News is information about current events. It is delivered through various media – word of mouth, printing, postal systems, broadcasting and electronic communication. News is important because it enables people to understand what is happening around them and make informed choices. News also provides an alternative perspective to the views of official sources such as governments and the business community.
The purpose of news is to inform and educate, not to entertain. Entertainment can come from other areas – music and drama on TV or radio; crosswords and cartoons in newspapers; or from other sources such as books, magazines and movies.
To be newsworthy, an event must meet several criteria. It must be new, unusual, interesting and significant. It must also affect a large number of people. For example, a terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre will be of more interest than a local burglary. Also, a coup in the next country over is more likely to be newsworthy than one in your own.
People are always interested in what other people are doing – particularly if they are famous. This is why stories about celebrities often make the news. However, not all celebrity stories are the same – it may be that they are moving from one career to another or that they have been caught up in a scandal.
Other things that make the news include natural disasters and other events of a public interest, such as the disappearance of a plane or the discovery of a treasure. Also, news can be about animals, such as the story of a mother tiger protecting her cubs as they trekked to safety. Such stories are often reported on TV and in the newspaper, but they can also be found on social media such as Instagram.
Usually, news is written to be read quickly and will contain the most important facts first. This is known as the “inverted pyramid” technique. The important facts are listed at the top of the article, and each subsequent paragraph contains more detail. This is especially important if an article is to appear in print (where it will be read above the fold, or on the first page) or online.
The guiding principle when writing a news article is to know your audience. This will dictate the voice and tone of the article, as well as help you decide what to include. For example, if you are writing for a family publication it is unlikely that a story about a celebrity break up will be of interest. However, a story about an animal rescue will be read by many more people.
The information contained in this article should be used as a starting point for further research. The links below are some places to start. They provide a range of perspectives on the role of the news, from how it is created to how it is received and used. Each link also includes a list of references to consult for further reading.