What Is News?
News is a collection of facts about current events, developments and noteworthy people. News articles typically adhere to journalistic principles and focus on providing readers with factual information in an objective way. They may also contain information that is likely to affect the lives of others, for example, a natural disaster or government crackdown. These articles are often used in newspapers, magazines and radio but can be found online as well.
News articles must be clearly written and should include only relevant information. This can help keep the article shorter and more accessible, especially for busy or less-literate readers. It is also important to avoid sensationalizing the story or including personal opinions or biases. This can lead to a loss of credibility and a lack of trust by readers.
A story is newsworthy if it has one of these elements:
It is humanly interesting
Most people are interested in stories about other people, and this is the basis of most news coverage. However, newsworthy stories can also be about non-humans – for example, a cyclone, bush fire, drought or volcanic eruption. The importance of the event will determine how much prominence it receives, though.
It is unusual
Unusual events are more likely to be newsworthy than ordinary ones. For example, if a scientist reports that an insect has been found living on a plant it did not previously inhabit, this would be significant enough for a specialist magazine but not for a general newspaper or news broadcast.
It is significant
While an event may be new and unusual, it is not necessarily a newsworthy story unless it is deemed to be significant by the readership of the publication. This judgment is made by journalists based on their experience and knowledge of what their readers like to read about.
It is impactful
The most important newsworthy events are those that affect the life of a reader in some way. These could be political, economic or social issues. They could also be sports, celebrity or entertainment news. News stories that have the potential to impact the lives of readers are usually given higher priority and appear first in news bulletins and on Page One of newspapers. They are usually accompanied by details of the event and its background. Less important stories are then given less prominence and are placed on the inside pages of the newspaper. It is also possible to use statistics to make judgments about what is newsworthy. These are sometimes known as “news values”. Research has also been undertaken to study how the news value of an event is determined by journalists, such as through studying the content of published works (Allern 2002; Schultz 2007; Phillips 2015). These studies can be used to apply and test scholarly explanations of newsworthiness.