News is information about current events. It may be communicated by word of mouth, written on paper, posted on a notice board, broadcast over radio or television, or transmitted electronically. The earliest forms of news were oral accounts of events, such as stories about local battles or public meetings, but in modern times most information about events is published in written form, either in newspapers, magazines or books. News is often called hard news to distinguish it from soft, or fluffy, news.
People are interested in news because it affects them in some way. Whether this is directly, as in the case of weather reports or food shortages, or indirectly, as when they hear about someone famous. News is usually about people, although natural disasters, wars, political events and the weather can also make the headlines.
Journalists are responsible for selecting and reporting on what is newsworthy. They do this by judging the significance and impact of events and deciding which stories are worthy of front page space in their bulletins or newspapers. In the case of newspapers they also decide what to print and which pages to devote to it.
There is much debate about how news should be judged. One common view is that news should be’real’ or ‘true’. This is based on the theory that people will trust news which reflects reality. Another view is that the news should be ‘interesting and significant’. This is based on the theory the more interesting and significant an event, the more it will be talked about.
It is also important for journalists to understand their audience and what kind of news they are most likely to read. This will help them to write the best news articles. It is also important for writers to be able to identify the key details of a story. These include the lead which should be short but clear, the factual details about the story, where and when it took place, who was involved and why it is important. The writer should also remember to use in-depth coverage on all the important aspects of the story, especially the key ones, rather than skimming over them.
People expect to get entertained by the news they read or see on TV, but this is not the job of journalism. Entertainment is the job of other media, such as music and drama on radio, or cartoons and crosswords in newspapers. The purpose of news is to inform and educate audiences.
It is important for readers to be able to recognise the difference between a true news story and a false one. The best way to do this is to read a lot of different newspapers and bulletins and to compare them. Then they can be sure they are getting the truth. They should also avoid reading the same stories over and over again, as this will only confuse them. They should also try to be unbiased and not prejudiced. If they are, then they may find that their opinion of the story will change as they get more information about it.