News is information about current events, developments and issues which are of interest to the public. It is presented in a way which keeps the audience up to date, and which aims to be objective and impartial in accordance with ethical rules.
A primary function of news is to inform the public about what is happening in their local communities, countries and internationally. It also helps them to make sense of complex situations by providing analysis and interpretation, and by highlighting different points of view.
Another important function of news is to promote accountability, by exposing corruption and unethical behaviour. It can also help to raise awareness of particular social issues, and influence public opinion and policy decisions.
There are many ways in which the news can be reported, and the type of news media may affect how it is interpreted and received by the audience. These include print, broadcast television and radio, the Internet, and mobile phones.
Those who write news stories are usually referred to as journalists, although the term journalist is often used to refer to a particular type of journalism. News writing is considered a skilled profession and requires training in journalistic techniques. It is sometimes considered a ‘craft’, and there are several professional bodies which set standards in this area.
In addition to informing the public, news can entertain as well as educate. This is often done by making use of humour or using a topic which will appeal to people’s emotions. Stories about celebrities are of interest, as are sports news and disasters.
What is newsworthy depends on the culture of the society in which you live. In general, a story will be newsworthy if it is new, unusual, interesting, significant and about people. However, it is important to remember that what is considered newsworthy in one country may not be in another, and so the same event can have different news values in different parts of the world.
A cyclone, bush fire or earthquake, for example, is likely to be of major news value in a tropical country, but not in a temperate one. Similarly, a coup in your own country is likely to be much more significant than a coup in the neighbouring country.
Crime: any kind of crime is newsworthy if it is unusual or serious, and this includes road traffic offences, burglaries, robberies, forgery and murder. However, it is the financial aspects of crime which usually make the most newsworthy – for example, fortunes made and lost, tax rises, the Budget, food prices, wage increases and compensation claims.
Health: all societies are interested in their own and other people’s health, so stories about traditional remedies, medical research, diseases, hospitals and clinics, exercise, diet and drugs are of interest. All societies are also interested in sex, even if they do not talk about it openly, and stories about sexual activity which goes against society’s generally accepted norms usually make the news.