What Makes Newsworthy?

News is information about current events or developments that is broadcast to a large audience. It is often reported in newspapers, magazines, radio and television and it can also be found online. News is one of the key aspects that help maintain a democracy, as it helps keep citizens informed and allows for debate about important issues that can influence people’s lives.

Although it has been common in the past for only trained journalists to supply and report news, now with the development of the Internet and other media technologies, all of us can act as suppliers and reporters of our own experiences and opinions about news stories. While many different factors determine what makes a news story, there are some basic characteristics that are understood by all those who either work in the news business or who regularly read/watch/listen to news as audience members. These include timeliness, drama, consequence and proximity.

Most news stories are dramatic, or contain a clear division between good and bad. This is because it’s human nature to be drawn to stories that we can identify with, that are exciting or that involve conflict or tension. This is why it is not uncommon for people to miss a bus on their way to school and then end up walking the whole route, or to hear about an earthquake that occurred in a remote area that did not cause significant property damage or loss of life.

The impact of the event or development is another important factor in determining whether something will be considered newsworthy. The more impact a story has, the more likely it is to be included in a newspaper, magazine or at the beginning of a television or radio program. Generally, it is more impactful for the news to be current, rather than old or yesterday’s news.

Proximity to the viewer or reader is a factor as well. People tend to want to know about things that happen close to them, or at least that they can understand as being a part of their own local community. This is why it’s not unusual for a local grocery store robbery to make the news, but a fire in a distant city would not.

Celebrities, famous places or activities are often considered to be newsworthy as well. This is because of the interest and attention that they draw, as well as the fact that it can introduce audiences to a brand or product that they might not otherwise be aware of. This kind of news is often described as soft news or entertainment news and is usually not referred to as hard news. In-depth news pieces are sometimes called feature news and can be considered to be harder than regular news reporting. In-depth news features usually take a single topic and research it heavily, in order to provide readers with greater understanding of that particular subject.

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