News is information about events which affect people in some way. It can be about war, government, politics, education, health and the economy. It can also be about entertainment, sport and fashion. In addition, it can include anything unusual or strange. News can be reported by many different sources, including newspapers, radio and television. It can also be spread by word of mouth. The main job of news is to inform and educate its readers, listeners or viewers. It can also be used to entertain them, but this should not be the primary function of news. This can be done through music and drama programs on the radio, or cartoons and crossword puzzles in newspapers.
There are many things that can be considered as news, and the exact nature of news varies from society to society. For example, a man walking to work may not be newsworthy in one society, but might be in another. Similarly, an insect living on a plant which it had not previously inhabited might be regarded as important in one society, but as commonplace in another.
The first thing to remember when writing a news story is that it should be current. It doesn’t do a newspaper much good to report on something that happened last week – people will already have heard about it. It is also better to report on events which are ‘unusual’ or’significant’, rather than simply describing what happens every day.
If possible, try to use the active tense in news stories (rather than the passive tense). This is faster and makes the story sound more exciting. For example, “Arsenal were beaten by Manchester United last night” is more exciting and engaging than “Manchester United beat Arsenal”.
When reporting on an event which has caused a reaction from the public it is often useful to include quotes from people who have a view on the issue. This can add an extra dimension to the article, and it is particularly effective if you include the name, occupation and age of the person being quoted. It is also important to make sure that you only quote someone who has a genuine opinion on the topic.
A well-written news story will have a clear structure. The traditional introductory paragraph, known as the inverted pyramid, serves two purposes: to engage the reader instantly, and to summarise what the story is all about. It is also helpful to include an expert on the subject in the first paragraph if possible, and to give details of how the information in the story was gathered or compiled.
It is not the job of news to entertain, but it should be entertaining when it is necessary or appropriate. For instance, a story about a famous person is likely to generate interest if that person has acted in an unusual or controversial way. It is also possible to be entertaining with a news story by including humour or satire.