News is the information we get from newspapers, magazines, radio and television. The information we receive in these media is usually a mix of facts, opinions and entertainment.
The main purpose of news is to inform, educate and entertain readers, listeners or viewers. The entertainment can come from other sources – music and drama programs on radio; cartoons and crossword puzzles in newspapers.
In order to write a news story that will make a difference, you need to know your subject thoroughly and be able to explain it in a simple way. The key to this is research.
Weather: Events that affect people’s lives, such as cyclones, bush fires, droughts, earthquakes or volcanic eruptions are likely to be of interest. Shortages and gluts, crop diseases and harvest sizes, prices of food in the market or the launch of a new brand of beer all make good stories.
Crime: Any crime can be news, but more serious or unusual crimes are generally bigger stories. School fees, taxes, money made or lost, wage rises and economic crises are all topics of news, too.
People: The things that people do to change the world and the things they do for others are all important subjects of news. The little girl who gives ten cents to a charity event is more interesting than the businessman who gives $100.
The news is what happens to us when we are not looking for it and it is the job of journalists to tell us what happens. We use a number of criteria when deciding what to include as news, which are time, drama, consequence, proximity and narrative.