What Is News?


News is information about current events that are broadcast, published or distributed in a variety of ways. It may be transmitted verbally, written in print or on the internet and is often classified by a particular media type such as newspaper, television, radio or website. It is often considered the most important or relevant information available about a particular event. News can have a major impact on people, for example, informing them of disasters and conflicts that affect their lives and safety. News can also be used for propaganda purposes to influence public opinion or political decisions.

Considering all the different types of news sources that exist, it can be easy to see why there is so much repetition in what is covered in the media. Each news source has its own set of gatekeepers and its own way of deciding what makes the cut for the front page or the top of the broadcast bulletin, but there are certain basic characteristics that are shared by all forms of news, whether it is a newspaper article, TV or radio broadcast or an online publication.

Timeliness is the first and most obvious characteristic that defines a news story. The most newsworthy items are those that have happened recently or will happen soon, which explains why news stories are so different from history books or historical accounts of past events, because the event itself has not yet occurred or is no longer relevant.

Drama is another important factor in determining newsworthiness. A story is more likely to be reported if it has a dramatic effect on people’s daily lives, for example, a fire or explosion at a workplace, the death of a celebrity or a political crisis that is impacting people in their communities or around the world.

Consequence is a third important element in deciding what to report. A story is more likely to be reported and read if it will have a direct impact on people’s lives in terms of their health, finances, jobs, homes and security.

Proximity is the fourth characteristic of what makes for a good news story. A story is more interesting if it has a personal connection to the audience, for example a family member’s illness, their child’s graduation or their own business success.

When writing a news article it is important to remember that the inverted pyramid structure works best for this kind of writing. It is also useful to have secondary sources to provide insights into the topic that might not be immediately obvious from the primary facts. These can include experts who can offer technical commentary or analysis, and individuals close to or affected by the topic who can share an anecdote that will help readers understand the issue in a more meaningful way. Lastly, it is worth using quotes in your articles if possible. Always use the full name of the person rather than just their initials and avoid abrupt changes in the tenses used.

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