What Makes News?


A news story is a first rough draft of history, catching readers’ attention to make them say, “Gee Whiz!” It should be brief so that people will read it, clear so that they can understand it, picturesquely so that they will remember it, and above all accurate so that they will be guided by it.

In some societies what is considered newsworthy may be different from another. But the basic questions remain the same – what is happening that is significant, who is involved and why does it matter?

Most journalists will tell you that a news story should be interesting to a large number of people. This is because it is the interest of many people that will ensure that the news will be spread and viewed.

It is also important to remember that the aim of news is to inform, not to entertain. Entertainment should come from other areas of the media – music and drama on radio and television, and cartoons and crosswords in newspapers.

Crime: Any crime can make news – road traffic offences, burglaries, robberies, forgery and murder. But some crimes are more interesting than others – such as a major drug raid or the discovery of a valuable treasure.

Money: People are interested in the fortunes made and lost by famous people, but they are even more concerned about their own financial situations. This is why stories about house prices, school fees, taxes, the Budget, food costs and compensation claims are often newsworthy.

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