News is information about events or issues that are of interest to the public. It can be anything from wars and elections to natural disasters and sporting events. It can also include gossip, rumors and celebrity stories. News is typically reported in newspapers, magazines and radio but it can also be broadcast on television and the Internet. The decision of what makes the cut into a newspaper, onto the TV news line-up or posted on a website is ultimately down to the people who work for the publication or broadcasting company. Depending on the medium, they may be called editors, news directors or news managers. They sift through the recommendations of reporters, assistant editors and other members of staff to decide what is and isn’t newsworthy. They are sometimes referred to as gatekeepers, because they control what gets published or broadcast and what the audience sees.
Different societies have different ideas about what is important and what is not newsworthy. For example, a man walking to work or taking the bus does not make good news because it is an ordinary, everyday event. However, if the same man was walking to work past a zoo where there were baby tigers then it would be newsworthy because of the drama, consequence and timeliness of the story.
People like controversies and conflicts which are why news often centres on them. They also like to empathise with other human beings and so stories about the lives of famous people can become newsworthy. Weather can also make the news if it is unusual. It is interesting to hear about floods, droughts, cyclones and other extreme weather conditions. Food and drink and the economy can also be of interest, as are stories about the cost of living, shortages and gluts. The environment is also a source of news and there is always a lot to say about animals as well.
If something is new, unusual, interesting, significant and about people then it is likely to be newsworthy. Obviously, some of these criteria are more important than others. For example, a scientist’s discovery that an insect has been found living on a plant which it did not previously inhabit is very exciting and unusual but it is unlikely to interest a general newspaper or television audience. It is more likely to be newsworthy in a specialist magazine or community newsletter.
In order to write a good news article, it is helpful to understand the different audiences which the media reaches. A general newspaper will have a larger readership than a newsletter which is aimed at a specific local community. It is also necessary to consider the tone of the writing. A serious report will have a more formal style while an emotional piece will be more informal. It is also useful to have a rough draft of the article before it is finalised as this helps with the flow and allows for any necessary changes.