How News Values Effected Reporting on the Arab Spring


News today undergoes a series of procedures before it reaches its final audience. People at the head of news corporations are having the final say in what is published. Once news was broadcasted on radio, and then television. Now, in addition to these formats we have the ability to receive news anywhere and on the go through a smartphone or tablet.

Lee-Wright (2011) observes that journalists covering issues such as the Arab Spring are often encouraged to only seek put the big moments which are surrounded by a public hype. It can be questionable whether we receive the full story by reading general news and how much of what we read has undergone a selective process. CNN’s Ben Wedeman stated that he believes “it’s important that journalists who are serious about covering what is being called the Great Arab Revolt, the Arab Spring, they need to follow up, they can’t just cover the big moments because this is a story of huge historical importance that will reverberate for years afterwards… It’s important not to take a snapshot but a big video of what’s going on.” (Lee-Wright, 2011)

Due to the procedures of editing in traditional news some people believe that new media provides a broader view of current issues, allowing audiences to see the bigger picture. When looking at the New York Times’ account on the Egyptian protests Lee-Wright (2011) reflects on the concept of Harlow and Johnson (2011). He notes that, “the new media were much more attuned to the character and complexity of the evolving protests, whereas the New York Times, representing old media, was reliant on a tired and inadequate protest paradigm.” (Lee-Wright, 2011).

The job of journalists and news organisations is to report honestly and factually on current events. However, its is evident that demand for news is growing and as such many news corporation rush to publish the big stories rather than the whole story. New media provides a numerous amount of online newspapers and other news forums which can provide a somewhat different account as every organisation may have different news values to which they abide by.


Lee-Wright, P. (2011) “News Values: An assessment of News Priorities through a Comparative Analysis of Arab Spring Anniversary Coverage.” JOMEC Journal, vol. 4, pp. 186-205.

Harlow, S., Thomas J. Johnson (2011) ‘The Arab Spring| Overthrowing the Protest Paradigm? How The New York Times, Global Voices and Twitter Covered the Egyptian Revolution’. International Journal of Communication, vol 5, pp.1354-79.


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