What Makes News?

A news article is a short piece of newspaper, magazine or online writing about events that are current and have the potential to affect or interest readers. It is often based on first-hand information, but can also draw upon research and the opinions of people involved or affected by an event. Typically, it is written in a journalistic style and published on a regular basis (daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly etc.).

A well written piece of news should be informative, concise and accurate. It should also provide context, allowing the reader to understand the significance of an event. A good news article will be able to draw the reader in and leave them wanting more.

While the definition of what is newsworthy varies from society to society, most journalists agree that it needs to be new, unusual, interesting or significant in order to be newsworthy. It is sometimes useful to think of the newsworthiness of an event in terms of a pyramid, with the most important elements at the top and less-important elements at the bottom.

The classic criterion for what makes news is “dog bites man”. However, this is not entirely universal; a dog biting someone who doesn’t like dogs may still be considered a newsworthy event in some societies, but if the person was eating the dog, it might not be.

Crime: Any criminal event can be newsworthy, such as a car accident, burglary, robbery or murder – but crimes that are more serious, more unusual or have wider implications generally make bigger news stories. Money: Stories about fortunes made and lost, taxes, the Budget, school fees, wage rises or compensation claims are usually newsworthy.

The human angle: Stories concerning celebrity, showbusiness, a unfolding drama or the lives of animals are all likely to be newsworthy. These types of stories are often geared toward a specific audience and may have the potential for humorous treatment, entertaining photographs or witty headlines.

A quality news story should be factual, and include quotes from the people involved in the event. It should not contain any opinion or bias and should be unbiased enough for the reader to form their own view about an event. It is also important that the writer does not try to influence the reader’s opinion through word choice or tone, but rather lets the facts speak for themselves. Ideally, the author should also leave out the details that are irrelevant to the main news event or do not add value to the article. This helps the reader focus on what is most relevant to them. The last part of the article should be a strong closing sentence, which may either restate the leading statement, or indicate possible future developments that might follow from the story.