What Is News?


A good definition of News is “factual report of an event which is fresh, unusual and interesting.” It is the job of a journalist to find out what happens and report it. Objectivity is essential in the report, that is the reporter must not add anything from his imagination. This is the only way to give credibility to the news.

A news article should contain all the important facts in a short and clear manner. It should have a snappy headline to catch the attention of the readers and the byline of the writer. A newspaper may also include a table of contents to show the sequence of events in an orderly manner. It is essential to include all the vital information in the first paragraph so that the reader gets satisfied. The rest of the articles should be informative and descriptive. It is also essential to follow the main points with additional information such as contact details, further facts, quotes from interviews and other sources to enrich the news article.

When an event becomes newsworthy, journalists make a number of judgments in choosing which aspect of it to report. They decide whether it is of sufficient public interest to justify the time and effort involved in researching and preparing the story. Generally speaking, the bigger the event the more likely it will be reported. Similarly, a story which is likely to generate a lot of controversy will probably get much greater coverage than an event which does not.

The process of judging newsworthiness is not clearly defined but some theories offer guidance. For example, it has been suggested that a story is newsworthy if it involves an unexpected or unexplained event; if it is sensational and makes people feel angry, sad, or excited; or if it relates to an individual’s personal life.

Another important factor in deciding what is newsworthy is the relative importance of different types of events in each society. This is why the same event will not be reported in exactly the same way in all societies, for example a farm wall collapsing and killing a cow and a pig, whereas a car killing a cow would be considered to be of greater significance than a car killing a pig. The relative importance of events can be reflected in the way they are ranked by a society, for example, by its moral or religious values.