News is the information published by media outlets such as newspapers, magazines, radio and television. It is reported to inform, educate and entertain audiences. It can include current affairs, politics, business, fashion, entertainment and sport as well as quirky or unusual events.
The main aim of a news story is to inform, and it must be accurate. A news article should be brief and to the point, with a clear focus. It is important to keep in mind that readers want facts and not opinions, but that does not mean that they do not appreciate a bit of humour or a touch of interest.
Many people like to read about famous people – what they do, where they go and who they are dating. This is especially true if these people are involved in scandal or controversy. Ordinary or routine activities, however, do not make news. For example, a man waking up, eating breakfast and catching the bus to work is not interesting, but his wife’s cancer diagnosis may be.
Other topics that make news include war, government, politics, education, health and the environment as well as celebrity, sport and business. People are also interested in weather, earthquakes and natural disasters. Government proclamations concerning royal ceremonies, laws and taxes are of great interest to the public as well as the actions of criminals.
Some societies are more interested in certain topics than others, but the basic elements of a news story remain the same. For example, all societies are interested in sex even if they do not talk about it openly. Sex stories often involve behaviour that is unusual or goes against the community’s generally accepted standards.
Crime is always of interest to the public, and this can be anything from a road traffic offence to terrorism, forgery or murder. The larger the sum of money involved, the more likely a crime will be to be newsworthy. In addition, if a crime is particularly brutal or unusual, it will be more likely to be featured in the news.
Food and drink are also of interest to the public, especially if it is related to shortages, gluts or price rises. People are also interested in stories about agriculture, the weather and food processing.
It is important for writers of news articles to have their work checked before publication. Editors can spot spelling and grammatical errors, help to clarify awkward sentences and provide additional information to round out the story. It is also a good idea to let another person read the finished article – an extra pair of eyes can be invaluable. Finally, it is a good idea to write the headline first, preferably using Associated Press guidelines unless your publication specifies otherwise. This will serve as a preview for readers and will help them decide whether or not to read the article. It is also an excellent place to state your opinion if you are writing an opinion piece.