What Is News?

News is current information about events which affect a community. It can be delivered in many ways – through newspapers, television, radio and the Internet. People can also gather news from friends, relatives, neighbours and other sources. Despite the varying methods of delivery and dissemination, there are common characteristics which all news stories share.

A key aspect of news is that it should be interesting to readers. This can be achieved by having a lead paragraph which immediately grabs attention and draws the reader in. It is best to keep the lead paragraph simple and direct, while at the same time giving a broad overview of the article. This is commonly known as the 5 Ws; who, what, where, when and why.

There is also a requirement for the news to be informative and provide a perspective on an event or development. This can be achieved by a range of means, such as explaining the significance of an incident or providing background detail about the issue at hand. This is often done using statistics, figures and facts which add validity to the article and help to engage the reader.

It is generally agreed that news should be factual and unbiased, although there are arguments about whether this is always possible. One way of achieving this is to ensure that the story is told from the point of view of a’real person’. This can be a celebrity, a local figure or a member of the public affected by the news. Another approach is to use a neutral, objective tone which allows the reader to form their own opinion about the issue at hand.

Usually, news is about human activity – what people do to change the world around them. For this reason, it is often considered that news should reflect society and provide an insight into the social fabric of a nation.

Other things which make news are natural occurrences and disasters. These can be caused by cyclones, bush fires, droughts, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. It is also considered that news should include any major political events which take place. This can be influenced by the various pressure groups which exist in different societies.

Finally, the news should be timely. It doesn’t do much good to publish a story about something which happened last week; the community will already have moved on. This is why the most important news items are placed ‘above the fold’ in a newspaper or on the first page of an online news article. This gives the reader what they want straight away and increases their chances of finishing the story. This is especially important as the number of people reading online has dropped dramatically over recent years. This has also led to an increased reliance on other sources of information such as television, radio and blogs. This has raised questions about the future role of professional journalism in the modern world.