News is information about current events, obtained at any moment and everywhere. It is intended to inform, to arouse interest, to entertain and even to provoke emotions. It must be objective, and its value lies in its accuracy, speed and impartiality. It may not change the world, but it can make people aware of something that they would not otherwise know.
News articles can take many forms, from hard news stories and feature pieces to interviews and opinions. Whether writing for the newspaper, TV or the Internet, writers must consider the audience they are targeting and follow the basic rules of journalism. The five Ws (who, what, where, when and why) are important, as well as the angle of the story.
Traditionally, news has been about what is new or unusual. But what is considered new or unusual varies from society to society. For example, a man missing the bus on his way to work does not make the 5:00 pm news program; it is just an ordinary, everyday event that does not qualify as news. However, if he finds a litter of abandoned baby tigers on his walk and brings them to an animal shelter, that will definitely be newsworthy.
Another factor in newsworthiness is how much the event or information affects a large number of people. If a natural disaster or war affects thousands of people, it is likely to be newsworthy, regardless of how far-reaching the effect is. The same is true if a stock market crash has a widespread impact, such as when it causes businesses to close and employees to lose their jobs.
A third factor is how significant the event or information is, either in terms of its magnitude or in its impact on a particular group of people. For example, a major political scandal that involves the highest-ranking members of a government or a major corporation will be newsworthy, as will an accident or incident that threatens the safety of a large number of people.
It is also important for writers to consider the timeliness of an event when deciding whether or not it is newsworthy. Generally, events that have already taken place do not make the news, unless they are being marked for their anniversary, or the event is being reported as part of an ongoing investigation or trial. Whether writing for the printed page, the television or the Internet, newswriters must also consider the format of their article. In print newspapers the most important stories are placed above the fold, the area that gets cut off when the paper is folded, so that they are visible to readers as soon as possible. This is also the case for online writing, where a top story is prominently displayed on the home page before being scrolled down. People often read only the first few lines of a news item, so it is important that the most compelling information is present in those few words.