News is the information that appears in newspapers, magazines and on radio and television. It can cover any topic from the human body to the environment, and it is generally based on people and events. News reports are a mixture of straight reporting and opinion pieces. They need to be factual, and they should not have any personal bias. The opinions of experts should be included to add value and context to the story. They also need to be sourced carefully.
It is important to know your audience when writing news articles. This may be obvious based on the subject of your article, or it might be determined by the intended demographic for the publication or website. For example, a general newspaper will have a much larger readership than one that is targeted to a specific community.
When researching a news story, the writer needs to find out the five Ws: who, what, where, when and why. They should also have a keen understanding of the timeline of events so that they can accurately report them to the reader. Using quotes from the relevant people involved is also essential, and they should be carefully sourced to avoid any plagiarism or libel issues.
Many times, it is the people behind the news that make it interesting or significant. This can be as small as a family fighting for the right to name their baby after a fallen soldier, or it could be a politician calling on the public to support their cause. Even a celebrity scandal can become newsworthy.
Other things that can be newsworthy include crime, money and sport. Any kind of crime is potentially newsworthy, but more serious crimes are usually more so. Financial stories are also often reported on – this includes fortunes made and lost, school fees, taxes, the Budget, food prices, wage rises, economic crises and compensation claims. Sporting events are always a major draw, especially when they involve big names or are related to local interest.
It’s also important to be aware of what makes a story ‘newsworthy’. For example, a scientist might discover an insect that has never been seen before, but this may not be newsworthy outside of the scientific world. However, if the insect is found to be eating and damaging crops then this would be newsworthy.
The news industry is fast paced, and the old saying ‘today’s news is tomorrow’s history’ is very true. The ability to quickly research and report on a wide range of topics is a highly sought skill. In addition, the ability to write well under pressure is critical, and a good understanding of grammar and spelling is important. News writers should be careful not to use too many adjectives – this can be confusing for the reader, and it is often more effective to state the facts clearly and simply. Using a dictionary can help you to identify any words that might be confusing for readers.