Understanding how the topics of news stories are socially constructed through journalistic practices is an important question for the study of journalism. We contribute to this strand of research by reconstructing the process of news making from the perspective of the journalists. The method used for this purpose is the comparative reconstruction of the ‘biographies’ of news stories by interviewing the authors of news stories. This was done during the same two weeks covering European news in 23 elite, popular and regional newspapers in six countries (Great Britain, France, Germany, Poland, Denmark and Austria). A cluster analysis identifies the complex constellations of different components that trigger European news making. Four trigger constellations co-exist that represent different sets of journalistic practices of news making. These transnational patterns of journalistic practices show that journalism is not only a professional community based on a common professional ideology, but that journalism is a transnational community of practice.