What is News?
No matter how strange it may sound, there is no clear definition of what news is. Efforts to define the news have produced several definitions of varying complexity. These definitions range from simple explanations which state news is everything that is new to elaborate descriptions which explain news as timely, accurate and objective delivery of information. News, however, is more than just a written or spoken word about an event that occurred somewhere around the world. News is information that has the potential to change people’s lives for better or for worse.
Why is News Important?
There are many factors that make news important. The news is a valuable source of information that lets the public know about various events that take place in their local community, country, or anywhere else in the world. News can shift public opinions and influence the way people perceive geopolitical relations between counties and their citizens around the world. News can even save lives by informing the public about oncoming storms, floods or other natural disasters. News can also entertain people and let them feel more connected to the rest of the world. News media such as newspapers or electronic magazines are important for businesses because they can advertise various products or services.
Why is Local News Important?
Local news informs the community about important events that happen in their broader community that may or may not have an impact on their lives. Local news can help introduce social issues or challenges to community members and steer discussions. Local news can also inform people about accidents or potential dangers in their community such as closed or damaged roads or bridges so that people can plan their time better and stay safe.
Why is the National News Important?
National news informs people about important events that take place all around the country. It gives people an opportunity to have a national perspective on discussions, activities, events, or initiatives taking place in different towns, cities, or in the national government. National news informs people about national road works, weather forecast, economics and social affairs, and other things that influence everyday living. Almost all countries in the world have national broadcasters who usually transmit both television and radio signals on national frequencies.
Why is International News Important?
As the world becomes globalized, people feel the need to be informed about the global economy and important events that may influence their business decisions. The international news gives people a global perspective on the cultural, as well as any other, similarities and differences which are present in other countries. Some international events can influence the stability of a country, the global market, and economies, so it is important that both the general public and decision-makers stay informed.
Can News cause Harm?
A well-known saying goes: Good news travels fast, but bad news travels even faster. It seems people are more eager to hear about the pain and suffering of others than about optimistic and empowering stories. The media massively uses this common fact to saturate the information-hungry societies with mass violence reports. Mass violence in media has become an omnipresent phenomenon that is now considered somewhat normal. As the incidents of bad news increases, people have started to accept them. By broadcasting often overstated reports on mass violence, the media has shaped societies to think about it as a regular part of their lives. Some people may even find inspiration to commit horrific crimes from news reports. News reporters and other media content producers need to be aware that their words can make a change. Whether this change would be good or bad, much depends on their personal values and morals, knowledge, and skills.
How does Media Contribute to Violence?
Media contributes to the stereotypes of crime by sending false and misleading messages about criminals by using various formats such as serials or movies. The media image teaches children that being aggressive or becoming a ruthless criminal earns a respected position within a society. Criminals are also often associated with living a luxurious life and having everything in abundance without having to work and study hard. The media also shows that criminal actions and delinquent behaviors often go unpunished which may tempt youth to follow the path of crime. It may also inspire people to commit crimes just to become part of news reports – “famous” for one day.
Bushman, B. J., Newman, K., Calvert, S. L., Downey, G., Dredze, M., Gottfredson, M., . . . Webster, D. W. (2016). Youth violence: what we know and what we need to know. The American Psychologist, 1(71), 17-39. doi:10.1037/a0039687
Hickey, E. (2016). Serial Murderers and Their Victims (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage.
Hummer, T. A. (2015). Media Violence Effects on Brain Development. American Behavioral Scientist, 59(14), 1790-1806. doi:10.1177/0002764215596553
Margulis, A., & Kholodnaya, A. (2008). Russian-English Dictionary of Proverbs and Sayings. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company Inc.
Miller, L., & Ebooks, C. (2012). Criminal Psychology: Nature, Nurture, Culture: a Textbook and Practical Reference Guide for Students and Working Professionals in the Fields of Law Enforcement, Criminal Justice, Mental Health, and Forensic Psychology. Springfield, Ill: Charles C Thomas.
Everytown. (2016, September 07). 92 School Shootings In America Since 2013. Retrieved from https://everytownresearch.org/school-shootings/
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