News is information about current events and developments that occur locally, nationally and internationally. The main function of News is to inform the public about what is happening around them so they are aware and up-to-date with what is going on in their communities, countries and the world. It also serves as a platform for educating and explaining issues and topics in an accessible way to a wider audience.
The News is most often broadcast on television and radio but it can also be read in newspapers and magazines, and viewed online. Regardless of the medium or the format, there are some basic characteristics of News that apply to all.
Timeliness: The fact that something is happening right now or has recently happened, is one of the key characteristics of News. This is why it is important to always consider the timeliness of your news story as you write.
Drama: A news story is considered dramatic if it has a sense of urgency and impact. It can be about a natural disaster, a car accident or a political scandal but it must be something that will arouse the interest of your readers/listeners/viewers.
Consequence: A news story will be considered to have a high consequence if it affects large numbers of people or if there is a significant loss, such as money or lives.
Entertainment: Although it is not the primary purpose of News, it can be used to entertain – for example by writing funny stories or doing cartoons. This does not mean that all news stories should be purely entertaining but it is important to include elements of humour whenever possible.