What is News?
News is a collection of information about current events and developments. It can be delivered via a variety of media, including newspapers, magazines and radio. It is also widely available on the Internet and mobile phones.
Most people believe that the job of the news media is to inform and educate their audiences. In addition, some believe that the news media should entertain as well – music and drama on the radio and crosswords and cartoons in newspapers are examples of this entertainment function.
The basic news points and facts are usually conveyed in what journalists call the lead – the first paragraph of the article which captures attention and maintains interest. A strong lead should contain what are often referred to as the ‘5 Ws’ – who, what, where, when and why. A good lead should also provide a ‘punchline’ – a short, catchy phrase which summarizes the main news points of the story.
All societies are interested in the activities of famous men and women – their lifestyle, relationships, achievements and scandals. They are also concerned about health – stories about traditional medicines, diseases, hospitals and clinics, diet and exercise are common news items. And all societies are interested in sex – even though they may not talk about it openly.
A strong news story must be well written, concise, factual and unbiased. The writer should provide enough information to allow readers to form their own opinions, especially if these contrast with the writer’s own. Vagueness is a bad thing in news writing, so words like “gold”, “silver” and “bright and sparkly” should be avoided.