This article challenges the assumption, frequently made in scholarship on Soviet media, that news was absent in the Soviet Union. Working across press, radio, and television, the article shows how after 1953 reform of Soviet news became a priority for journalists, editors and media professionals. The article focuses on discussions among journalists and officials about the future of journalism, arguing that journalists’ notions of professional excellence played a crucial role in shaping news coverage. In a climate of Cold War competition with western radio, new technological possibilities and changing political priorities, journalists gradually overcame their condescension towards news, emphasising its civic potential as an agent of social ‘democratisation’, and the artistic nature of reportage. This new configuration was precarious, however, and collapsed after the Czechoslovakian crisis of 1968. As the Party placed new restrictions on the flow of information, news lost its professional prestige.