What Makes News?

News is information about events that happen, often quickly. It can be about people, places, things or ideas. News reports usually come from a variety of sources, including:

It is important to note that the purpose of news (from newspapers, magazines, radio and television) is to inform and educate audiences, not to entertain them. Entertainment comes from other sources – music and drama programmes on radio, cartoons in newspapers, for example.

In order to make the decision about what to include in a news article, it is necessary to look at the criteria for newsworthiness that were identified by Galtung and Ruge (1965). These are: Magnitude – how significant the event is; Importance – the impact on individuals or society; Urgency – when does an event occur that warrants immediate attention; and Context – what other stories are already being reported on the same subject.

The other criteria that has been used by journalists to decide about what is newsworthy are: Interest – does the event appeal to the reader’s sense of curiosity, for example by being interesting, unusual or amusing; significance – does the event affect a large number of people or have a broad social impact; and relevance – does the event relate to issues, groups or nations that are perceived to be important to the audience.

These factors have been used to examine what makes news in a range of newspapers around the world. Increasingly, however, the role of the audience in selecting and disseminating news has been recognised. This is partly a result of the digital age, and the fact that audience recommendations can influence journalists’ news selection decisions (Tien Vu, 2015).

When writing a news story it is important to include all relevant details about the event that are significant in order to fully inform the reader about the event. This includes all relevant facts and information about what happened, when it happened, where it happened, who was involved, and why the event is newsworthy. It is also important to keep paragraphs short for readability and to write in the third person to avoid jarring the reader.

It is also important to write in a formal tone and to use only quotes from official or other authoritative sources. This will help readers to feel that the information you are reporting on is credible and reliable. It is also a good idea to avoid any personal opinion in your news report, as this can confuse or irritate the reader. This can be a difficult balance to achieve, as it is vital for news to be factual. However, it is also important for news to be entertaining and interesting so that audiences will want to read or watch it. For this reason, it can be useful to include humour in your news articles where possible. For example, a story about a celebrity’s wedding or death can be made more entertaining by using a light-hearted treatment or a witty headline.