What Is News?
News is information about events that are significant, or that have recently changed the way people live. It is usually presented objectively, concisely and based on factual information. It is usually accompanied by commentary, and may have a strong emotional impact. News articles are found in newspapers, magazines and radio broadcasts. They are also frequently published on the Internet.
The type of information in a news article depends on the intended audience, and the importance or significance of the event. Generally, the most important or sensational news is placed on the front page of a newspaper or at the top of a web page, and is called hard news. The term hard news refers to events that have a broad appeal, such as war, politics, crime or natural disasters. Other news stories are called soft news and include more inconsequential events such as sport or celebrity gossip.
A good news article starts with a snappy headline that succinctly informs readers about the topic while seizing their interest. The headline should be followed by a short paragraph that outlines the key facts of the story. The body of the article should contain more detail about the major events, and should provide any additional information that is necessary to understanding the main points of the story. This includes quotes from relevant individuals, as well as background information on the subject.
It is important to remember that the job of news is to inform, not to entertain. Entertainment comes from other sources, such as music and drama on TV and radio, or from crosswords and cartoons in newspapers. But this does not mean that news should be dull. News should be reported briefly so that people will read it, clearly so that people can understand it and picturesquely so that people will recall it.
Other factors that affect the newsworthiness of an event include its impact, its importance and its timeliness. Events that have a big impact or are of high importance generally attract the most attention, and therefore have the greatest news value. This is why a major war, political scandal or earthquake usually makes the front page of a newspaper, or receives top billing on a television or radio news program. Lesser events, however, may be of interest if they are especially unusual or have a wide appeal. For example, a new insect may be discovered living on a plant that it did not previously inhabit. This may be a major discovery for scientists, but it will likely have little impact on the general public and will not be the main feature of a newspaper or news program. However, if the insect is known to be dangerous to humans it will be of greater concern.