Documentary film vs. news story


Recently some friends and I were discussing the differences between a documentary film and a news story. Most of them couldn’t tell them apart. There are a few main points to look at.

A documentary film is basically a movie that attempts to document reality. Even though the scenes are carefully chosen and arranged, usually through editing after filming, they are not scripted and the people in the movie are not typically actors. Sometimes, a documentary film may rely on voice-over narration to describe what is happening in the footage; in other films, the images speak for themselves without commentary.

A documentary often includes interviews with people in the film for additional information. Documentaries can use more time to establish world, character and struggle whereas, with news, a journalist has only a few seconds or minutes. There is often more mat sound with a documentary, also. Many documentary filmmakers attempt to change or improve society in some way with their messages. They want to inform.

Their goal is to bring to light a certain cause or injustice with the hope that their film will help galvanize the masses to demand change. An example might be a documentary on all the recent crimes that have been happening. In general documentaries are longer than news segments or stories and they focus more on real life. The mood of a documentary is also changed smoothly by the music that was chosen by the filmmaker. The news doesn’t use music as much.

News is defined as newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent or important events. The news also wants to inform just like documentaries. There is less time that the news has to establish world,character, and struggle. News also tries to entertain its viewers. They entertain viewers by choosing to talk about stories that are new, unusual, interesting and also about people. News covers many different topics.

The freshness of news gives it an uncertain quality which distinguishes it from the more careful investigations of history. The news describes the world in the present or immediate past. The news is given to you from a news anchor in different segments. All in all a news story is a factual, prose story for print or broadcast media about a person, place or event answering these five questions: who, what, when, where, why and how.

Last, but not least, a news story is sometimes written in the inverted-pyramid style, giving the most important information first and additional details later.