News agenda is basically an exploration into what the news is, its sources and its intended audiences.
Generally, it seems to be a common conception that journalists have a love-hate relationship with audiences. They do of course have some level of respect for their audience because they make the news interesting and ensure that all information presented to the public is one hundred per cent accurate. However, there is perhaps little respect for audience interaction. The public, for the most part, will not view a news story the same way a journalist will.
We are all, I assume, fully aware that the internet is becoming increasingly damaging to the newspaper business. Newspapers now all have their own websites, which are easy to navigate and the reader can choose which stories to focus in on, and of course refer back to archived stories. With the internet thriving, it is becoming tougher to find an audience and keep it, which is why media organisations now spend millions of pounds each year on audience research. The internet even overtook television in the advertising revenue this year, yet further proof of its ever growing dominance as a media outlet.
Looking at audience, we have also identified how social grade is calculated. It is done on an ABC1/C2DE demographic as follows.
A- Upper middle class, those working in at higher managerial or professional level.
B- Middle class, those working at an intermediate managerial or administrative level.
C1- Lower middle class, those working at a supervisory level, clerical work or junior management.
C2- Skilled working class, for example skilled manual workers.
D- Working class, this covers semi or unskilled manual workers.
E- On the lowest levels of sustenance, state pensioners, widows. Causal or lowest grade workers.
Newspapers will have an intended audience in mind when they publish their stories and during news agenda lectures we analyse which demographic category each paper is aimed at.
Another topic we have covered is news sources. When asked to list twenty sources I must admit I struggled but upon discussing this with the class, we managed to collectively come up with a list of around thirty. Here are just ten examples of news sources:
*The Police, for example at press conferences, statement releases, press officers.
*Eye Witnesses, brilliant for quotes.
*NHS, again press releases etc.
*National Statistics Office
*Unions, good for news on work issues and strikes.
*Victims of crime
Each of the above could prove to be an important source when investigating or writing a story and it is a good idea to start a contacts book. Anyone who has been, or could prove to be useful in the future should be stored in your contacts book. Some may say it is an essential tool in the journalism industry.
We have also looked at local news. Local news is all about where we physically spend our day, the area around our home or workplace. News stories can be found in and around your local area, for example, stories about events and festivals, the latest court cases and council meetings. It is about national stories which journalists can localise and make relevant. It is important to know your local area when doing this type of reporting. You should know your local MP, hospitals, universities, the biggest employer in the area and its main media outlets. The better you know your local area, the better your chance of developing a good news story.