What is News?

News is a short piece of information that is a timely account of an event or development. It may include facts from research, quotes from sources and the writer’s opinion. It should be presented without bias and written in a formal tone. It can be for a broad readership such as a newspaper or magazine or for a more specialised audience such as a community.

News articles usually begin with the five W’s (who, what, where, when and why). Then a reporter gathers as many facts as they can to make their story as accurate as possible. They also consider what makes the news worthy. For example, a bug biting a peasant farmer might not be newsworthy, but if it is causing damage to their crops then it might be. Likewise, the opinion of someone such as a politician, religious leader or archbishop can have an impact on newsworthiness.

A good rule of thumb is that a story is newsworthy if it is unusual, interesting, significant and about people. But it is important to remember that what is newsworthy in one society might not be in another. For example, the assassination of a well-known figure would be big news in one country but not in another. This is why it is important to know the audience for whom you are writing. Putting the most important information at the beginning of your news article, known as the inverted pyramid, ensures that it grabs the reader’s attention.

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