What is News?

News is information about current events. It is disseminated through the mass media – newspapers, magazines, radio and television – and can also be received on personal computers.

Journalists decide which events are newsworthy and determine what facts should be emphasized in a story. They do this through market research and judgment based on their professional expertise. A journalist’s goal is to provide the public with useful, accurate and entertaining news about current events.

The most important factor in writing a news article is deciding what to write about. A good headline grabs attention and creates curiosity, and a well written lead explains why the event is newsworthy. The main news article is then arranged in an inverted pyramid structure – the most critical information goes first and each succeeding paragraph provides less and less detail.

There are a wide range of topics that can be the subject of a news article. Many are of global interest, but some may be more local or regional. For example, a fire at a local mall or an accident on a highway might be newsworthy to a community but might not interest readers in a distant city or country.

Crime: Any kind of crime is newsworthy if it is unusual, involves high profile individuals or has a dramatic impact. The most interesting crimes are those which involve a large sum of money or a prominent individual, but even a burglary or murder in a small village can be interesting if it is reported in a way that shows how the crime is being dealt with.

Money: How people make and spend money is of interest, as are economic trends and forecasts. Stories about wealth – the fortunes made and lost – are often of interest, as are those about charitable giving, taxation, wage rises, business investments and compensation claims. Food and drink: People are interested in how they get food and drink – stories about supermarkets, shops and restaurants, crop diseases, food shortages or price rises all make news. The same is true for stories about health – people want to know about advances in medicine and how they can keep fit, so stories about hospitals and clinics, traditional remedies and medical research are of interest.

Social and cultural issues are also newsworthy. People like to be informed about what their politicians are doing and are interested in political scandals. Stories about religion, education and the environment are also of interest to many. The last area that often makes the news is entertainment, such as stories about movies, theatre, music and carving. These give people something to look forward to or dream about, or to keep them informed about what is happening in their communities. Some of these stories are edgy and provocative, which increases their appeal. However, it is important for journalists to balance this with an emphasis on facts and to avoid promoting violence or sensationalism. They should always be clear about where their information comes from.