There is an enormous difference between what the media is reporting and what the news is really all about. As a media professional it’s not easy to separate the two and it’s certainly no good to say that a media outlet is more important than a newspaper or magazine and vice versa.
The news is what the media is reporting. News is something that everyone should be aware of and be able to react to. Journalists each and every day shape this chaos into orderly packages, the very next day in the papers, on television or on the internet and the day after that on the radio or in the internet. That is what they’re reporting on and it’s exactly what they have to report on.
It’s not necessarily easy to see the distinction between the two, as most people don’t understand what makes news and why the media outlets are reporting on it. Many people think that if something is published in the newspaper or even aired on television then it is news. The problem with this concept is that you really have no way of knowing whether the things which have been published were all factual. It also doesn’t take very long for one false story to be reported across the nation. In fact this phenomenon is now happening regularly.
So there is a very important distinction between news and what the media is reporting. If you look at the major newspapers the main thing you will find in the news is usually an editorial comment. Editorial comment is simply a reflection of the opinion of the editors. They write a piece to reflect on the events of the day and comment on the way things are unfolding. You won’t read it about a murder trial and you won’t read it about a political controversy. All of the pieces you will read in the newspaper have something in common.
When you read a press release in the newspaper it is a completely different story. A press release is news because it has actually been written by an employee or an agency that wishes to present the information to the media. If a story was presented in the media that is news. This means that the editor has spent time researching and gathering all the information, using sources, putting it all together in one place so it can be presented in the form of a news article. If they choose to report something that is not news they will do so under a press release and this is where most of the confusion comes from. The media will often report something on an event and say that the information has been obtained by an agency and that the agency cannot legally be used unless it has been released as news.
These agencies need to abide by a set code of ethics in order to publish any news. Any news must be used within five days of its original publication and this will be announced to the general public, usually in newspapers. This is another example of how a distinction is made between what the media and news are really about.