What Is Newsworthy?

News is information about events or activities that affect people, places and/or things. In the context of journalism, it is typically reported in a fair and impartial manner. News stories may be either current or historical. They may also be written or broadcast, although they are often more widely published in newspapers and other media. News is important to society because it helps to inform citizens, making them aware of their surroundings and enabling them to make choices. It can also help to motivate or demotivate people, depending on the content.

Unlike other genres of writing, news must be factually correct and informative. However, it should also be interesting or people won’t want to read it. This requires a fine balance, and it is the skill of the journalist to be able to write interesting and accurate news.

Many different factors influence what is newsworthy, including proximity (does it affect me or my family?), controversy (does it cause conflict or tension?) and magnitude (how significant is the event or occurrence). In addition, some subjects are considered more newsworthy than others because they are perceived to be of greater importance. This includes governmental proclamations, royal ceremonies, laws, taxes, crime and health.

Other factors include the human interest angle, entertainment value, surprise and/or contrast, the impact on the environment or animals and/or a sense of drama or action. People who are famous or well-known are also often newsworthy, especially if they have a controversial background, have done something heroic or have been injured or ill. Other newsworthy subjects are sex, show business and animals, especially if they are atypical, unusual or offer a chance for humorous treatment or entertaining photographs.

Some events are not newsworthy, even if they have just happened. For example, if a man wakes up, eats breakfast and takes the bus to work, it is not newsworthy because these are ordinary and everyday occurrences. However, if an insect is found that could threaten the crops of a farmer it becomes newsworthy because it is a new and significant threat to human life.

Other elements that can make a story newsworthy are the sources of the information, whether they are scholarly or modern views on an historical topic and how unique the subject is (e.g., first person accounts or exclusive interviews). These features should be presented without bias so that readers can form their own opinions about the newsworthy event or situation. News is important for democracy because it gives people the information they need to participate in democratic society and make informed decisions about their lives. Without this, a democracy cannot thrive. A free press is often described as “the oxygen of democracy” because it enables an informed citizenry to function and hold their government accountable. However, the press must remain independent from outside influence to maintain its credibility. The media is often referred to as the fourth branch of government.