THE STORIES TOLD

Daily newspapers often have the same banner stories. What is there to find when you delve into the inside pages of the newspaper, they have the same recurring contents. The possibility of having to read the same stories from the biggest newspapers in town and even the tabloids in the same day is high. Newspapermen cover the same big events all the time as news companies send people to cover major events. Newsmen seem to compete with one another and therefore are deemed to face the challenge of writing better articles than the other news writers.

Even though news writers cover and write the same stories, the moment the stories are published, they are written and told in different manners. Let us take for account the top three newspaper broadsheets in the country namely the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Philippine Star and the Manila Bulletin. For example last September 17 — the day when Senator Chiz Escudero proclaimed his political plans for 2016. Particularly, he announced that he would be running as Senator Grace Poe’s Vide-President in the national elections. All three broadsheets wrote about this, but had different angles. Inquirer had “We’re running under Partido Pilipinas”, Bulletin had “Chiz: We can’t have a slow gov’t” and Star had “Chiz accepts Poe’s challenge to be 2016 running mate”. Bulletin made this the banner story while Inquirer and Star had the issue on the SAF44 as their banner stories, but the Chiz story made it to the front page.

Same event, different ways of story telling — this is because the writers have chosen different angles on writing the news. Writers have the decision to pick which side of the story to write and what to consider important. They have the power to choose what facts go in the story and what details to leave out of it. What goes first and what comes last also lies in the hands of the writer. It is a matter of selecting the appropriate and perfect angle that would appeal to the audience and attract readership.

One of the contemporary mass communication theories tackles this angling part of writing news. McCombs and Shaw (1972) tackled this in their journal titled “The Agenda-Setting Function of Mass Media.” In agenda setting, there is what we call Framing and Priming. Framing refers to the angling of news stories. This is the part where the writer decides on how to present and tell the news to the audience. Priming on the other hand refers to the prioritization of what comes in the front page and what comes in the inside pages. The writer here decides what to put first and what to

In addition, news stories vary in the way they are told because of the availability of resources for the news writers. Sometimes, one writer has more sources than the others that is why he is able to produce a better story of the event. Also, the variation of the stories can depend on how the writers interpreted the stories.

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