What Is News?

News is information about current events. It may be about war, politics, the environment, the economy, education, health, business, entertainment or sports. It can also be about people, famous or not, and their behaviour. It is a form of communication that informs, but it should not be propaganda. It is an instrument that can teach and illuminate, but it can only do so if humans are determined to use it to those ends.

It should be brief so that people will read it, clear so that they can understand it, picturesque so that they will remember it and accurate so that they will be guided by it. The way to do this is to follow the inverted pyramid model. Put the most important facts at the top, and then add more detail in subsequent paragraphs. This allows people who only read the headlines to receive a substantial amount of information, and gives those who read the whole story a deeper understanding.

News should be based on the fact that people care about what happens to them, their friends and their families. Stories involving people, celebrity, fashion, food and drink are all popular. Politics, government and military affairs are often newsworthy because they affect people’s daily lives. Natural disasters, such as earthquakes or hurricanes, are frequently newsworthy too. Sex is of interest in all societies, especially when it involves behaviour outside of society’s generally accepted norms. Celebrity, humour, irony or the chance of a surprise all make for compelling news.