What Is News?


News is information provided through a variety of media. It may be delivered in text form, broadcast or through the testimony of witnesses and observers. It is a vital means of communication and can help people to understand the world around them.

Usefulness: A news story can inform people about weather forecasts, train timings and government policies. It can also help them enquire about issues and concerns they have.

Education: A news story can help people to learn about the latest developments in their area, including new legislation, new businesses and a wide range of social issues. It can also provide background information about a specific issue, such as a crime or disaster.

The Power Elite: Stories concerning powerful individuals, organisations, institutions or corporations are of particular interest. They can be revealing, especially when they lose their power or are involved in scandal.

Money: Many people are interested in the fortunes of famous men and women, school fees, taxes, food prices, wage rises, economic crises and compensation claims. They are also interested in stories about crime, such as corruption or rape, and in stories about how money is spent.

Magnitude: Stories perceived as sufficiently significant in the large numbers of people involved, or in their potential impact, or involving a degree of extreme behaviour or extreme occurrence, such as a man dying in an oven.

Relevance: Stories about groups or nations that the audience perceives to be influential with them, or culturally or historically familiar to them.

Drama: Stories of an unfolding drama, such as escapes, accidents, searches, sieges, rescues, battles or court cases. They are often accompanied by dramatic photographs and witty headlines or lists.

Entertainment: Soft stories concerning sex, showbusiness, sport, lighter human interest or animals, or offering opportunities for humorous treatment, witty headlines or lists.

Surprise: Stories containing an element of surprise and/or contrast, such as the appearance of a dead body or an unsolved mystery.

Magnitude and relevance are important aspects of the selection process for news, and these can be influenced by journalists’ internal systems of values. These include a system of prejudices that they internalize about the cultural and historical experiences that are relevant to their audiences, as well as their quasi-objective news judgments (the way in which journalists assess the quality of a news story).

Familiarity: The more familiar an event is, the more likely it is to be given coverage. This is because it has already affected the readers’ lives in some way.

Proximity: The proximity of an event to a reader’s home or work can influence their opinions.

This is especially the case when it is an unusual event. It could be a new development or a natural disaster, such as a flood or earthquake.

The most interesting news stories are those that involve violence or scandal. They are also the most entertaining and attention-grabbing.

News is an essential part of any society and can be useful or harmful depending on how it is used. However, it can be dangerous to rely on it too much. In order to protect ourselves, we need to know how news is selected and what factors influence it.