Journalistic and Commercial News Value: News Organizations as Patrons of an Institution and Market Actors

9266 words 38 pages

Journalistic and Commercial News Values
News Organizations as Patrons of an Institution and Market Actors

Why do some events fill the columns and air time of news media, while others are ignored? Why do some stories make banner headlines whereas others merit no more than a few lines? What factors decide what news professionals consider newsworthy? Such questions are often answered – by journalists and media researchers alike – with references to journalistic news values or ‘news criteria’. Some answers are normatively founded; others are pragmatic and descriptive. In the present article, I submit that editorial priorities should not be analyzed in purely journalistic terms. Instead,
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Some news organizations fade away, and new ones see the light of day. At the same time, an institutional ‘sisterhood’ among the media has evolved over the years. Among the common features are ethical norms and understandings of what constitutes “good journalistic practice“ that apply to all media and media organizations.



Another common feature is the development of specialized training, which successively has elevated journalism to the status of a quasiprofession. A third characteristic of institutions is that they are expected – by practitioners in the organizations within the institutions and others – to perform certain tasks and fill certain needs in society and politics. Here we come to one of the most clearly institutional features of news media, namely, their roles as channel and arena for communication in the public sphere. Various commissions and committee reports on Swedish and Norwegian media speak of roles that are perequisite to the proper functioning of democracy: public affairs information, scrutiny of wielders of power, and public debate. Political parties and elites have long viewed news media as important channels by which to reach the electorate and as competitive arenas for political opinion formation. Ideals relating to these roles are expressed, for example, in the code of ethics of the Norwegian Press