The Importance of News
News is information about current events that has been reported in newspapers, magazines, radio and television. It is also available online through websites and aggregators that collect and present a range of news sources. News is important because it keeps people informed about what is happening in the world around them and what impact these events may have on their lives. It can also entertain, although this is not the primary job of news outlets – music and drama on the radio and crosswords and cartoons in newspapers are more likely to provide entertainment.
Historically, people transported news by word of mouth, but technological and social developments have increased the speed at which information can travel and the impact that it has. There are various models for how news is produced and distributed, including The Mirror Model (news reflects reality), The Bargaining Model (news focuses on particular interest groups) and The Professional Model (news is created by trained people for a specific audience).
The basic premise of any good news story is that it should be new, unusual, interesting or significant. Unusual or interesting events tend to generate more interest than those that are mundane or expected. For example, a man waking up, eating breakfast and going to work on the bus does not make news; this is not uncommon or even unusual and so it has no impact on anyone’s life. However, if that same man had been snatched from his home in the middle of the night by an unknown assailant and was being held captive in another country, this would be newsworthy.
If the information in a piece of news is accurate and it is reported fairly, then it can have a positive impact on a person’s life. This is particularly the case if the news affects them in some way, for example, an earthquake that destroys their home or a terrorist attack on their town or workplace. Alternatively, if the information is inaccurate and unsubstantiated, it can have a negative impact on a person’s life by making them feel fearful or depressed.
In addition to straight reporting, many journalists specialise in writing in-depth news pieces. This type of article takes a small section of a larger topic and explores it extensively, often interviewing key players involved in the event. For example, an in-depth news piece on a fire might look at the lives of the victims a week after the event.
In the Internet age, many publications and broadcasters have gone online to reach a greater audience and make it easier for people to access their content. This is especially true of smaller, regional newspapers and community radio stations. The popularity of the Internet has also given rise to citizen journalism, with people using mobile phones and laptops to upload their own reports and pictures of local events to the Web. This type of reporting can be useful because it allows ordinary people to share their experiences with others and can give a different perspective on a particular event.