What is News?
News is information about current events. It can be delivered by word of mouth, through printing, postal systems, broadcasting or electronic communication. It can be about the environment, politics, business or sport. It may be about famous people or about ordinary people who have achieved something remarkable. It may also be about a natural disaster or a man-made catastrophe such as a war. It can be about a tragedy or an accident, but it can also be about something that is humorous, shocking or interesting.
News is often reported by journalists. Historically, this has meant reporting on events and circumstances as they happened, but in modern times it can be written before an event even takes place. It can then be published instantly using communications satellite technology, which enables events that happen all over the world to be transmitted into towns and cities almost as they are happening. It can be read on computers, tablets and mobile phones.
Whether or not something is newsworthy depends on the significance and interest in the subject. It could be about an important politician or celebrity, but it can also be about an insect, an accident, a piece of sport, a fire or a flood. People are interested in the lives of famous people – what they do, where they go and what they look like – as well as in the activities of their friends, family and colleagues. They are also interested in the health of themselves and others, which is why stories about hospitals and clinics, diseases, traditional remedies and diet and exercise are of interest to many people. People are also interested in sex stories, which usually involve behaviour that goes outside societies’ generally accepted norms.
When writing news, the writer should try to make the story interesting and dramatic, but must avoid exaggeration or sensationalism. They should use active rather than passive verbs – for example, ‘Dr Jones is studying malaria using this equipment’ instead of ‘This equipment is being used by Dr Jones to study malaria’. It is also important to avoid jargon and abbreviations, as they can confuse the reader and detract from the story’s impact.
The first paragraph of a news story is called the lede and it should be exciting, attention-grabbing and concise. It should give the main facts about a subject and lead into the rest of the article. It is usual for a news report to include pictures and quotes from experts, politicians or other sources. The use of these quotes can help to add credibility and authority to the story. It is important to check that a story is accurate and not misleading, as inaccurate information can damage reputations. It is also worth checking for spelling and grammar mistakes before publication. It is easy to overlook these mistakes when you have been working on a long report and can be helpful to have another pair of eyes to check over it. It is not necessary to publish every mistake, however.