What Is News?

News is information about current events, usually relayed in the form of articles in newspapers, magazines or radio shows. It is also commonly found in the form of video broadcasts on television or on the internet. News can be both positive or negative, but it should always be factual and informative. Most journalists avoid expressing their personal opinions in their news reports, instead allowing the information to speak for itself.

The word news derives from an ancient Latin verb meaning “to tell”. Throughout history, the transmission of new information has been greatly facilitated by technological and social developments. In early times, the news could only travel slowly through word-of-mouth or written documents such as letters and books. Today, however, the speed at which information can be transmitted has increased tremendously through electronic means, including satellite communication and cellular phone networks.

In order to be considered newsworthy, an event or story must meet certain criteria, known as the Five Ws: who, what, when, where and why. The newsworthiness of an item can also be influenced by whether it is significant or unusual, and whether it has the potential to affect people’s lives. For example, a rumor that the Pope is going to ordain women priests will not be considered newsworthy in many societies, but a story about a rat infestation at a local food processing plant is likely to be of interest to most readers.

It is important to consider the audience when writing news, as this will influence the tone of the article and the way it is presented. Generally, most news is geared toward a particular demographic, such as those in a particular town or city, or those who subscribe to a particular newspaper or magazine. Sometimes this demographic can be narrowed down further based on the subject of the news article, such as if it is about zoning laws in a commercial area.

While the function of news is to inform, it is also often intended to entertain. This can be done through the use of humour, but it is also possible to entertain with serious news stories by making them interesting or by using the right amount of drama and suspense.

A common criticism of the news media is that it is biased or political, but this is often unfounded. While it is true that some news outlets have a tendency to slant the content of their news stories, most have a system in place for judging which events are worthy of coverage. Those that are deemed most valuable typically have a strong impact, involve violence or scandal, or affect the public directly. Other factors such as timeliness and relevance are also taken into account.