News is a medium of communication about current events that affects a wide public audience. It is usually written in a simple language and has a journalistic style. It covers a variety of subjects such as war, government, politics, education, fashion, the environment and business. It also includes celebrity, music and entertainment stories as well as animal welfare and disaster relief. News articles can be either serious or humorous. They can be presented in a wide range of styles and formats including newspaper, magazine, radio and television.
The elements of drama, consequence and timeliness are the characteristics that help determine what makes a story newsworthy. These elements are not universally applicable, and the newsworthiness of a story will often vary according to its cultural context. For example, a murder may make news in one society but not another; a natural disaster will be of more concern in some places than in others. A news story that has a sense of urgency is also more likely to attract attention, as is one that concerns a popular cause or involves celebrities.
Proximity is another important characteristic of news. People are generally more interested in events that happen close to home, rather than those that take place far away or in distant places. Timeliness, the sense that something is happening right now, is important as well. It does not do a newspaper much good to report on events that happened 10 years ago. Unless it is an anniversary of a significant event, the community is likely to have moved on.
The content of a news story will also depend on the audience for whom it is intended. It is not newsworthy to write a story about a local robbery for a newspaper that reaches the entire country. However, a story about a local burglary that is of particular interest to the police or community might be newsworthy.
Similarly, it is not newsworthy to write about the death of a cat unless it is an unusually large or vicious breed of cat. The same goes for stories about a minor accident or injury that could have been avoided with proper safety precautions.
The most common subjects for news are political events, crime and weather. These tend to be of greater interest than other subjects because they involve people and the potential for controversy and conflict. News about animals, plants and insects are interesting because they may influence the way we live. For example, if an insect is found to be threatening crops, this will be of interest to the farmers and might lead them to change their methods of cultivation.