What is News?

News is information that has been gathered about events, situations, people and things that are current or of interest. It may be broadcast on television, printed in newspapers or posted online. It may also be verbally reported – from a radio announcer or yelled across the classroom. News is important because it helps us stay informed about the world around us. It helps us make decisions about our lives and how we should live them.

The classic definition of news is that it should be “unusual” or “interesting”. But what is unusual in one society may not be unusual in another. Also, what is interesting in a newspaper may not be interesting to the reader. So how do we know if something is news?

In the past, the selection of news was mainly the responsibility of the journalists. But as the media industry has changed, so too has the way that news is selected and disseminated. It is now increasingly the role of the audience to select and disseminate stories through social media sharing and recommendations (Phillips 2012).

This has made a difference in the way that news is presented and what it is about. Typically, the most popular stories are those that have an element of surprise, contrast or the unusual about them and which can be illustrated by arresting photographs and video. Bad news has always been a significant factor in the news value rankings (deaths, disasters, breakdowns, defeats and the like). Entertainment and celebrity are significant in red-top and tabloid newspapers, although not as much of a priority in broadsheet and quality press titles.