What Is News?
News is information about events which have recently happened or are currently happening. This information is reported in the form of articles by newspapers, magazines, radio and television. The main function of these media is to inform and educate. They also provide entertainment in the form of music and drama programs on radio and television, or cartoons and crossword puzzles in newspapers. It is the responsibility of journalists to be accurate and up to date with what is happening in their communities, regions or countries. News reports should not contain any personal opinions unless they are justified and have been sourced from a reliable source.
A good source of information for a news article can be found by talking to people who are involved in the event you are writing about or who have been directly affected. However, it is important to be able to distinguish between what is a newsworthy incident and what is simply gossip. You should also avoid quoting unnamed sources in order to maintain journalistic integrity and credibility.
The main criteria for judging whether something is newsworthy are its impact, magnitude and timelessness. Impact refers to the extent to which the event or development affects a large number of people in the community. Timelessness refers to the fact that it is significant or of great importance in terms of a historical or social development. Magnitude refers to the size of the event or development – a massive earthquake is more newsworthy than a minor fire or road traffic accident.
Some examples of newsworthy incidents are war, political upheaval, natural disasters and accidents, sporting achievements and human interest stories. Crimes – either violent or property crimes – are always of interest, especially when they involve a high profile individual or have a particularly serious or unusual aspect. Money is also of great interest to people, ranging from fortunes made and lost through business ventures or lottery wins to budget cuts, salary rises, food prices and compensation claims.
Some things, however, never make the news – a man waking up and eating breakfast or catching a bus to work every day, for example. Such events are not of much interest to other people and they are not new or unique, so they do not constitute news. Clichés such as ‘brilliant, excellent and exceptional’ are best avoided, as they tend to lack reader appeal and can seem contrived or even snobby. Similarly, jargon and abbreviations are usually best kept out of news articles because they can be confusing for readers. A good title for a news article should be snappy, relevant and eye catching. It should also include the “five Ws” of who, what, where, when and why to ensure that it is informative and compelling. A well written and concise news article will keep your audience hooked and coming back for more. This will help to build your reputation as a trustworthy news source. It will also increase the likelihood that your news story will be picked up by other media outlets.