News is a story about something important which has happened or is happening. It should be factual, and should be interesting. It should also be balanced, with both sides of an argument being presented. It should also be written in a way which is easy to read and understood.
News stories are usually written for a particular audience or demographic. This may be based on location, for example a newspaper article about zoning laws in Kansas City would have a different readership to an article about a new store opening in the same city. It may be based on the nature of the article, for example a human interest story about a celebrity will have a different readership to a political analysis of the same celebrity.
There are many things which could be considered news, but which do not necessarily make the cut in a daily paper or on a news broadcast. A man waking up, eating his breakfast and going to work on the bus each day does not make news; it is ordinary and everyday. It is only when an unusual event happens that it becomes newsworthy. For example, if scientists discover that an insect has started living on a plant it previously did not inhabit that the event becomes newsworthy.
Generally, a good news story will have a catchy headline to attract attention. It will then go on to report the facts of the case, in order of importance. This is called the Five Ws – who, what, when, where and why. The facts should be reported as closely as possible, avoiding the temptation to embellish or dramatise them.
A news story should be sourced, with the names of those who are giving information included where possible. This includes primary sources, which are those who have first hand knowledge of the events, and secondary sources, which include experts in the field. The article should also consider the wider context of the story, which might be political, social or economic in nature.
Most news is automatically about people, because of the things which humans do to change the world around them – war, crime, traffic accidents, natural disasters and so on. But the news about non-humans can also be very significant, for example a cyclone, a bush fire or an earthquake.