News is any information about a recent event. It is usually reported by the media in order to inform and educate the public. It can also be used to influence the public’s opinion and political decisions. News is a key part of any democratic society.
What is considered news is largely determined by the audience’s interests and concerns. For example, if there is a large number of people interested in a particular topic it may be a good idea to create a news article about it. This will ensure that the information is being received by the right people and is being interpreted correctly.
It is important to remember that the main function of news is to inform and educate, not entertain. Entertainment should come from other areas – music and drama on radio and television; crossword puzzles and cartoons in newspapers. If a story has an element of humour it may be worth including, but the purpose of news is to tell people what is happening.
News can take many forms, from weather forecasts to celebrity gossip. However, there are some things that are always deemed to be newsworthy. For example, crimes are always newsworthy. They can be road traffic offences, burglaries, robberies or even murders. But not all crimes are equal and some are more significant than others. Money is another big factor in deciding what is newsworthy. For example, if a person becomes a millionaire this is newsworthy but if someone loses a lot of money this is not.
The most important thing to remember when writing a piece of news is that it should be factually correct, but not boring. People will not read or share dull news. Instead, they will want to be informed and entertained. For example, a story about a celebrity break up or marriage will attract a much larger audience than a story about an earthquake or the death of an ordinary person.
Almost every event that happens is newsworthy at some time or other, but the real problem is to decide how important it is and what sort of coverage it deserves. The most important events are given top billing in a news bulletin or on Page One of a newspaper; lesser news is put somewhere else and sometimes is not printed at all. Journalists must acquire skills to identify a news story and its essential elements, gather it efficiently, place it in a meaningful context and write concisely and clearly. These skills are developed through readings, discussions and exercises.
Most people know what to look out for when it comes to news but not everyone knows how to write an interesting story about it. For this reason it is vital to know what makes an interesting piece of news so that you can share it on social media without clogging up people’s feeds with irrelevant information. This course introduces tomorrow’s journalists to the fundamentals of covering and writing news. It teaches students how to identify the most important details, how to write snappy headlines and how to construct and write an engaging news story at pace.