News is information about current events that has been reported by someone, in a variety of ways, such as word of mouth, the press, radio or television. It has the power to shape opinion and influence decisions, and may even change the way we see the world. The aim of news is to keep the public informed about what is going on in their local, national and international environment. News often involves drama, consequence and timeliness, and is about things that happen suddenly or at short notice.
It is important to remember that not everything is newsworthy. Ordinary and everyday things, such as a man waking up, having breakfast and walking to work or an earthquake occurring in a remote area where the population is sparse, don’t make good news stories because they are not unusual or new. It is a key skill of the journalist to decide what does and doesn’t qualify as news.
One way to do this is to ask the ‘five W’ questions: who, what, where, when and why. If a story meets all of these criteria, it is likely to be a good news story. However, a story that satisfies only some of these requirements can still be interesting, for example an archbishop saying that the Roman Catholic Church should ordain women as priests, is significant because it influences policy.
It can be helpful to tune in to a range of news sources to get a full picture of how different organisations report on the same events. It can also help to challenge your own prejudices about what counts as newsworthy, and the way that you perceive the world around you.
A good news article will contain facts and quotes from people who are involved in the story. The writer should avoid adding their opinions to the piece, unless they are directly related to the event or news item being reported. They should write clearly and use a clear style. It is a good idea to use the inverted pyramid format, placing the most important information at the beginning of the article and then following with more detailed information.
If a story requires a lot of background research, an in-depth news article is often the result. This type of article takes a small section of the overall news event or issue and researches it heavily. It often includes interviews with individuals and heavily detailed graphs or charts.
While it is possible to produce unbiased news articles, the truth is that the prejudices of the journalists and the news outlets they work for can colour the entire piece. The most accurate news articles will be ones that are sourced and written by journalists who are not close to the subject matter or the people involved. This ensures that they have a neutral viewpoint and can present a fair and balanced view of the story to the reader. Nevertheless, all journalists have their own prejudices and biases which are difficult to overcome.