What is News?

News is information about current events. It may be transmitted verbally or written in the form of a report, letter, newspaper article, magazine piece, radio broadcast or television programme. It may also be transmitted electronically, via the internet or other computer networks. News is usually presented objectively, although many journalists express their opinion and bias when writing an article. Several societies and governments impose restrictions on the media to ensure neutrality in reporting the news.

A well-written news story will contain a leading statement, followed by the facts of the event or situation – what happened and who was involved, with a good explanation of why it is important or interesting. A conclusion, reiterating the leading statement or noting possible future developments in the same vein, is often included.

The most common topics for news are war, government, politics, crime, celebrities and the economy. But other issues such as health, education, sex and the environment are also of interest to many people. Sex is always a topic for news, since all societies are interested in the behaviour of their members outside the accepted norms. It is especially interesting when these behaviours cause public scandal or lead to a conviction.

In general, the more recent a news item is, the more likely it is to be reported. This is because there is a perception that newer items are more exciting or significant than older ones. This is why large news media outlets concentrate on timeliness in order to attract their audiences.

Having a sense of what is newsworthy can be difficult for the untrained writer. A good rule of thumb is to consider whether the news meets five criteria: it must be new, unusual, interesting, significant or about people. However, these criteria are subjective and can vary from society to society. For example, a coup in the country next door is more likely to be newsworthy than one in your own nation.

A good way to think about this is to read other news articles, and watch news shows on TV. Watch how the journalists present a story and try to emulate this in your own writing.

When writing a news article, remember to write about the most important events first and leave out the minor details. If you are not sure if an event is important enough to include, ask yourself “What is the difference between this and the Goldilocks story?”