Shutdown could mean that the elderly couple who have

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shutdown could mean that the elderly couple who have operated the convenience store across the street from the factory for 30 years lose their business. Anything that affects daily routines, health or finances is important and interesting to an audience. Examples of information important to our daily routines include new public services, crime, changes in education and employment issues. Individual finances are affected by changes in interest rates, price hikes in food and gas and changes in expenses related to travel. Disasters that affect insurance rates or food prices are important; a drought in Florida affects the grocery bill of a family in Tennessee. An individual's health determines quality of life, so health news can be extremely important. New drugs for allergy control and breakthroughs in cancer treatment or eye surgery can change lives. Problems with health maintenance organizations (HMOs) may become important business, social and political issues. The latest information about the effects of caffeine, sugar, fat and tobacco affects everyone. Food safety is an important health issue since contaminated food can cause serious illness and even death. Whether the problem is domestic or occurs in food imported from other countries that have processing standards less stringent than those in the United States, stories about food handling and import regulations are interesting and important to all consumers. News about issues that affect daily routines, finances and health has a major impact on people's lives; thus, stories on these issues can become important news stories. Reporters must learn to recognize as news those events that have an impact on large numbers of people. Relevance Information that is relevant or that connects to people in some way is newsworthy. Some stories may be interesting and give insight into the lives of other people but may be irrelevant to the lives of viewers. For example, if oil prices go up, the information is relevant to anyone who buys gasoline. The fact that Lindsay Lohan has checked into a drug rehab center may be interesting but is actually irrelevant to most lives. The more information connects to the lives of the audience, the stronger its news value. Tabloid or "infotainment" stories are designed more to entertain the audience than to give information that is relevant to their lives. Even in mainstream TV news, decision makers often are tempted to use stories that include dramatic pictures simply because the video is mesmerizing. TV news departments may use visually powerful stories for competitive reasons, with the idea that viewers will stop surfing the channels to look at dramatic pictures. Despite today's competitive pressures, news judgment should be based on impact and relevance rather than drama. For example, if a train hits a truck three states away and a videographer captures the resulting fire on tape, the drama of
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the footage does not mean that the story is important to viewers hundreds of miles away. The accident may have an impact on people where it happened, with backed-up
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