“A Nose for News”: From (News) Values to Valuation


  • Juliette De Maeyer Department of Communication, University of Montreal http://orcid.org/0000-0002-6482-5365




Journalism, Valuation, Dewey, Nose for News, News Values


“News values” - that is, the set of criteria that journalists use to assess newsworthiness - are a central concern for journalism studies. Since Galtung and Ruge’s seminal piece (1965), scholarship about news values has repeatedly attempted to define and refine a list of qualities that facts and events should possess to become news stories. This article outlines the limitations of news values research: a proliferation of lists of news values complicates the matter instead of offering an explanation, researchers often have to rely on other factors or on an unsatisfactory gap between ideal and practice to explain what journalists actually do, and such research does not account for another way in which journalists and scholars explain news selection - through the “nose for news” metaphor. Consequently, the article discusses how John Dewey’s theory of valuation offers a good way to revisit the news-values conundrum. Through an exploration of metajournalistic discourse about the “nose for news” between 1863 and 2010, it shows that Dewey’s theory of valuation converges with how journalists think about newsmaking.


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How to Cite

De Maeyer, J. (2020). “A Nose for News”: From (News) Values to Valuation. Sociologica, 14(2), 109–132. https://doi.org/10.6092/issn.1971-8853/11176