What Makes Newsworthy?
News is a collection of facts about current events, compiled and presented in such a way as to captivate the attention of an audience. Whether it is printed in a newspaper or read on television, radio or the Internet, the purpose of news is to inform, educate and entertain. It should capture the attention of its audience, but it cannot be so interesting and captivating that it becomes propaganda. People are not interested in reading propaganda – they are interested in reading news that teaches, enlightens and informs them.
Some of the main elements that make something newsworthy are:
Unusual events. People are interested in unusual things. They are also interested in the result of an unusual event. For example, a man eating a hamburger and taking the bus to work does not make news; but if that same man is killed by a terrorist while on his way to work it would make the news.
Important people. Many people are interested in famous people. They are interested in what they do, what their lives are like and how much they earn. They are especially interested in the news about people who lose their wealth or are involved in scandals. They are also interested in the health of famous people and the medical research that is done by doctors. They are also interested in sex stories, but they prefer to read news about sex that does not go against society’s generally accepted standards.
It is important that the news reports are accurate. People often rely on the news for information about events that have already occurred; they do not want to read a report that is biased and misleading. It is therefore important for journalists to have high ethical standards and always check their facts.
A good headline should catch the eye and tell the reader what is in store in the article. It should not be too long and should not contain any vague or ambiguous statements. The headline should be written in an active voice and use verbs rather than adjectives to evoke the sense of action – e.g. ‘Dr Jones is using this equipment to study malaria’.
The conclusion should restate the lead and give some insight into what future developments might be. It is often helpful to read other news articles to see how they do this, or to watch news stations or shows to see how they wrap up their reports.
Whether you are writing news professionally or as an assignment for school, it is essential to check all the facts before publishing. The wrong information could ruin your article’s credibility and potentially harm your reputation.
Many people still read newspapers, listen to the radio or watch TV for their news. However, more people are now getting their news online. This is partly due to the increasing popularity of social media sites, but it is also because it is easier and cheaper for individuals to access the news through their mobile devices.