developments of more powerful and advanced rockets
to propel manned space flights are of great interest to
Progress does not have to be dramatic. For example,
an improvement in mooring lines, shoe leather or paper
clips can be significant progress. There is a great deal of
progress in Navy news stories. The Navy is constantly
making progress in seamanship, weapons systems,
aeronautics, nuclear propulsion, medicine, habitability,
education, human relations, leadership and other fields.
IDENTIFICATION OF DOMINANT
LEARNING OBJECTIVE: Distinguish the
dominant news elements in basic news stories.
Just how are these key elements applied in judging
the newsworthiness of an event? .
First of all, the newsworthiness of a story depends
on the strength or intensity of the news elements it
contains the more intense the elements, the more
newsworthy the story.
After gathering material for a news story, you
normally find that one or more elements overshadow the
others in intensity. These are the dominant elements.
This is sometimes referred to as the news peg.
A news peg is the most significant or interesting fact
in a story. It is featured in the first paragraph, and all
other facts revolve around it. In other words, it is a
foundation around which you construct the facts of your
For just a few moments, put yourself in this
hypothetical situation and assume that you are a JO
assigned to the Public Affairs Office, NAS Moffett
Field, Calif. The facts of the story, for which you have
been given the task of readying for a 1400 release to the
local media, are as follows:
1. Navy Lt. Humberto K. Libute, son of Mr. and
Mrs. Perfecto F. Libute of 2714 Caspian St., Long
Beach, Calif., is a pilot attached to Fighter Squadron 24
at NAS Miramar.
2. At 9 am. (always use civilian terminology for
civilian media), Lt. Libute took off from the naval air
station in a supersonic F-14 Tomcat for gunnery
practice over the Mojave Desert.
3. At 9:20 a.m., while flying at an altitude of
13,000 feet, Lt. Libute put his plane into a shallow dive
and fired a few bursts from his cannon. When he pulled
out of the dive a few seconds later, hydraulic warning
lights lighted up like a Christmas tree.
4. Lt. Libute fought desperately to control his
damaged plane, but had to bail out.
5. Amazingly the Tomcat landed in the desert. The
planes wings sheared off causing considerable damage,
but the pilot escaped serious injury. He walked away
from the crash, but collapsed from shock and loss of
6. After an emergency blood transfusion and
treatment for shock, Lt. Libute is recovering at the NAS
hospital. Doctors report that his condition is good.
7. A preliminary investigation into the cause of the
accident revealed that Lt. Libutes jet had lost hydraulic
Now that we know the facts in the story, let us see
if we can determine the most dominant elements. Figure
2-1 will help you analyze them. Elements have been
classified in degrees of very strong, strong, weak, very
weak and none.
As you can see, the elements of immediacy,
proximity and oddity are listed as strong. They are
dominant elements in this story, with oddity taking a
decided edge over the other two. They will be combined
in the news peg, which will be featured in the beginning
of the story. The news peg for this story could be written
A Navy plane was shot down by its own gunfire
near San Jose today. The plane, piloted by Lt. Humberto
As the story is developed, the other facts are
introduced to complement or supplement the dominant
elements featured in the news peg.
Figure 2-2 lists a few other examples of analyzing
dominant elements for the news peg. The first element
listed is the strongest. The others, if there are any, are
Note that immediacy and proximity are not listed as
dominant elements, unless they actually overshadow the
other elements. Immediacy is present in practically
every story because the facts must be new to be
considered news. Proximity also is present impractically
every local story.