What Is News?

News is the information that a newspaper, magazine or radio programme reports on current events. Generally, the news will be about something that is unusual, interesting, significant or about people. It is the job of a newspaper, magazine or radio to inform and educate their audience. Although they may entertain as well, the primary function is to inform. In some cases, this may be more important than other functions of the media such as entertaining – radio dramas or crosswords in newspapers.

What is considered to be news will differ from society to society. For example, the classic “Dog bites man” is not news in some societies if dogs are eaten at feasts or to satisfy hunger. Similarly, what is important in one part of the world will be less important in another. A coup d’etat in a neighbouring country will probably be much more important than a terrorist attack in the country where you live.

In deciding what to report, the media needs to know its demographic. This will usually be based on the location of the newspaper or radio station. The newspaper might be aimed at all communities, or it might be aimed at particular industries, professions or interest groups. For instance, a newspaper in Kansas City will be aimed at people who work in business or the public sector.

Once the media has identified its demographic, it can start to think about what kind of news is going to appeal to them. This will be a combination of what the media considers to be of importance and what the audience likes to read about. The following categories will typically be used when deciding what makes a good news story:

Celebrity: Stories concerning people who are already famous. Sex: All societies are interested in sex, even when it involves behaviour that goes outside of their normal social norms. Health: People are interested in stories about traditional remedies, medical research, diseases, hospitals and clinics, diet and exercise. Food and drink: The rich want to eat and the poor need to survive, so stories about food shortages or gluts are of interest. Agriculture is also of interest to those who are concerned about the environment.

In-depth: News articles that take a particular subject and investigate it in great detail. For example, an in-depth piece about a fire could include interviews with the residents and investigators.

When writing an article about news, you should always try to be impartial. This will help readers to understand the true significance of a story and not just a biased view point. A good way to approach this is to use a news aggregator, which will allow you to get different news reports from various sources in one place so that you can compare them. A number of these are available online and can be accessed for free. They can be a great source of information and will often be updated more regularly than individual news websites.

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