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News provides truthful and carefully researched new information about current events. The event is of personal interest or of general importance for the reader, viewer or listener. A message represents a state of affairs in an objective form, free of opinion and emotion. Depending on the program and viewers of the program, every event can be news anywhere in the world: a natural disaster in South America, a government crisis in Italy or a scandal involving Justin Bieber.

Editorial offices receive a flood of reports every day: on the one hand from the big news agencies. These are companies that deliver news of current events - as quickly and as objectively as possible. They also get information from correspondents all over Germany and around the world. Political parties, associations and companies also send thousands of press releases every day. The editors have to evaluate and check all these reports and select the most important ones for their own program. Depending on the target group, two news programs on the same day can differ greatly - in terms of design, but also in terms of content: some report mainly on events in politics, business, culture and sport, others also have news from entertainment and the world of stars and starlets in program.

Many newsrooms today work trimedially. This means that they produce a report for television, radio and the Internet at the same time.

At the beginning there is research. The information is checked: is it really true? As a rule, reports are only published if they are independently confirmed by two sources. In the news business, every minute counts, but accurate research is even more important!

Journalists often have to find interlocutors in a few hours who are ready for an interview in front of the camera. They also have to shoot pictures that illustrate the message. It's not always easy, especially when it comes to abstract issues such as a tax hike or unemployment figures. The journalists then often resort to symbolic images. Another possibility is to explain the facts in a graphic.

The filmed material is cut together to form a news item. It is usually 1:30 minutes long and consists of themed images, about which the author of the article summarizes the most important information in his text. A news item often also contains "original sounds", which are excerpts from the interviews.

News programs on the radio and news sites on the Internet can report much faster. A contribution on the radio consists of the explanatory text and original sounds. Online journalists can illustrate their reports with photos. When the radio and television reports on the topic are ready, they will also put them online.

A news item should clarify at least the five classic "W":

  • What it happened?
  • who was involved in the event?
  • Where the event took place?
  • When did it happen?
  • Why did it happen?

The question of "why" is used to shed light on the background of an event, to classify it for the viewer or listener and to place it in a larger context. If the message is about armed conflict in a country, for example, the contribution should also explain why there is actually fighting there and what significance the current event has in this conflict.

In addition to the classic W-questions, many news items indicate the source of their information - so answer another W-question:

  • Where from is the message coming from?

This is particularly useful for events or information that is not openly accessible. Often it is then "according to information from the newspaper xy", "from government circles" or "as a company spokesman said on our request".

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