News is information about events, people and things that are important in a society. Typically, it is published in newspapers, broadcast on television and radio, or posted online. Some people also share their reactions to news stories by writing comments on social media.
To be considered news, something must be current, interesting and significant to a wide audience. A lot of things can happen in a day, and it is up to journalists to decide which are worth covering and how much attention to give them. Some of this decision making is based on market research, but the rest is often a matter of personal judgment.
Generally, news is about people, but it can be about non-human things too. Events like a fire, flood or earthquake may be big news but are not usually about people. If a famous person dies, then this is likely to make the news and will be reported in detail. However, news about everyday people – such as a firefighter saving a cat from a burning building – is more likely to be about the ordinary people involved.
Some events are of particular interest to people because they reflect something about their lives or the world in general. These are called “highly significant” events. For example, a major sporting event or a royal birth is highly significant because it affects the vast majority of people.
Other events are of interest because they provide insight into how a society works or how it is changing. Examples include:
Crime: a road traffic accident, burglary, rape, murder or corruption are newsworthy, but so are government investigations and police raids. Even small sums of money can be newsworthy if they involve someone who is not normally wealthy, such as a child who gives her last ten cents to a charity fund-raising appeal.
Weather: a change in the normal pattern of the weather – unusually hot or cold, snowy or windy – is newsworthy, as are droughts, cyclones and bush fires. The weather is also of interest when it affects agriculture or the economy.
Other factors which influence newsworthiness are: