What Are the Characteristics of News?

News is the information that makes the front page of a newspaper, is on the radio or TV or posted to a news Internet site. Whether it’s about people, animals, politics or the economy, news reports are about things that happen now or have just happened. Choosing what’s newsworthy is the responsibility of people who work in the news business, usually called editors, news directors or even news managers. They are also known as gatekeepers because they make the decisions that decide what news will be in a newspaper, on the TV news, or on the Internet. These gatekeepers keep a few basic characteristics of News in mind when making their choices.

The first of these characteristics is timeliness. Unless it’s a commemoration of an anniversary, the news should be recent. People don’t want to hear about something that happened 10 years ago. They want to hear about what’s going on now or what’s happening this week, next month or even tomorrow.

Another characteristic of News is drama. The events that make the news should be dramatic, with good and bad characters. For example, a news story about a robbery at a convenience store should clearly state who was robbed and who did the robbing. If the robbery was committed by terrorists, the story should also explain who they are.

Some events will be more interesting or significant in one society than in others. For example, a bug killing all of the cows in a country may be more important to its inhabitants than a plague killing all of the pigs. The reason for this difference is that different societies have different values and priorities.

A third characteristic of News is significance. A significant event will be newsworthy if it affects many people in a broad way. This could be a war, an election or even a new law. A coup in a neighboring country is a significant event because it may affect the stability of the region.

When deciding on the newsworthiness of an event, gatekeepers also consider proximity and narrative. Events close to home are more likely to be considered newsworthy, as are those that have a clear cause and effect. For example, an animal rights activist saving baby tigers in the jungle will probably be considered newsworthy, because it’s unusual and has a direct impact on the lives of human beings.

Once a story is written, it should be read over again by someone else to make sure that there are no spelling or grammatical errors. It’s a good idea to have an editor or another journalist read the story before it is published, even if it has been rewritten several times. An extra pair of eyes can catch mistakes and help the writer to understand the tone that the publication is looking for in its News.