News As Definition Has Changed Over Time
In today’s fast-paced world, the importance of news cannot be denied. News can be both real and false. It has become one of the important factors influencing society in general. One of the most influential forms of news are in the daily newspapers which delivers the news around the world instantly. Many people are aware of the fact that the daily newspaper contains news but not many know about the extent of news and how news is distributed.
According to the Oxford dictionary, news is a more detailed report or news, especially of recent events, usually a broadcast or printed report not before public knowledge. Based on Oxford dictionary meaning, news is of “current interest” and “of current interest to a particular group or individuals.” Hence we get news such as: the latest gossips, political scuttle-tones, Gilgamesh (a fictional character in Indian epic J. K. Rowling’s books series), the recent terrorist attacks in London, the leaked US diplomatic cables and the likes.
Now the question arises what is news and how significant is it? In my opinion it’s none of the above, what is news then? To put it simply news is anything new in the news. So according to our definition news is any new development or any occurrence which makes news worthy to be published, thus making any existing news old news.
We can see that news as discussed above refers to any development which changes something or that makes something happen. Hence it can be said that news can also be regarded as being something that is a potential problem or which could possibly change something which would otherwise be a potential problem. Therefore any news which alters this balance is news, such as antedating, whitewashing, or antedating news.
Antedating news is news which has potentially changed something already existing as either it’s potential or existing value has been altered since its existence as news. The most famous example of this is the infamous ‘Greed’ Gilgamesh the Younger. Since it was antedated it went under the rubric of whitewash which meant that it was not news but only a potential problem which had the potential to change. Similarly we can see news that has been antedated and later on has been whitewashed by changing its definition in the eye of the beholder. News which has been antedated but later on has been whitewashed again by another change in definition, this time by another news media.
As an example let’s take the infamous Facebook hoax created by four college students in Columbia, Missouri. The hoax began when one of them posted a status saying “we have hacked into the campus Facebook page and Facebook is now closed.” Within hours the web sleuths had found that this was indeed false and Facebook had gone offline but the damage was already done. This is a classic case of news being news but the change of context and definition of what was news changed the meaning of news forever. In fact, as news is being created and spread across the Internet it goes through a similar process. Something news that was once news is now news therefore changing its meaning.