What Is News?


News is information that is important or interesting and that is published in newspapers, magazines or on the internet. It can be about people, places or things. Often, news articles include quotes from sources or events. News articles are usually about current affairs but can also be about sport, entertainment or history.

A newspaper article starts with a headline and a lead paragraph to grab readers’ attention. The lead is usually a dramatic anecdote, a surprising fact or an important breaking news update. It then gives more background information in a section called the “nut graph” which answers the questions who, what, when, where and why. The nut graph often includes a timeline and gives the story context by describing how the news happened or why it’s significant.

After the nut graph, the main news points are revealed in the body of the article. It’s the journalist’s job to provide the essential facts in a concise and compelling way. This is especially important as many news stories have a limited number of words. The news should be presented objectively, without adding the writer’s opinion or bias.

An effective news article will include human interest, either by using a personal anecdote or by placing the story in a wider political or social context. This is especially important if the news is controversial or could affect the public. The human element can make the story more engaging and interesting to read, even if it is not particularly pleasant or exciting to hear about.

Once the news is written, it needs to be edited and proofread. A sub-editor can help with this by checking for typos and grammatical errors, but the writer should be aware that they may not catch all mistakes. The news editor can then decide whether to publish the story as is or to change it.

In the digital age, it is increasingly important for journalists to consider how their stories will be disseminated and shared by audiences. This has shifted the emphasis from Galtung and Ruge’s original model of news selection to an understanding of how the audience influences or even determines what is considered important news.

It is generally accepted that the purpose of news media – whether it’s print, radio or television – is to inform and educate their readers, listeners or viewers. This doesn’t mean that they can’t also entertain them, but that this should come from other areas of the news media – music and drama on radio; cartoons or crosswords in newspapers. The entertainment aspect of the news should never be allowed to dominate or overwhelm the actual factual reporting. The best way to ensure this is to avoid writing biased news and to always present news with a strong ethical foundation. This will help to maintain the credibility of the news media and the trust of the general public. By doing so, the news media can continue to play an important role in society.