What Is News?

News is what happens in the world that affects people and events. It is based on information that has been painstakingly gathered, verified and checked again. It is often a work in progress, as events are constantly changing. People who write news must decide which parts of a story are most important, which sources are the most reliable and which are likely to have an impact on the audience.

The way news is presented can also be an important factor in attracting and holding reader attention. Hard news grabs readers and takes up most of the space on the front page of a newspaper or web site and is usually featured at the beginning of a TV or radio broadcast. It can be something like a political coup, a natural disaster or an accident that results in many deaths. It is a story that is new, unusual, interesting, significant and about people.

Soft news is less exciting and dramatic, but can still have an impact on the audience. It might be a piece about a celebrity or the discovery of an ancient treasure. It is usually more readable when it is written in the first person and can be more engaging if it includes quotes from people who have experienced the event. Soft news can also include items that are controversial or make people angry, for example a story about a poll that shows a large percentage of the population supports a particular view on an issue.

Features are stories that have a wider angle and appeal, such as profiles of people or analysis of an issue. They might also be about a place or time period and the techniques experts use to understand it. For example, a story about the methods an art expert uses to identify a painting that may be a forgery is newsworthy.

The news cycle is faster today than ever before, thanks to the internet and 24-hour news stations. People can now see five times as much news as they did in 1986. This can be overwhelming and it can mean that they tune out news stories that might otherwise interest them. News writers must therefore be clear and concise. If they write in a way that is overly wordy or goes off on too many tangents, they risk turning off their audience.

Students can learn more about what makes a news story by studying the history of journalism and reading books by journalists. They can also look at the different types of media available, including online and social media. They should consider how these platforms can influence the news they receive and think about their own filter bubbles, especially when it comes to search engine results. They can also explore the pitfalls of fake news and hoaxes, as well as how to challenge confirmation bias in order to be a more informed citizen. In addition, they can study the ways that news is used in politics and government and how that might influence the types of news stories that are published.

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