What Is News?


News is information about current events or developments in the world or in a particular place. News can be reported on radio, television or newspapers and is often published online. It can be a mixture of fact and opinion, and may include an analysis of issues, trends or causes. It is usually written in a style that will appeal to readers or viewers.

News can come from a wide variety of sources, such as the government, the private sector and civil society. It can be a story about an individual, or it can be about a community, organisation or country. News can also be a report on the past, for example about an historic event or disaster.

The purpose of news media – newspapers, magazines, radio and television – is to inform and educate their readers, listeners and viewers. It is not the job of news media to entertain them; entertainment comes from other areas – music and drama on radio and television; crosswords and cartoons in newspapers.

What makes a story interesting or significant can vary across different societies. For instance, a man’s marriage might be more significant in one society than in another, and what constitutes the death of an animal can differ widely between cultures. The significance of an event also depends on the degree to which it is unexpected, or its magnitude.

While the news media’s responsibility is to inform and educate their audience, they also have a duty to provide balance. This means that they should be fair and impartial when reporting on political events and should present views from a range of different perspectives.

In addition to their editorial role, news media have a commercial responsibility. They must be able to make a profit so that they can continue to publish and operate. This is important for maintaining a free press and the public’s trust in journalism.

As well as being fair and objective, news media must be accurate. This includes sourcing and verification of facts, checking facts with multiple sources, not making up or distorting the truth and not publishing rumours. If news media are inaccurate, they can cause damage to their audience’s confidence in the news industry and to public perception of journalists and journalism generally.

In order to produce accurate and trustworthy news, journalists should be familiar with the rules of ethical journalism as laid down by the Society of Professional Journalists. They should also be aware of the laws of copyright, which protect the integrity and reputation of journalists and the work they produce.