A simple definition of news is objective reporting of information intended to inform the public. It can be news related or not-so-subtly, newsworthy information. One common example would be an example of real news, that is, news of the day, which is generally delivered orally or by some other form of media.
An example of newsworthy information would be a married couple announcing their wedding in a small family gathering. The marriage announcement would be newsworthy inasmuch as it announces an event that has taken place, which in turn has raised social awareness and concern for societal issues. This is what the “News” in news reporting is supposed to do. While no one can make anyone else marry (and vice versa), social concerns raise questions about objectivity in news reporters’ reporting of such events.
Some news agencies and correspondents may choose to report seriously on political matters, or other types of non-newsworthy subjects. In the world of radio and television news, these types of subjects (which may not be newsworthy) are often presented without comment in order to fill time. Sometimes political or celebrity gossip is presented as news, when it is not. And, as has been shown by recent events, even the most popular gossip hosts on television have been pressured by media organizations to comment on certain topics.
Agence France-presse, a French news agency, for example, has had great difficulty, over the past year, with attempts by its own government, and its competitors, to impose tighter regulations on its operations. In a case filed in October, the country’s Central Council of Television published a list of approved channels and hours for news services. The list was criticized by several members of the country’s lower house, who filed suit against the Council, claiming that the move violates press freedom. The Central Council of Television is appealing the ruling.
In a recent case concerning the news value of a segment of a program, a court in South Australia found that a news blackout, which temporarily blocked the state’s three major television stations from broadcasting the second part of an ongoing story, was not a breach of the stations’ freedom of media. The court found that the blackout had no bearing on the content of the program, nor did it infringe the rights of the listeners, as the original blackout was a ‘temporary fix’. As such, it found no infringement of the constitutional right to freedom of communication, as it was likely that the majority of people would still have watched the program in question. A similar case, in the United States, led to the United States Supreme Court striking down a Federal law that banned any media outlet from being allowed to discuss any part of any case that has been argued before it.
News Agencies in Canada faces many of the same problems that their US counterparts do. For example, Canadian news agencies do not have free press privileges like that of the US media. Also, Canadian courts have found that broadcasting news could have an adverse effect on the operations of Canadian police services and could have an impact on security. As such, there are often tensions between the Canadian news service and Canadian law enforcement officials over the carriage of sensitive information. This has lead some news agencies to seek greater protection from the Canadian government.