What Is News?


News is what happens in areas of life that interest your readers, listeners or viewers. It should be reported briefly so they will read it, clearly so they can appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it and, above all, accurately so they can understand it.

Traditionally the classic definition of news has been that it is something unusual. This is not, however, universal. If dogs are eaten at feasts in a society then, even though it is unusual for them to be bitten by men, it will not be news. It is only when something is unusual for the audience that it becomes newsworthy.

The selection of what to report is governed by many factors, which are sometimes called “news values.” These include the following:

Magnitude: the degree to which an event is significant. This includes the number of people involved, the potential impact and how it relates to other events.

Exclusivity: the first time the story will be told in your medium. This could be a result of a meeting, letter, phone call, interview or investigation.

Entertainment: Stories concerning celebrities, showbusiness or human interest (or animals). It may also be a story with the potential for humorous treatment and/or entertaining photographs. Surprise: Stories which have an element of contrast or the unexpected. This can be a story with a positive overtone, or a rescue or cure. This will generally be below the fold in a newspaper or on page one of a Web site.

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