What Is News?


News is the events, happenings and developments in the world that a newspaper or other news publication chooses to report. This includes current affairs and celebrity stories, sports results, weather and local issues. It also covers government policies and public debate. A free press is sometimes called the oxygen of democracy, because democracies cannot survive without informed citizens.

The news agenda is driven by public interest, which in turn is dependent on the degree of public concern about particular topics and their potential impact. Consequently, it is easy for government to shut down newspapers or radio stations, but more difficult to control the spread of information through the Internet and mobile phones.

There are six main criteria that journalists use to decide what is news: Exclusivity (being first); Proximity (involving people from the community); Controversy; Prominence (involving a famous person) and Currency (how much attention it has attracted). In addition, some journalists like to add quotes to their articles, although this can be tricky. Often quotes can be sourced from people who are directly involved with the story such as the coach, a player, or a fan in the crowd.

Other factors that are sometimes included in news stories include: Magnitude (how significant the event is, or how it affects the lives of many); Surprise (an element of contrast or unusualness); Follow-up (stories about subjects already in the news); and Audio-visuals (video, photos, or witty headlines). Whatever is chosen as News, it is important to write it clearly and concisely, because readers will not read an article that they find difficult to understand. A good way to do this is to place the most important news above what is known as the ‘fold’ on the page of a newspaper, or the bottom of a web browser window.