News is information about a real or potential event which affects the lives of people, places, organisations or animals. It can include major events such as war, politics and natural disasters but also everyday events such as weather, sport, crime and the economy. The aim of news is to keep people informed and up to date and it can also provide entertainment. News is generally published in newspapers, magazines, radio and television but can also be found on the internet and in other forms of media.
People have always shared and exchanged news but as communications technology has developed it has become faster and easier to transport. News can now be transmitted globally within minutes and is available to anyone with a computer or mobile phone connection. It can be a vital tool in a democracy to allow its citizens to make informed choices about their daily lives. It can also influence politicians by providing information on public opinion.
The way that people decide what is important enough to be reported as news varies but there are some broad guidelines. Firstly, it must be relevant to the interests of its readers or listeners. It must be unusual or unexpected. Secondly, it must be accessible to the mass of people – ordinary people, not just experts or specialists. Finally, it must be credible and unbiased. The most important aspect of a news story is its impact. This can be determined by the proximity of the event, how many people are affected or if it has a significant effect on society. It can also be judged by its controversy, prominence or currency.
When writing a newspaper article it is important to know what to include and what to exclude. This is particularly true if it is going to be printed on the front page of a newspaper or at the top of a news bulletin. The five Ws are essential to a news article: who, what, where, when and why.
It is also useful to have an understanding of what a journalist’s role is. Ultimately, it is to inform readers and educate them so that they can make up their own minds about the issues that are of interest to them. Ideally, news should be impartial and allow people to form their own opinions but this can be difficult if the writer has a strong personal view which they want to share with the reader.
A good news article will have a good lead – the first paragraph which provides an overview of the main points of the story. It should be brief but interesting and should contain the main elements of the story. The body of the news article should provide further details on the topic, with a few sentences at the end summarising the main points. A byline – the name of the author – should appear beneath the headline.