Deja-news all over again

Sometimes when I try to think about what news “is” (as in, for when people ask, why is x news?) I strip down the word: News is, basically, multiple things that are new.

Yet I hadn’t come across any coverage in mainstream media that suggested the same until today, when I saw it in two stories about the same topic.

> NYT: “Mr. Obama did make a sliver of news, disclosing that he intended to announce in the next couple of days what kind of help his administration would give the auto industry.”

> AP: “The president did not make news, but ran smoothly through answers to questions posed to him…”

Ignoring for a moment the slight contradiction between these media reporting on the event as “making history” and yet saying there wasn’t any news in it, the basis for the reporters saying he “didn’t make news” seems to be that he didn’t say anything they hadn’t heard before. So, apparently, there would have been “news” if there were something new.

Not that this proves my definition or anything. You couldn’t narrow down “news” to just one definition, anyway. But this caught me off guard.

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