The front page story in the Winnipeg Free Press on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016 was a grim one. Three words enlarged over a night shot of the Assiniboine River: Dark. Cold. Pain.
This article explains that two female victims were brutally attacked on the same night on the banks of the Assiniboine River. The attackers were a 22 year old male and a 17 year old male. The 22 year old male’s name is Justin Hudson.
If you want to read more about this story you can read it here.
But now I’m going to explain why it is newsworthy.
What Makes a Story Newsworthy?
Timing, Significance, Proximity, Prominence, and Human Interest. These are five things that contribute to a newsworthy story. Lets begin with timing.
Now, the attacks happened on Nov. 8, 2014. One of the victims, however, is only speaking out now. Also, the trial for Hudson will take place this December. So in terms of timing this story is a little off. It happened four years ago, but the story didn’t just end. The victims suffered for those four years and are still suffering today. Also, Hudson hasn’t been sentenced yet. I have a feeling we’ll hear more about this story once the trial is over.
How many people were affected by this story? The four people involved, the two victims, and the two attackers were affected. The families of all four were also effected. Also, the fact that it happened in a city that likes to walk the banks of the Assiniboine River a place for leisure means something. Now, whenever someone who knows this story goes there they will be thinking of the brutal attacks. I know I will. This leads me to my next point as well.
This story was probably pretty close to home for a lot of people, literally and figuratively. Many, many people live in downtown Winnipeg, so hearing about a brutal attack so close to where you live is alarming. A safe home is a happy home, and nobody wants to feel unsafe in their own neighbourhood. When I read this story I felt sick to my stomach. I can’t and don’t want to imagine what that night must have been like for those women. It was an awful thing, and the fact that it happened in my city worries me. I don’t live in downtown Winnipeg but I do walk on the Riverwalk. The world can be a scary place.
This story doesn’t have much prominence. The victims have not been named, so I can’t say for sure, but I don’t think either of them are celebrities. Also, Hudson isn’t someone of importance, and the second attacker wasn’t named, but he’s probably not a celebrity either. So for prominence, this story doesn’t have much.
This relates back to the timing aspect of the story. It happened four years ago, but its an interest of the public. People, I being one of them, want to know what happened that night, how the victims are now, and what is happening to the attackers. This story is full of emotion. Like I said earlier, I felt sick to my stomach reading this story. I feel awful for the victims and I am angry at the attackers. This story probably got on the front page because it is such a shocking story to read about. Two women were brutally beaten and raped in our city, and something needs to be done about it.
Yes, this story is definitely newsworthy. It’s lacking a little bit in the prominence department, but it makes up for it in all the other categories.