What Is News?

News is information about events that have recently happened or will happen soon. It is not necessarily about people, places or things; it can also be about ideas. People who read newspapers, listen to the radio or watch television want to be informed about what is going on in their world. They also want to be entertained, but that can come from other sources – music and drama on the radio or cartoons and crosswords in a newspaper.

A classic definition of news is that it should be unusual, interesting, significant and about people. However, what is unusual can vary from one society to the next. For example, a dog bites a man in some societies and is therefore newsworthy; but in other societies, the same act does not meet the criteria of being unusual.

Timeliness is another important aspect of news; it is what drives many large media sources to focus on current events. If something has happened already, it cannot be news; but if an event happens which affects a large number of people at once, then that is likely to be newsworthy.

When writing a news story, it is important to be neutral and not state your own opinions. This can be hard, especially if you are writing about a political or social issue. Often the best way to write a neutral news article is to interview those involved and get their views on an event. It is also important to always cite any quotations you use (using the person’s full first name or both initials), as this helps readers identify them.

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