News is information about events that have happened or are about to happen. It was once transmitted only through newspapers but is now available through a variety of other sources, such as radio, television, the Internet and even through our gadgets such as mobile phones and digital watches.
Whether news is current, aggregated or historical, it has to meet certain criteria to be considered newsworthy. A story must be new, unusual, interesting and significant. It must also contain facts that are verifiable and credible. In addition, the story must be able to engage and keep the reader interested. It is also important that the story is not a repetition of something that has already been widely reported.
When deciding what is newsworthy journalists and news outlets make judgments based on a complex mix of subjective and objective factors. Subjective influences include social, educational and ideological beliefs and values. These may be influenced by the type of audience that is being targeted by the news source. Objective factors include practical considerations, the availability of resources and time. A journalist’s own agenda may also influence the selection of stories. In one study, the authors of a journal article found that 63% of news stories were initiated by government officials. Interest group figures made up 14% of the news and commercial organisations accounted for just over 10%.
Many things happen every day that do not make the news. For example, a man waking up, eating breakfast and going to work on the bus are not very interesting. However, if that same man is being arrested by the police then the story might become newsworthy. Unusual events and stories are usually newsworthy.
Magnitude is another factor that may affect the decision about what is newsworthy. Larger events and occurrences are usually more newsworthy than smaller ones, and those that are potentially impactful on large numbers of people will be of greater significance. Other factors that may contribute to the determination of what is newsworthy are surprise, contrast, good versus bad news and exclusivity (the fact that something has not previously been reported).
In addition, some news sources specialise in different types of news. For example, some focus on celebrity gossip and others on political events. Other sources specialise in particular sectors of the economy or society. For example, there are specialist financial news sources and sports news sources.
As well as traditional news sources, blogs, opinion sections of magazines and radio and TV talk shows are a useful source of information about the world around us. These can also be used as a supplement to scholarly sources such as books and journal articles. In addition, it is worth setting up Google alerts on subjects that are of interest to you. This will send you an email whenever there is a new news story about the topic. This is a great way to stay up-to-date without having to spend time searching for new information.