What is News?
News is information about a current event or situation. It is usually published in newspapers, magazines and on radio or television. News is important because it helps us keep up to date with the world around us. It also informs and educates us. It can be entertaining too – music and drama programmes on radio, or cartoons and crosswords in newspapers, for example.
The classic definition of news is “dog bites man”. But in fact, anything that is unusual can be considered to be news. What is considered to be unusual, however, varies from society to society. The importance of cows and pigs in one society may mean that a loss of cows is more significant than a loss of pigs.
How do journalists judge what is and is not newsworthy? They make judgments about what is most important, whether it incorporates violence or scandal, is local and familiar, and if it is timely. They also make decisions about how stories are arranged in news bulletins and on the front page of papers.
Journalists also use their judgment when deciding who to interview and what questions to ask. They try to find out as much as they can about the subject and make sure that they have all the relevant facts before reporting them to their audience. They often use the ‘Five Ws’ – who, what, when, where and why – as a guide for writing their reports. In addition, they try to avoid jargon and abbreviations and write in clear, simple sentences.