What Is Newsworthy?

News is information about events which is of interest to people. It may be current, significant or of historical value, but it must also be true and unbiased. It should be presented in a way which will make it accessible to the audience. The quality of a piece of news is determined by its ability to capture the attention of the reader or listener. This is often achieved by having a headline which is catchy and informative, or by writing the story in such a way that it immediately draws the reader into the article.

People are interested in things which they perceive as important, but what is considered “important” varies from one society to another. For example, in one culture a man biting a dog is not news, but in another it might be. It is important that the writer of a news story is aware of the cultural context in which the event is happening, so that he or she can judge what is newsworthy.

The classic test of whether something is newsworthy is that it is “unusual”. For example, a bug living on a plant which it did not previously inhabit may be interesting to scientists, but it would not make the news in general. However, if that insect is destroying crops and thus is of concern to the food supply, it becomes newsworthy.

Crime: All societies are interested in stories about crime, but some crimes are more significant than others. For example, road traffic offences, robbery and murder are all major news items. More minor news items are petty theft, forgery and shoplifting. People are also interested in celebrity news, such as the personal lives of famous people. This is especially true if the person in question makes or loses money, becomes ill or is involved in scandal.

Many people get their news from a variety of sources, such as television, radio and newspapers. The number of sources is increasing rapidly, and people are able to receive a great deal more news than they could in the past. This means that journalists need to be more selective about what they publish, and to give priority to the most newsworthy stories. The way that they do this is to assess each piece of news for how important it is, how unusual it is and how significant it is. The most important news will be given top billing in a bulletin or on Page One of a newspaper, and the least important news will be buried elsewhere or on an inside page. Similarly, on a radio or TV news show, the most important information will be repeated several times. This is because viewers and listeners tend to remember the most important information first, even if it is only repeated once. This is known as the “selective retention” effect. This can lead to a perception that the media is biased in its coverage of certain events, and it is important for people to understand how news is evaluated by journalists.