How to Write Good News

News is a collection of current and interesting events, obtained from every moment and everywhere and presented in an objective manner. It is the duty of all the media – newspapers, radio, television and the Internet – to convey these events to their audience as quickly and accurately as possible.

News should be entertaining but it must never forget its primary purpose – to inform. Entertainment should come from other sources – music and drama on the radio; cartoons, crosswords and chess puzzles in newspapers and magazines.

A story should be new, unusual, interesting, significant and about people. If a subject meets all of these criteria it is likely to be very good news. If it does not, then the news may be of less interest and it is unlikely to attract readers. A story which is very old and has already been reported by other outlets cannot possibly be news, although it may still be of interest to some groups and individuals.

In most societies it is not uncommon for the same thing to be considered news in different places. It is important for a journalist to realise that what is newsworthy in one society can be completely uninteresting in another, even though it may have a high degree of significance. For example, a man biting his dog is likely to be a very important event in a Western society but it will be unimportant in a village in India where dogs are eaten at feasts.

The amount of information available is growing exponentially, but it’s important to be selective about what you consume. You don’t want to be inundated with information, which is why it is often a good idea to sign up for a few quality newsletters. These will give you a quick hit of the day’s top stories without over-saturating your feed. There are a number of good options out there, including VOX, Refinery29, The Skimm, Flare’s Explainer series and Maclean’s.

Identifying people in news articles is a challenge for journalists and can be controversial. It is important to make sure that the identity of a person is only revealed when it is relevant, and that full names are used rather than just initials. It is also important to avoid jarring the reader with sudden switches in person.

News articles should be concise and clear. If you include too much detail, readers will lose interest. Also, it is often useful to write the piece in the third person. This will help the tone feel more authoritative and objective. A writer should always check that the article is factually accurate, but they shouldn’t spend too long chasing down obscure references. It is also a good idea to run the piece through workflow before it is published. This can prevent accidental errors from being overlooked by the production staff. It can also save time by allowing the writer to rewrite the piece, removing unnecessary words. This is a good opportunity to use online tools for spelling and grammar checking.