What Is News?


News is current events – things that have happened recently or which have a significance to the public in some way. The news media is the major supplier and gatekeeper of this information, but the audience can also play a role by writing letters to the editor of newspapers, calling radio or TV stations with comments about their news coverage and, especially in times of civil unrest or war, using the Internet as an alternate method of communication.

The determining factor in whether an event becomes news is often the degree of drama and its proximity to the audience. It may be a very sad story about an accident that killed many people, a shocking discovery of some kind or a personal tragedy that is unfolding right in front of the audience’s eyes or ears. Drama draws attention and a sense of urgency; thus it is usually news.

A news article should contain the important facts about the topic. The information should be presented logically, in order of importance. It is also important to include a clear statement of the source(s) where the information came from – an interview, court records, government documents or a Web site for example.

Most news stories are geared toward a particular demographic of readers. For example, if you are reporting a crime that occurred in Kansas City you might have a very broad demographic whereas if you were discussing the zoning laws of a commercial area you would narrow your audience down to local business owners and realtors.

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