What Is News?


News is information that occurs in the world around us and reaches people through the media. It can be in the form of articles, videos, and social media posts.

Historically, journalists and other media personnel have been the suppliers and gatekeepers of news. Audience members have been merely receivers who could occasionally write letters to the newspaper or call their local news stations for comments on stories they heard.

But with the advent of digital media technologies, the lines between journalists and audience members have blurred. Today, anyone can be a supplier, reporter, editor, or gatekeeper of information.

The Characteristics of News

While many scholarly explanations of news values have been put forth, most audiences understand and accept some basic characteristics of news (see Galtung and Ruge, 2006; O’Neill and Harcup 2009; Caple and Bednarek 2013). These include timeliness, drama, consequence, proximity, and narrative.

Breaking News

Most breaking news is reported only moments after the event happens, so it must be brief and to the point. It also usually needs to be factual and accurate.

Hard News

A hard news story is about a specific incident or event that requires a lot of research and investigation. It must be factual, but it also needs to give readers a better understanding of a larger overarching story.

In-Depth News

An in-depth news feature is similar to a hard news story, but it involves much more research and involves writing about a smaller topic that doesn’t have a clear and simple story. It might even involve interviews with those involved in the incident.