News is information about current events or developments. It is a key element of media communication and is reported in all forms of mass communication – newspapers, magazines, radio and television. It is also available on the Internet.
A good news article must provide a range of facts. It should include the who, what, when, where and how. It should be interesting and unusual, and it should be relevant. It is also important to include a sense of drama, suspense or curiosity. The more a story makes people talk and think, the more likely it is to make news.
Different societies have varying ideas of what makes news. For example, the fact that a farm wall collapses killing a cow but not a pig will be of more interest in one society than in another, where cattle and pigs are of equal importance. But there are some general rules that are generally accepted to define what is newsworthy.
Galtung and Ruge developed a matrix which includes the elements of relevance, topicality, composition, expectation, uniqueness and worth. Brighton and Foy have expanded upon these factors to consider the impact of changing times and new media, including social media.
It is important to understand that the main purpose of news media – whether it be print, radio, television or the Internet – is to educate and inform its readers, listeners or viewers. This does not mean that it has no entertainment value – music and drama on radio, cartoons in newspapers or a crossword puzzle on the TV all provide an element of entertainment.