The Purpose of News
The purpose of news is to inform. It should be brief so that readers, listeners or viewers can digest it, picturesque so they will remember it and accurate so they will be guided by it. It should have wide appeal, but it must also be significant – if the news consists of just the ordinary events of daily life it is not important enough to publish.
People are interested in the lives of prominent men and women, so stories about them make news – especially when they become famous or fall out of favour. They are also interested in health and food – so stories about medical research, diseases, hospitals and clinics are of interest to many. People are also interested in what they can eat, so stories about agriculture, farming, crop disease and food shortages and surpluses interest them. Sex is interesting to most societies, although people do not usually talk about it publicly, so stories about sex which break social mores are newsworthy.
Hard news makes the front page of a newspaper, is at the top of a web page and is the first item on a radio or television news broadcast. It is of major significance to society, has a high impact and is likely to provoke an emotional response. It is generally considered to be the most important news in the world. This kind of news is often based on facts which can be verified and will include names, dates and places.