News: Sociologists & key concepts


  • Organisational constraints restrict the way news is selected and presented E.g. time, space, finance.
  • News is a socially manufactured product because it is the end result of a selective process.
  • News is not objective

Galtung and Ruge:

  • News values- general guidelines or criteria that determine the worth of a news story. E.g. unambiguity, sensationalism, elite persons, negativity, continuity. The more news values an event meets, the more likely it will be published.

Glasgow University Media Group (GUMG):

  • Gate keeping- Journalists have the job of deciding which events we see as a news, and which ones never make it into the public eye.
  • Agenda setting- Certain news stories set the agenda for discussion.


  • Churnalism – Due to organisational contraints, journalists are using second hand material rather than writing news reports themselves.
  • Flat earth news – News with very little or no evidence to support its existence, often sensationalist/ exaggerated.

Extra key terms:

  • Hierarchy of Credibility: Journalists use reputable sources for news such as those in high powered or respected jobs, middle class citizens such as police, judges etc. These people used to provide news stories are called primary definers.
  • Moral panics- Can occur as a result of exaggerated news.
  • Chandler – Argues that TV news is the most objective due to the way it is presented
  • Buckingham – 12-15 year olds rarely challenge the news.
  • Citizenship journalism – Pluralists argue that new media has allowed anyone to report news via social networking sites

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