What Makes News?


News is a source of information about current events, happenings or issues that affect people locally, nationally and internationally. It can be used for educational purposes to teach the public about different things like weather forecasts, train timings etc. It also serves as a tool to inform the public of government policies, and can be useful for educating people about complicated subjects such as politics, economics and culture.

What makes news is not just what happens, but how interesting or significant it is to the people who see the story and are the intended audience of the news item. This is why it is important to know your audience when writing news stories, as this will dictate the tone and voice of the article, what facts to include and what the key points should be.

A good way to decide how newsworthy a story is, is to look at the five criteria that Galtung and Ruge suggest for what makes news: newness, unusualness, significance, impact and people (although the latter includes ‘celebrity’). If a story meets all or most of these, it will probably make for very interesting reading.

However, what is newsworthy in one society may not be newsworthy in another. The reason is that what is significant and interesting to one group of people may not be important or even of interest to others. Consequently, different societies will have their own distinct news values, which can be reflected in the content of their media.

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