What Is News?

News is a written account of events that are either interesting or important. It is usually reported in the form of articles in newspapers, magazines and online and is often broadcast over TV or radio. A good piece of news writing should be informative, concise and factual. It should also be well researched and include any quotes from the subject of the article. Most newspapers and other news sources have a target demographic which they attempt to cater their news to. This is sometimes obvious – for example, a local newspaper in Kansas City will try to appeal to people living there. Other times it may be less obvious – for example, a news story about zoning laws in a commercial area will aim to interest property developers.

An event is considered to be newsworthy if it is new, unusual, interesting or significant. It should be significant in the sense that it affects many people, rather than a small number of people. This means that a lot of people will be interested in reading or hearing about it, and so it will probably be reported on.

A story may be about a significant scientific discovery, for example. A scientist’s finding that an insect lives on a plant which it did not previously inhabit is newsworthy, because the insects eat plants and so this discovery will likely affect the way that people grow crops. Similarly, a political coup in another country will be newsworthy because it could potentially affect the stability of the world in which we live.

Events such as crimes, accidents and weather are common items of news, because they affect a large number of people. However, some events are not considered to be of sufficient importance or interest to warrant a full news report. For example, a murder or a burglary will make headlines, but traffic accidents and mild weather will not.

The main reason for this is that the public are generally interested in knowing about important events, but not so much in the detail of how those events occur or why they occurred. It is generally only when there is a sensational element involved that news becomes really important to the public.

A good way to keep up with current affairs is to read a variety of newspapers and magazines, and to listen to different radio and television broadcasts. This will help to give a balanced view of the world and can prevent the listener or viewer from being ‘brainwashed’ by one side of an argument. Having multiple sources of information can also help to check for bias, which is a major problem in the reporting of news. There are websites which allow users to check the bias of different news sources, and suggest ways to get unbiased information. A good place to start is with resources that adhere to the Associated Press guidelines on journalism and the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Conduct.

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