News is the information about current events that the media disseminates to the public. It may be about politics, crime, business, education, health, the environment or sports. The aim is to inform and entertain in equal measure. The media has a significant influence on the way in which people perceive the world and can have a direct impact on people’s lives.
The main sources for News are journalists, government officials and interest groups. Journalists must have a variety of skills to identify and understand what is newsworthy, gather the facts efficiently and write concise and compelling accounts, sometimes at breakneck speed. The readings, discussions, exercises and assignments in this course will help students develop these skills to become tomorrow’s journalists.
In the past, people got their News from newspapers and radio. Now, with the advent of television and the Internet, people have many more options for consuming News. For example, people can subscribe to a news aggregator website that provides them with a daily summary of important stories. They can also follow news outlets that focus on a particular topic on social media. Getting your News from a variety of sources can be helpful because it allows you to compare different perspectives on a story.
What makes a story newsworthy depends on the audience’s perception of it. For instance, a man waking up, eating breakfast and going to work on the bus does not make news because it is an ordinary, everyday occurrence. However, if the same man was to fall off the bus and be killed, that would be newsworthy because it is unusual.
The societal importance of an event can also make it newsworthy. For instance, a war, the death of a prominent figure, or an accident that causes widespread damage or injury are all likely to be reported in the News.
Other factors that determine whether a story is Newsworthy include the degree to which it is novel, the significance of the events involved, the scale and scope of the occurrence and the extent to which it impacts individuals or communities. The ability to generate interest in a subject is another key factor in making something Newsworthy.
While market research has a role to play in deciding what is Newsworthy, it is ultimately up to journalists to decide which subjects deserve attention and what angle on them to take. Some people have argued that this has resulted in News being biased towards sensationalism and falsehood, but others have defended it as an effective way of getting information to the masses.