What Is News?


News is any item of interest to a community which has not previously been publicized. Usually, it must be new, unusual or significant. It should also be able to be told quickly and clearly, in an attractive way. In addition, it is better to report news about people than about things.

The news media can be a powerful instrument of change, but only if it is used for the right purposes. It can teach, it can enlighten; it can influence people, but only if the facts are presented fairly and honestly.

Choosing what to print is an important judgment for journalists. A large number of events occur every day, but most are not worth reporting. Those that are of most interest should be given prominence in the headline and on Page One. Less important items should be relegated to the inside pages.

To decide what is newsworthy, the first step is to identify all the significant events that have taken place in a locality or group of towns or communities in the last week or so. Then, the next step is to evaluate each of these events in terms of their importance and their interest or entertainment value.

The final step is to determine which of these events will have the greatest impact on people. This will inevitably involve making subjective decisions. To avoid bias, the journalists should be well informed, and their sources must be reliable and credible. All information should be credited, with names and addresses given where necessary. This is the only way that journalists can be held accountable for their statements and opinions.