What is News?

News is a brief account of something that has happened recently and which is likely to affect a large number of people. It is a type of media that can be transmitted verbally (over the radio, television or telephone) and in written form (newspapers, magazines or the internet). News also takes the shape of a speech or presentation, and it can take the form of a film or video.

The most significant and interesting events are newsworthy, but what constitutes “significant” or “interesting” is different in every society. If, for example, a farm wall collapses killing a cow but leaving a pig unscathed, it will be more important in some societies than others. Similarly, the relative importance of human and animal life will determine whether a story about a new invention, a political scandal or the discovery of an artwork is considered newsworthy.

News articles generally begin with the most important facts about a topic. They then follow up these facts with additional information such as quotes from sources, contact details for those involved and background information. It is inappropriate for the writer of a news article to express their own opinion, so they will usually interview people directly involved in the event and ask them for their views.

While it is impossible to completely avoid biased information, the best way to judge the credibility of a source of news is by its record of providing factual, verifiable and documented news. The New York Times, CNN, Reuters and the BBC are examples of reliable traditional news sources. Online news aggregators such as Google News can be useful because they filter and display stories from many sources without bias.