in the modern era has become more succinct; usually the content of the article is summarized in the very first line and stories break almost immediately after an event, contrary to 19th century newspapers, which were produced slowly, often printed old stories, and were funded by political parties. While some aspects of news are different today from the 19th century, there are still some similarities. When the penny press first emerged newspapers changed dramatically. Editors were trying to be the first to break big news stories and reporters were covering a wide variety of stories. Also the papers were using advertising to help get funded. James Gordon Bennett brought innovative ideas to journalism such as conducting interviews, letters to the editor, and sports columns. I believe that a lot of today’s news is taken from James Gordon Bennett’s ideas. In today’s age of rapidly advancing technology, which allows for news to break minutes after an event and reach millions of viewers immediately, today’s teens or young people, myself included, would find it difficult to believe that it would sometimes take days or weeks for a news story to be published.

Now that we live in a digital era some people believe that newspapers may no longer be able to keep up with the internet. Some say that newspapers are doomed, but I do not believe that all newspapers are doomed. National newspapers like the Washington Post, New York Times, Chicago Sun Times, and the LA Times will not be harmed because they are nationally known, reputable news sources and they are very highly regarded by their viewers. Even statewide newspapers like the Daily News, New York Post, and The Philadelphia Inquirer will not be harmed in the digital age because there will always be advertisers that keep them afloat. I do believe that local newspapers will be doomed because they will not have enough money to support themselves and they will no longer be able to compete for viewers with free online news sources. My audio production professor from last semester told the class that his local newspaper only prints once a week because they do not have enough money to keep a staff and print every day. Also thousands of newspapers have become obsolete since the 2008 economic downfall. Even though some newspapers may go out of print their websites will always be around.


2 thoughts on “What Is News?

  1. Hey Shane! This blog is great! I love how you mention the book and how you give a detailed history to give readers a new perspective and understanding about things they may not have known to begin with!


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