The Times West Virginian

March 4, 2013

News stories must be timely, interesting, relevant

By Misty Poe
Times West Virginian

— After answering a few reader phone calls last week on a few issues, I think it best if I make a pretty bold statement.

There is news. And then there is gossip.

But what’s the difference? If you head over to our old friends at Merriam-Webster, you’ll find this:

News: Newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent or important events.

Gossip: Casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.

You could say there is a fine line. There is.

But since this is a newspaper, you’ll find that we spend our time focusing on the former rather than the latter. In fact, we spend a lot of time looking into gossip, determining whether there is any validity to claims and then deciding whether or not it meets our standards for news.

And we have a three-part test for whether a story meets that standard.

The first is whether it’s timely — back to the definition of news and the “newly received” and “recent” part of it.

The second test is whether the news is interesting. That’s a tough one to answer because news is like a salad bar and everyone has their own “tastes.” Some like NASCAR updates. Some follow the stock market. Others care about international news. Some want to know all the details about what’s happening at the state capitol. There’s an interest out there for almost every subject. We just have to decide what subject areas have the most readership interest and try to offer as much variety in our newspaper and our website as possible.


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