Major News Travels Fast

By Vinoothene Chandrasekaran
Pix Abd Ra’ai Osman

BANGI, APRIL 12 2016 – The greater the News value, the faster it will travel, said Professor Dato’ Sri Dr Syed Arabi Idid, Adjunct Professor at the School of Media and Communications (MENTION), The National University of Malaysia (UKM).

Even before the age of social media and the internet, he said the speed in which news spread depended on the degree of public interest in the issue, the timing of the event and whether it was expected.

 “One of the characteristic of news flow is its importance to its audience.

“Events that are important to the members of the audience are likely to spread faster and diffused more,” he said at his public lecture titled News Diffusion Studies: Malaysian Cases In A Global Context, here recently.

For example, news of the loss of flight MH370 in March 2014 spread rather swiftly because the first reports over international TV networks were broadcasted during prime-time in Malaysia and social media users have been speculating about the tragedy before any official announcement was made.

On the other hand, despite being of major public interest, the news of the shooting down of flight MH17 in 2015 took a comparatively longer time to be diffused because the incident took place late night when most Malaysians were asleep and local news agencies did not expect any major occurrences.

He noted that only those in Malaysia who watched the 24-hour networks like CNN, BBC and SkyNews had some inkling of the breaking news reports.

Utilising the ‘News Diffusion’ theory as his framework, Prof Syed Arabi said that his study looks at what and how international and local news spread among Malaysians.ukmnewsportal-eg