What Is Newsworthy?

News is a report of current events in newspapers, magazines, radio and television. It can be controversial, alarming or entertaining. It is usually factual, although opinions and interpretations may also be included. The aim of a good news story is to engage the reader and make them want to find out more about a topic or issue. It is the duty of the journalist to present all sides of a story without bias. A well-balanced and accurate news article will empower readers to make informed decisions about the world around them.

Whether something is newsworthy depends on the impact, proximity, prominence, controversy and worth of the event or development. This is known as the “news value” or “newsworthiness.” There are a number of criteria which journalists use to decide which stories should be given priority in a newspaper, magazine, broadcast or on a website. The most significant developments are “hard news.” These will be placed at the top of a page or bulletin, or given the most prominent coverage. They may be political, war-related, business, crime or a natural disaster.

The next category is soft news or a feature. These are human-interest stories about people or the way that they do things. They are usually not as important or urgent as hard news, but they will be of interest to a significant proportion of the audience. Examples of soft news would include a celebrity’s doings, new medical discoveries or the latest fashion trends. Often, these stories will begin with an anecdote to capture the attention of the reader.

Other factors influencing newsworthiness include:

What is newsworthy is determined by the public, and it is for this reason that democratic societies depend on the free press to keep them informed. This is especially true in an age when so much of our communication takes place via the mass media.

Many of the key issues that people care about can be found in the news, from war and politics to education and health. The information that is reported can have a direct effect on people’s lives.

The purpose of the news media – in newspapers, magazines, radio and TV – is to inform its audience about events that affect them directly or indirectly. It is not the job of the media to entertain its audience, however, and entertainment should come from other sources, such as music and drama programmes on radio and television or crosswords in newspapers and magazines. In some countries, state-owned news outlets such as China Central Television and Iran’s Press TV play a vital role in informing their audiences. In other countries, private news channels and websites have become increasingly influential. The internet has greatly increased the speed and scope of communication, as well as giving rise to social media which can be used to share information. This can be countered by the proliferation of “fake news” and other disinformation, however. This has led to a need for greater scrutiny of the source and the veracity of what is published on the news agenda.