News is the brief, often breaking account of an interesting, significant or important event or development. It can take the form of a news item, a feature article or a photo story.
The purpose of News is to inform and educate the reader, listener or viewer. It can also be entertaining but the entertainment should come from other areas – music and drama on radio, crosswords and cartoons in newspapers.
Typically, news is reported by professional journalists but it can be written or compiled by citizens as well. Regardless of who writes the News, the basic elements should be present:
Exclusivity: Stories generated by, or first made available to, the news organization – including letters, investigations, interviews and surveys.
Bad news: Stories with particularly negative overtones – including disputes, arguments, splits, strikes and warfare.
Conflict: Stories with an element of surprise, contrast or the unusual.
Almost every society has developed an interest in News and it is an essential part of the human communication process. The speed of information has increased along with the technological and social developments that have facilitated its spread. It is now possible for anyone with a computer and an Internet connection to transport News worldwide in a matter of seconds. It is important that News is accurate and unbiased but it is equally important that it is presented in an accessible way. For example, a news item about a terrorist attack must be reported in an understandable and sensitive manner.