It's my story: helping care-experienced young people give effective media interviews

News values

Trainer notes

This section is designed to help young people realise that different sections of the media have different news values. If possible let them work this out for themselves, by using the following exercise.

Newsworthiness exercise

Ask young people to put these news stories in order of which is most newsworthy and then discuss their reasons.

What’s most newsworthy?

  • Britney becomes a nun
  • My cousin was an alien
  • The Prime Minister resigns
  • David Beckham is kidnapped
  • Alligators make great pets
  • Winner of The X Factor was my first kiss
  • The Bank of England burns down
Slide 10: sample text:

There are no right answers to this task. However, the task itself should encourage young people to think about the fact that different types of media have different news values. Tabloid television and newspapers may be more interested in stories about Britney Spears and David Beckham, while the BBC, News 24 and broadsheet newspapers may decide that the Bank of England burning down is more interesting than the prime minister resigning (or the other way round).

The other stories listed are more feature stories than news, but The X Factor has a topical element and may be of interest to a local newspaper – or even a national, if it involves another celebrity.  Alligators should probably be the last on anyone’s list as this is definitely a features story.

You don’t have to agree with media values to use them!

Use Slide 11 to solidify some of the learning that has come from the Newsworthiness exercise. It can be beneficial for young people to realise that you don’t have to agree with media values, or particularly like a programme or newspaper, in order to agree to give an interview.

News values

  • Different media have different news values
  • Generally, Sky News and the tabloids are more interested in celebrities and BBC news and broadsheets are more interested in world events
  • You might not agree with news values but usually it’s easier to work with them than try and change them
  • If you don’t take part you won’t be able to say what you think
Slide 11: sample text: