Galtung and Ruge (1973) believed that our perception of what constitutes an event is culturally determined and not a natural occurrence – but they also believed that it related to ‘human culture’ and therefore should not vary too much globally.
Their theory argues that the more an event accessed these criteria the more likely it was to be reported on in a newspaper (although the individual factors are inter-related, not independent of one another).
An example: in the Western world we are obsessed with celebrities and their lifestyles. David Beckham splits with Posh Spice and on the same day five children are killed in a minibus accident. The tabloids will carry the Beckham’s story on the front page because we as a society have decided that celebrity gossip is more interesting and news worthy than the other story.
These are 12 of the ‘most significant’ news values from the work of Galtung and Ruge:
— short-term events like murders are preferred over long-term developments like a famine
— basically the size of an event indicates his importance
— events do not have to be simple but they must be accessible to the public - i.e. simplified by the media
— divided into two categories after Galtung and Ruge’s‘Familiarity’: a)
in which the event agrees with the outlook of a specific culture; b)
where events will be reported and discussed if they seem to have an impact on the ‘home’ culture, especially athreat
— or ‘correspondence’ where the familiar is more likely to be thought than the unfamiliar
— or ‘surprise’ where it is the rarity of an event whichleads to its circulation in the public domain; Dutton notes that the ‘newness’ of the event is usually processed through a familiar context. It has to work with 4 and 5.
— once a story achieves importance will be continued to be covered for some time
— this is to provide a sense of balance, gloomy news with good news, foreign with domestic.
9.Reference to elite nations
— events are more likely to be reported if they occur in the developed world; the threshold system would apply for developing countries’ events to be reported
10.Reference to elite persons
— the famous and the powerful are more newsworthy than ordinary people
— events are seen as actions of people as individuals; an institution may be personalised by reference to a prominent person within that organisation
— bad news is good for the press and TV news; the threshold is much lower for bad news than for good news
A lot of these appear to be fairly obvious to say the least, but you'll need to think about them and refer to some of the points in your exam in relation to the evaluation of your practical task and its relevance to audience.