News is current information about events which are interesting and important to people. It may be reported in newspapers, magazines, radio or television. News is often factual but can also be opinionated or coloured by personal opinions. News is usually objective and seeks to provide a wide range of views and opinions on an issue.
Some believe that the content of news is dictated by market research, with journalists choosing to focus on stories which are most likely to interest audiences. However, this view is disputed by many who argue that the news media should be free to report what they consider to be important without fear of influence from outside sources.
The quality of a piece of news can be judged by its strength or ‘news value’. It is generally agreed that a story which is new, unusual, interesting, significant and about people will have high news value. However, some events which are new and unusual may not necessarily be of interest to the general audience – for example, scientists might announce that they have found an insect living on a plant which it did not previously inhabit. This would be newsworthy in a specialist publication but is unlikely to feature on the front page of a national newspaper.
News can be useful, helping people to make decisions by keeping them informed about their environment and the world around them. It can also have an educational value, providing analysis and interpretation of events and allowing people to make sense of complex situations. It can also act as a watchdog, holding governments and businesses to account by exposing corruption and wrongdoing.