News reports are usually classified into two groups, those to which the public is usually exposed and those for which it is not normally made available. Examples of newsworthy news include national events and those which concern matters that affect the country in general. Examples of non-newsworthy news are items that are not of interest to the general public.
Examples of newsworthy items that would be newsworthy if made public include natural disasters, acts of violence against children and adults, the likelihood of political violence against a sitting government, and the general welfare of the public. Examples of non-newsworthy items that would not make news include controversial issues like the validity of UFO sightings or reports of alien beings. Also classified as non-newsworthy information are things that are not of interest to the general public.
When most people hear of something happening around them, they make analogies to something they have observed or heard about elsewhere. Such analogies enable them to link a new event with something they have already heard or read about. Analogies may affect how many people interpret a story and how it is covered by the media. Many people only use analogies when they cannot make a connection between a new event and something they have already heard or read about. For example, if a local news report discusses a new rash of bed bugs in an area, many people may link it to other cases of bed bugs that had recently occurred in that same area. If a local news report discusses new findings concerning a new substance that is supposed to be dangerous, some people may conclude that it belongs in the category of substances that can be dangerous.
Another way in which news stories may affect public opinion is by generating controversy. A news story that creates a lot of fuzz about a given issue or political party can create enough controversy to make it clear to many people that something is wrong. Even though the story is true, there are some who will focus on the negative aspects of the story and spread false rumors about it. As a result, the news story becomes a topic of conversation, and that may affect public opinion.
News can also have a PR value. When a news story has an impact on the listeners and readers of a certain publication, this can make the publication more popular with people from different societies. It can attract a specific niche of readers, making it a subject matter worth discussing. A higher number of readers can translate into more advertising revenue for the publishing house. This is especially true of publishing ventures owned by wealthy individuals.
Although all news can have an impact on public opinion, some news items transcend these boundaries. News reports that describe acts that are unique or that deal with one society may not have an effect on another society. This can be illustrated with respect to acts that target one gender or another. Stories that only deal with one race can have little significance on another race because they focus on a totally different problem. While some news items may have both positive and negative impacts on listeners and readers from different societies, no one society can claim total influence over all of them.