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George Bernard Shaw famously said: ‘Newspapers are unable, seemingly, to discriminate between a bicycle accident and the collapse of civilization’ (cited in Randall, 2000). Implicit in that remark is the notion that one may be considerably more ‘newsworthy’ than the other (except perhaps to the victim of the bicycle accident). And if that's the case, then on what are journalists basing their judgement when they decide something either is or isn't news and worthy of inclusion in a newspaper or bulletin?

When asked to define news, most people would say it's something that's happened, something new, something they didn't know before, something that affects their life, or something they're interested in (Harcup, 2004). News is also about the unusual – you don't find bulletins and newspapers ...

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