News is current and interesting information obtained from all over the world, conveyed quickly to readers, listeners or viewers. It often involves human interest or drama and has a significant influence on the people involved. The information contained in news is usually unbiased, though this is sometimes difficult to achieve. The news is presented in a variety of ways, from radio to newspaper and even on the internet. The aim of news is to inform, educate and amuse. Entertainment may come from other sources, however, such as music and drama on radio or television, or crosswords in newspapers and magazines.
A story is newsworthy if it meets one or more of the following criteria:
Magnitude: Stories that have a high significance, or are likely to affect many people. This could include wars, natural disasters, accidents, crime or major scientific discoveries.
Interest: The story must be interesting to the majority of the audience. A story about a celebrity may attract attention, but only if the subject is well-known and of interest to a large number of people. This is also true for sports news, which focuses on the achievements of a team or individual, or events that are edgy and exciting.
The element of surprise in a story can add to its newsworthiness. This can be achieved by describing an event in a way that is unusual, or through using photographs which have been taken in a unique way. The use of the word ‘exclusive’ in a headline can also be used to draw attention and add to the newsworthiness of a story.
If a story is about an event that happened in the past, it will not normally be newsworthy. Exceptional or unusual events that are very recent can be newsworthy, such as a meteorite hitting the earth, a flood or an earthquake.
The most common types of news are about people. A person’s death or marriage can be newsworthy, but so can their achievements and failures. Events that affect the lives of a large number of people are particularly newsworthy, such as a coup or an election. However, the same event can have different newsworthiness in different societies. For example, a man’s death or marriage is more important in Western society than it would be in a developing country.