News is information about current events or about something that has recently changed. Historically, the main function of news has been to keep the public informed about what is happening locally and internationally. This is achieved through the use of traditional media such as newspapers, radio and television but also by the internet. News can be reported in a range of formats and on many different themes from the mundane (government proclamations concerning royal ceremonies, laws and taxes) to the bizarre (epoch-making inventions by Henry Ford).
The content of news often changes in response to the prevailing zeitgeist or the cultural context within which it is reported. The concept of ‘news’ is therefore somewhat subjective and has a strong influence on the ‘opinion’ of the public. This is reflected in the fact that, in addition to being an ‘informational’ medium, it is also often a political and ideological tool.
For example, in times of war, news is often a source of propaganda to spread a particular agenda. Similarly, in times of recession or economic turmoil, news may be used to create fear or anxiety among the population.
As a result of this, it is important to consider the audience when creating news. Depending on the type of news, this may be a broad group of people or a specific demographic. This is a major factor when creating news for an organisation, as it can significantly affect its reputation.
When creating a news story it is important to begin with a snappy headline that concisely informs readers about the topic and captures their attention. Then, using the inverted pyramid model as a guideline, begin to pool together the most important facts into ‘buckets’ that are ranked in order of importance. The most important facts should then be featured in the introduction of the news article, while less important facts are compiled into the body and, finally, the concluding paragraph which often includes a restatement of the main points of the news piece and any possible future developments.
Aside from the inverted pyramid model, news articles should be written in an engaging and interesting way that will entice the reader to continue reading. It is important that the news article contains enough facts so that readers are able to form an opinion, even if that opinion differs from the writer’s.
There are a number of different sources for news, some of which are more reliable than others. Choosing a news source that is unbiased will ensure that you receive the most accurate and up-to-date information. Some of the most reputable sources for news include online aggregators such as Google News and Yahoo News, which collect articles from various different outlets around the world and sort them according to relevance and importance using algorithms. Other sources of news include scholarly publications such as Proquest Academic or LexisNexis which contain news articles from a wide range of sources including newspapers, broadcast transcripts and wire services.