News is any item of current interest that can be communicated to a wide audience. It can be a simple piece on an event or something of a more political nature such as a government decision that affects people. It can also be something as mundane as a weather forecast or the outcome of a sporting event.
Writing a good news article requires extensive research into the topic. Often the basic facts of an incident are enough to create a headline but it is important to add the human element by quoting from people who were involved. Including their thoughts and feelings can help to convey the emotion of an event to readers.
A good lead paragraph will immediately capture the attention of readers and maintain it by presenting the key points of the story. It should include what journalists call the “five Ws”; who, what, where, when and why. It is then necessary to build upon these facts and to source any additional information. This can be done by contacting people involved or by searching online.
The classic definition of a news story is that it must be new, unusual, interesting, significant and about people. This is a fine standard but it is not without its problems. For example, a coup in the next country over is likely to be newsworthy but one in the next town will probably not. The same applies to unusualness – what is considered unusual in one society may be commonplace in another.
News should not be used to promote a particular view or bias. A neutral approach to an issue is usually more effective and gives the reader the opportunity to form their own opinion. However, some publications do use language to sway the sentiment of their articles and this can be viewed as biased.
Whether writing for print or for the web, it is vital to place the most important news items above the fold. This refers to the crease in a newspaper page but it is equally as important when writing for the internet. It is estimated that only a small percentage of readers reach the end of a news item so placing the most important information first will encourage them to continue reading.
The main purpose of a news article is to inform readers of current events that might affect them directly or indirectly. This can be at an international, governmental, regional or local level. Keeping abreast of these developments is important for business owners and managers to ensure that they are aware of any issues that could impact their operations. They should be able to identify any potential risk and have a plan in place to deal with it before it escalates. This should include an appropriate response to any negative publicity. Increasingly, businesses are using their websites to promote their own news stories. This can be a very effective way to get the word out about a new product or service.