News is information about things that happen in the world. It is reported in newspapers, radio, television and the Internet. It is generally considered that the purpose of news is to inform and educate its readers, listeners or viewers. However, it can also provide entertainment – music and drama programmes on the radio and cartoons or crosswords in newspapers for example.
The content of news is decided by people who work for the newspaper, radio, TV or Internet news organisation – they are called editors, news directors or even news managers. They sift through recommendations from reporters, assistant editors and others within their organization and make the final decisions about what is newsworthy. They are also known as gatekeepers.
Most of the time, the news you hear, see or read is about something that has recently happened or is currently happening. This is why it is often called current news. There is very little news about something that happened 10 years ago, unless it is to commemorate an event or anniversary.
In order to be newsworthy, an event or situation needs to have some sort of drama associated with it. This can include things like accidents, fires, murders or political unrest. It could also be a disaster such as floods, earthquakes or tsunamis. Money and business stories are also common in the news – fortunes made or lost, tax rises and cuts, corporate takeovers, compensation claims and salary increases.
Having a clear understanding of what makes news is important for anyone who works in the media or regularly reads, watches or listens to the news as an audience member. Some of the key characteristics of news are timeliness, drama, consequence and proximity.