Monday, 7 June 2021

What is News?

What is News?

Well, we, human beings, always look for new things, fresh information about anything and everything that interests us. Our curiosities are being satisfied by most media of mass communication. Thus, we have become consumers of newspapers, radio and news channels, magazines and web portals, and other sources of mass media. Can anyone tell what these various forms of mass media largely depend on? Yes, it is “news” which is the major ingredient for most of the mass media.

In the present blog, the readers will be familiarized with the definition of news / what is meant by news? / What constitutes news? / Characteristics of news, news writing, structure of news story analysis, backgrounder, structure of backgrounder and difference between news analysis and background. Let’s start enjoying this good piece of writing…

What is meant by news? / Definition of news:

Anything that is new or comes for the first time in front of people is termed as “news”. Usually, news is a report of an event that has just taken place, providing information or description. It could also include depiction, delineation, statement, and narration of a development event, or occurrence.

“News is both a product and point of view. As a product, news is gathered processed, packaged. Newspapers, news services, news magazines, radio, television and cable station' and networks then present news to their respective audiences,” states George Hough, University of Georgia (the United States of America).

Sometimes, it is seen that an event which had already taken place earlier has not been reported yet. Since it has not been previously reported; therefore, its newness remains there. When such type of event is reported, it becomes news as it is coming for the first time in public domain.

News is something that at a particular moment happens to attract and hold the interest of the reader, or listener. A news story is a fair, accurate, concise, balanced account of a current event that is of interest to most people. The trouble with news is that it does not remain newsworthy for long.

Some of the famous definitions of news are as follows:

“News should be: Original, Distinctive, Romantic, Thrilling; Unique, Curious, Quaint, Humorous, Odd, and Apt-to-be talked about,” stated Joseph Pulitzer, the legendary American newspaper baron.


“Anything you can find out today that you didn't now before,” said Turner Cateledge, a former managing editor of the New York Times.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

News Writing: five W's and one 'H'


Human beings are curious by nature. They are airways looking for new things fresh information about anything and everything that interests them. Most media of mass communication have by and large been instrumental in satisfying the curiosities of human beings. Newspapers, magazines, books, radio, television and several other mass media have been endeavoring to gather information and disseminate that information to the people looking for such information.
The most important need that these mass media fulfill is of providing news latest news from the place one is located, news of the region, news of the nation, country and of course of the world. Thus the news is the most important input that anyone is looking from a mass medium. But, what is meant by news? What constitutes news? We shall discuss about this and related things in this lesson.


News is the major ingredient of most mass media. Newspapers, radio, and news channels depend on news to a great extent. So do many magazines and many lnternet portals. The fact that so many media provide news shows the importance of news. Here we shall learn about how news is written. We shall also focus on other news related write-ups. The content of this lesson shall be presented as follows:  
  • Definitions of News
  • Characteristics of News
  • Writing News
  • Structure of News Story Analysis
  • Backgrounder
  • Structure of Backgrounder
  • Difference between news analysis and background


Generally speaking, News is anything that is new. News is a report of an event that has just taken place. News is a detailed account that provides information or description. It could also include depiction, delineation, statement, and narration of a development event, or occurrence. The event is usually recent fresh or not known earlier.
According to George Hough of the University of Georgia U S. A. News is both a product and point of view. As a product, news is gathered processed, packaged. Newspapers, news services, news magazines, radio, television and cable station' and networks then present news to their respective audiences.
News is something that at a particular moment happens to attract and hold the interest of the reader, or listener. A news story is a fair, accurate, concise, balanced account of a current event that is of interest to a majority of people. The trouble with news is that it does not remain newsworthy for long.
Several newspapers, editors, news reporters’ eminent journalists and many media educators have attempted to define news, but these definitions have not always met the test of the time. Some of these are:
  • News is anything out of the ordinary.
  • News is anything published in a newspaper, which interests a large number of people.
  • News is what newspaper people make
  • Good news is not news
  • News is anything a big shot said.
  • News and truth is not the same thing
  • The function of news is to signal an event.
  • News is any recent, up to date information of an event received from North, East, West and South (news)

The legendary American newspaper baron, Joseph Pulitzer, had his own definition of news. He once said that:
News should be: Original, Distinctive, Romantic, Thrilling; Unique, Curious, Quaint, Humorous, Odd, and Apt-to-be talked about.
A former managing editor of the New York Times, Turner Cateledge, described news as:
“Anything you can find out today that you didn't now before.”
In modern times, news-persons and media personalities are likely to define news in terms of what people, readers, listeners, viewers want to know.
Despite the several efforts to define the “newsworthiness” news still remains undefined. Perhaps, it is not amenable to a precise, pithy, definition or an easy explanation. But news has certain ingredients. Usually; the following are considered reliable ingredients or characteristics of news:
  • Timelines
  • Proximity
  • Prominence
  • Consequence
  • Human interest
  • Unusual events like mysteries,
  • Conflict,
  • Tragedies.

The following are different categories of news: novelty, personal impact money, crime, sex, magnitude, religion, disaster, humour, the underdog, science, entertainment, weather, food, minorities, fashion.


It is necessary to know that the purpose of news writing is to impart information. It has been stated that today’s news is tomorrow’s history. Therefore, it is imperative that news writing is done with a view to providing information that is correct, objective, fair, balanced, accurate, precise, and to the point. However, news writing is a skilled craft. Good reporters learn the craft and take it to the level of an art.
It cab be acquired by dint of hard work, dedication, understanding, sustained and prolonged practice over a period of time. For being successful, one has to have a nose for news, besides being equipped with qualities of head and heart. In order to do effective news writing, one should be particularly skilled and discriminative at keenly observing, hearing and seeing things events, and people, keeping notes and making mental record finding information sources. It also involves asking-relevant questions; checking, counter-checking, crosschecking, and double-checking information. It requires the capability of fairly and impartially analyzing and interpreting information so collected.
For news writing, one has to inculcate a strict discipline of writing in the required style, with a View to conveying maximum information using minimum words.
Ordinarily, a complete news item, when written professionally, should answer the following six questions:
WHO - is or are involved?
WHEN-did the event take place?
WHERE -did the event take place?
WHY -did it take place?
WHAT -did actually take place? and
HOW -did it take place?

News Writing five W's and one 'H'
five W's and one 'H'
These questions are known, as the five W’s and one H. These questions are the heart and soul of a well and properly written news item. Again, a news item will have a wide impact if it Interests people directly;

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Printing Process - Relief Print, Platen Press, Flatbed, Cylinder Rotary, Offset, Screen Printing


The art and science of making a large number of duplicate reproductions of an original copy is termed as printing. It may also be defined as the art of preserving all other arts. Printing is the medium tor printed communication.
We start our days with newspapers, then we buy milk packets, every day we come across many books, currency notes and so many printed items. So, we can say that printing is a part and parcel of our life. Three major printing processes basically are used to print printed materials. These are Relief Printing Process, Planographic Printing Process, and Screen-Printing Process. In addition, there are many minor or highly specialized printing processes. These include Die Stamping, Thermo Printing, etc.
We shall discuss only the major printing processes in detail. In order to understand these processes, we must understand the following two terms clearly:
Image Area: It is that area on the printing surface that receives ink. For example: raised portions of a rubber stamp.
Non-Image Area: It is that area on the printing surface, which does not receive ink. For example: depressed portions of a rubber stamp.


There are three major printing processes. In this article we shall discuss about these three processes in detail. The content of the lesson shall be presented as follows:
Relief Printing Press
Planographic Printing Process and
Screen-Printing Process


It is the oldest printing process and came into being with the invention of movable types in the fifteenth century by Johan Gutenberg. The matter, which is to be printed is a mirror image (reverse) or is backward reading (right to left).
The image to be printed is raised and the non-image area is depressed.
The basic principle behind this process is that there is a physical separation between the image areas and the non-image areas. Image areas are raised, and catch ink to produce impression on paper while non-image areas are lowered and do not catch ink.


First of all, relief printing plates are prepared i.e. the master is prepared with a combination of metal or wooden types are assembled together. This is known as typesetting or composing. Also used are illustrations prepared by photomechanical methods called blocks. All the composed matter are combined and locked together in a frame. In this the image areas are raised while non-image areas are depressed on the master/printing surface.
Ink rollers on the master apply ink, image areas receive ink and non-image areas do not.
The printing surface or master is then pressed against the substrate to obtain the impression. Ink is transferred from image areas on the substrate. The non-image areas, which are depressed, don’t come in contact with the inking rollers or the paper and so give no impression. Examples for this process are:
  • Letterpress
  • Flexography


Letterpress Printing Process- Platen Press Flatbed Cylinder Rotary
Platen Press Flatbed Cylinder Rotary
Printing originated with the letterpress. -The nomenclature "letterpress" brings to mind the images of raised letters pressing against a surface, on which their shape of ink is transferred. Actually letterpress printing is not just meant for printing only letters but also borders, rules, illustrations, etc. Letterpress is a relief printing process. On the basis of printing surface or master and the surface on which paper is placed, the letterpress printing machines can be classified in three main groups. These are:
  1. Platen Press
  2. Flatbed Cylinder
  3. Rotary


The surface on which the paper (to‘ be printed) is placed for printing is flat and is called platen, and the forms or master or printing surface is also placed on a flat surface known as the flatbed. Since the paper is put on the platen (flat surface), therefore this group of machines is also known as platen press or platen machine or treadle machine.

Process Platen Press

First of all a forms or printing surface is prepared for printing each letter and image is cast separately using wood (engraving/carving) or alloys made up of tin, antimony, lead etc. Then these letters and images are arranged together and locked in a frame firmly. This is technically known as the forms or chase. It acts as the printing surface.
The master frame is fixed in a plane surface and inking is done by inking rollers which pick up the ink from a revolving ink disc fixed above the ‘machine and then pass it across the forme.
Paper is fed by inserting in between the two flat surfaces. The plane surface on which paper is placed for printing is known as platen.
Bringing the flat surfaces in contact with each other does printing. The whole composed matter comes under the pressure at the same time where a controlled pressure is required to transfer the ink from the matter to the paper clearly and correctly.

Types of Jobs Suitable for Platen Machines:
These types of machines are best suited for printing letter heads, cards, bill forms, leaflets, pamphlets, inserts, visiting cards, office files, serial numbering, etc. Platen presses can also do embossing, die cutting, creasing and foil stamping, numbering, etc. which other printing presses just cannot.

Advantages of Platen Press

  • Flat to flat type of machines are available in different sizes to suit different jobs. The printing work can be stopped in between and any correction can be carried out.
  • Small works in less numbers can be printed at very cheap rates.

Disadvantages of Platen Press

  • The speed of printing of flat-to-flat type of machines is very slow. The average speed is 1200 impressions per hour.
  • Since the paper used for printing by these machines is in the form of sheets, a lot of time is wasted in changing the sheets of papers repeatedly. So printing becomes a very time consuming process.
  • In flat-to-flat type of machines printing is possible only in one colour during one impression.


This group of letterpress machines is also known as flat bed cylinder presses. The surface of the printing surface remains flat while the surface carrying paper is cylindrical. Earlier these presses were operated by steam power, but now days they are operated by electrical power.

Process of Flat Bed Cylinder Press:

  • The average speed is 1200 impressions per hour.
  • At first a matter is prepared in the same way as in the platen press and is placed on a plane surface called flat bed.
  • This bed travels to and fro from one end to the other end of the machine. Inking is done by the ink rollers, which are rolled over the bed.
  • The impression cylinder is a part of these machines, which is used to grip the paper and to apply the pressure. It revolves about its own axis.
  • Due to the to and fro motion of the flat bed and the pressure applied by revolving impression cylinder, the image areas are printed on the substrates.
Examples of Fiat Bed Cylinder Press
  • Stop cylinder machines.
  • Swing cylinder machines
  • Single-revolution-cylinder machine
  • Two-revolution-cylinder machine
Types of Jobs Suitable for Flat Bed Cylinder Machines:
  • These machines are efficient enough to print considerably longer run jobs i.e. in larger numbers and for much bigger paper sizes.

Advantages of Flat Bed Cylinder Press

  • Flat to cylinder type of machines are cheaper and flexible in printing.
  • Since there is a revolving impression cylinder and is power driven the printing speed quite high. The average speed of these machines is 4000 impressions per hour.

Radio: Writing, Production Stages, Equipments and Programmes


Radio: Programmes, Writing, Production Stages and Equipments
Electronic media of communication bring into our homes audio and video signals in the form of various programmes. These programmes, which come on air as sound or both picture and sound, are either live or are already recorded or shot, processed, and transmitted. Electronic media viz. television, radio, and film (or motion picture) shares the following attributes:
Immediacy: These media can present topical, contemporary material live to the audience immediately.
Impermanence: Programme’s brought by these media are perishable images and sounds.
Diversity: They bring a variety, of programme material, which appeals a wide range of audiences. '
Flexibility: Material can be recorded edited, and duplicated for multiple playbacks.
In this lesson, we shall discuss about the basic aspects of radio Programme production.


The content this lesson shall be presented as follows:
  • Radio production formats
  • Equipments for radio production
  • Stages of radio programme production
  • Types of radio programmes
  • Writing for radio


Many radio programmes are live. Some programmes on radio are recorded first and broadcast later. Some programmes are studio based, while others are recorded on outside locations. Here we shall discuss about a few different varieties of radio production formats:
LIVE on RECORDED RADIO PROGRAMMES: The programmes on radio and television can be live, pre-recorded or a combination of both. The nature of production calls for whether a programme will be produced live or recorded in advance and used later.
Live production involves the risk of production errors, as there are no "second chances". It has to be right the first time, which is the only time. However, live production is cheaper than recorded production techniques and sometimes easier and quicker.
Recorded productions allow supervision and control over quality. In this method, first recording of programmes is done. Editing and postproduction are done at a later time. This is an attempt at enhancement to further refine production value and quality while shooting. This can also combine with live production method. Portions or segments of programme can be recorded, edited and processed in advance and incorporated into a studio production using live talent.
STUDIO OR REMOTE (OUTSIDE ON LOCATION): Programmes can he produced within the controlled environment of an indoor studio which otters the required settings of a programme. Studio settings otter personnel control, light control, temperature control, sufficient power supply and access to supplementary production personnel, equipment accessories and spare parts and even telephones and change rooms.
Production can also be done at a temporary remote location. A unique setting can be achieved by thoughtful selection, planning and full use of a remote outside location. The realism and detail required for the quality and success of a production can also be obtained. However, in such a situation some production requirements, such as extensive lighting or elaborate sets are eliminated.
A combination of studio and remote production is also possible. Most newscasts combine anchors in the studio with reporters in the field. The anchor introduces a story from the studio and the reporter provides the details from the field.


Audio production can be carried out in many ways depending on the types and source of programmes. Local live production employs station's own announcers or newscasters locally and play records and tapes, which they themselves own. Live-assist production is one way where stations retain local announcers and disc jockeys as the backbone of the programme and uses syndicated programming, such as reels of taped (prerecorded) music and satellite delivered music services.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Introduction of Research


Media Research
Media Research
All research is a quest for ordered or systematic knowledge. It may be an observational study of natural phenomena or a rational study of the relations between the concepts in which these phenomena are expressed. Knowledge is gathered, organized and systematized. It is then tested and validated with the help of research tools.
Research often starts with observation. Observation is in intelligent way to making use of our sensory apparatus. it provides an insight to know and understand facts, relations and events. it the observation is precise, the results will be more reliable. in addition to observation, many other research tools and methods are used.
The term research, to some means an attitude of enquiry. it is an honest, intelligent and exhaustive quest for facts. It is the quest for the unknown, and also about the known. Research is done to reveal the secrets of this universe.
Research is the process of arriving at dependable solutions of problems [through planned and systematic collection, analysis and interpretation of data. Research sometimes tries to find cut the conditions under which certain phenomenon occurs Research is an aspect of scientific quest and now has become a major discipline.
It is a systematic way of collecting, classifying and analyzing“ information, either quantitative or qualitative. According to Rusk, "Research is a point of view, an attitude of enquiry or a frame of mind.” It is an attempt to elicit facts and analyze them once they have been collected to get solutions for a variety of problems.


Rommel considered research as "an endeavor to discover, develop and verify knowledge". Its main aim is the discovery of the truth. Research means a systematic and refined technique of thinking. It involves “employing of specialized tools, instruments and procedures to obtain more adequate solutions of problems than would be possible with ordinary means.” This way research implies a systematic and objective analysis. ‘It is a recording of controlled observations with an aim to develop generalizations, principles and the ones.
Some of the equipments of a researcher are as follows:
  • Developed scholastics
  • Accurate observation
  • Integrity
  • Willingness to spend long hours
  • Rational thinking

Long hours are required” to collect and study all forms of acts, data and evidence before arriving at conclusion.
The first four aspects are important. But above all, the researcher must cultivate the ability think rationally. This is the ability to recognize causal relationships. Researchers must also have originality and objectivity in thinking.

Introduction of Mass Communication


Mass Communication
Mass Communication
It is omnipresent. The vehicles of mass communication or the mass media are everywhere. From home, office, and outside, no place has escaped from mass, media. it is considered to be intrusive as it easily enters into the private worlds of our homes. It is attractive and alluring. Sometimes we find it excessive and repulsive. .. Often it is considered to be omnipotent or all-powerful as mass communication of information and images through advertising makes us buy things. Wars have been won through mass communication. Most importantly mass communication shapes public opinion.

What then is mass communication? To give a simple definition:

Mass communication a process whereby mass produced messages are transmitted to large, anonymous and heterogeneous masses of receivers.

By 'mass produced’ we mean putting the content or message of mass communication in a form suitable to be disseminated to large masses of people. This also means that some technological means are used for both producing and transmitting the message.
The term 'mass’ means a large aggregate of people spread over vast geographical areas. The characteristics of mass in mass communication are heterogeneous, anonymous, separated from each other; and loosely organized.
Heterogeneous means that the individual members of the mass are from a wide variety of classes and categories in society. Anonymous means the individuals in the mass do not know each other. Also the source or sender of messages in mass communication does not know the individual members of the mass. Also the receivers in mass communication are physically separated from each other and share no physical proximity. They are, in fact, spread over different geographic locations.
Finally, the individual members forming a mass are not united. They have no social organization. If at all they are united, they are very loosely organized. Unlike groups, the mass does not have a body of customs and tradition, no established sets of rules no structure or status roles and no established leadership.

Eliot Friedson (1953) defined mass as follows:
Mass is an aggregation of Individuals who are separate, detached and anonymous.

This is a very simplified definition of the term mass. Many changes have taken place in the recent times particularly in the field of technologies involved in mass communication and segmentation of audience. These have resulted in the audience members being less heterogeneous and anonymous than in the past.


Transmission - Source Receiver Destination Noise
Transmission Model
For communication to occur we require a sender, a massage, a channel and receiver(s). Further there is feedback which is the response or reaction of the receiver; which comes back to the sender through the same or some other channel. Another element, which plays an important role in communication, is noise or the disturbances or barriers.
All these elements are there is mass communication also. In fact Harold Lasswell's model of communication – ‘WHO says WHAT in WHICH CHANNEL to WHOM with WHAT EFFECT’ - is applicable to mass communication also. The difference from interpersonal and other levels of communication lies in the multitude of receivers. In mass communication, multitude of receivers receives the message:

  • Either simultaneously and immediately as in case of radio and television,
  • Individually over a long period of time as in case of films, and 
  • Over centuries as in case of some books like The Quran, Bhagwat Gita, The Bible or the great classics.
  • Other differences are in the degree of physical proximity (in interpersonal communication sender and receiver are mostly face to face while in mass communication they may be hundreds and thousands of miles away)
  • Mass communications differs from other levels of communication in the time taken for feedback to reach back the sender (source). In interpersonal communication the feedback is instantaneous. But in mass communication, the feedback is delayed and often negligible. In certain cases there is no feedback at all. 


Receivers of mass communication or audience vary according to the medium used. For network television like DD-1, the audience could be millions of viewers. For an average book, the audience could be several thousands. And for a scholarly journal, the audience could be a few hundred. , Whatever the size, each audience is composed of individuals. Each Individual has a separate and distinct personality and they react to the medium's message in different fashions.
 Each individual member of an audience is exposed to, receives, perceives and retains a message differently according to his or her personal self-concept or frame of reference. Scholars often stress upon this aspect of audience individuality because audiences are often thought to be automatons or robots that react to mass communication in one single way.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Broadcasting of Radio and TV: Strengths and Weaknesses

What is the difference between radio and TV
Broadcasting: AIR v/s Doordarshan


Radio and Television have their own characteristics. UNESCO has enumerated the following strengths and weaknesses of radio and television


It has imaginative potential to listener to add his/her own visual interpretation
  It requires a fully developed radio network.
Receivers are relatively cheap and portable
It is a non-visual medium
It is relatively inexpensive in production terms
Trained personnel are required.
As an entertainment medium, it is psychologically acceptable
Knowledge of local languages is essential
As a major news source it is widely heard and accepted. It has massive, immediate distribution.

it is a visual medium which allows for a creative production approach
It requires a fully developed TV network and electric supply
As an entertainment medium, it is very acceptable psychologically.
TV Receivers are expensive
As a major news source, it is widely seen and accepted.
It is expensive, both in production and utilization, unless used extensively.
It has immediate distribution which can be massive.
It requires highly trained production and operational personal.
Historically speaking, Marconi started radio broadcasting in 1896 with the invention of first wireless telegraph link. It took ten years since then for the first demonstration of radio broadcasting to establish but it was hard to distinguish words from music.
Another successful demonstration took place from the Eiffel Tower in Paris in 1908. A New York Station transmitted the first radio news bulletin in 1916 on the occasion of the election of US President. By 1927, broadcasting services were started as a major medium of information.
Radio broadcasting in India began as a private venture in 1923 and 1924, when three radio clubs were established in Bombay, Calcutta and Madras (now Chennai). The Radio Club broadcast the first radio programme in India in June 1923. The daily broadcasts of 2 to 3 hours consisted mainly of music and talks. These stations had to close down in 1927 for lack of sufficient financial support.
It was followed by the setting up a Broadcasting Service that began broadcasting in India in July 1927 on an experimental basis at Bombay and a month later at Calcutta under an agreement between the Government of India and a private company called the Indian Broadcasting Company Ltd. Faced with a widespread public outcry against the closure of the IBC, the Government acquired its assets and constituted the Indian Broadcasting Service under the Department of Labour and Industries. Since then, broadcasting in India has remained under Government control.
In 1936, a radio station was commissioned in Delhi. In the same year, the Indian Broadcasting Service was renamed All India Radio (AIR) and a new signature tune was added. The Delhi station became the nucleus of broadcasting at the national level.
All India Radio has come a long way since June 1936. When India became Independent, the AIR network had only six stations at Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Lucknow and Tiruchirapalli with 18 transmitters six on the medium wave and the remaining on short wave, Radio listening on medium wave was confined to the urban elite of these cities.
Radio broadcasting assumed considerable importance with the outbreak of World War II. By 1939, the entire country was covered by a short-wave service and the programme structure underwent a change to meet wartime contingencies. During this period, news and political commentaries were introduced and special broadcasts were made for the people on the strategic northeastern and northwestern borders.
After independence, the broadcast scenario has dramatically changed with 198 broadcasting centers, including 74 local radio stations, covering more than 97.3 per cent of the country‘s population. Presently, it broadcasts programmes in a number of languages throughout the day. The function in of All India Radio is unparalleled in sense that it is perhaps the only news organizations, which remain active, round-the-clock and never sleeps.
Mostly the broadcasting centers are full-fledged stations with a network of medium wave, short wave and FM transmission. Besides, the external services Division of AIR are a link with different regions of world through its programmes in as many as 24 languages for about 72 hours a day.


Television began in India way back in 1959 as a part of All India Radio when it was formally commissioned on September 15 as an experimental service. Its aim was to promote social education and general awareness. It was not until Mrs. Indira Gandhi was in charge of the information and Broadcasting Ministry that television was commissioned as a regular daily service from 15th August 1965. Now television transmitters carry Doordarshan signals to almost three fourth of the country's population.