What is news?
I got into an interesting e-discussion recently about what constitutes news. It was prompted by a colleague’s very interesting post suggesting that true news can actually be measured by the amount of risk it brings to you as an individual. And if a news story introduces no risk to your life, should it be classified as news?
Income tax increases add risk to my life, so I class any related stories as news. But arguably, a reduction in income tax rates does not introduce any risk and according to the above proposition, any related stories should not constitute news to me. I’d beg to differ, as they offer opportunity.
Three “news” stories annoy the shit out of me on an annual basis: Spaniards throwing tomatoes at each other in the street; Spaniards running away from angry bulls, again in the street; and backward people from Gloucestershire injuring themselves while throwing themselves down a hill alongside hunks of cheese. (Maybe if the bulls were combined with the tomatoes, it would become newsworthy. Somehow, I think not.)
But there is a category of information currently classified as news that does fall foul of the risk-based definition, but that I would want to know about: Sport. Maybe “news” should be classified into one of two buckets: risk and interest. More on this another time.