News is the information that is disseminated to the public about current events and issues. It is generally considered to be an essential part of a democracy because it keeps the citizens informed and aware of what is going on in their community, country and the world. In addition to presenting the facts of an event, news also helps the audience understand complicated topics by providing analysis and interpretation.
It is important to note that news does not always reflect reality and may even be biased. For example, if a newspaper reports that a new vaccine has dangerous side effects, it is likely that the headline will be misleading and the story will not accurately reflect the truth of the situation. This is why it is often suggested that people try to get their news from many different sources. This not only provides them with a wide range of perspectives, but it can also help them avoid becoming skewed in their own perspective on the world around them.
The news that makes it into a newspaper, onto the television news line-up or posted on a news Internet site is the decision of people who work for the particular news organization. These people are called editors, news directors or even news managers. They take the recommendations of reporters, assistant editors and others within their organizations and decide what will be reported. They are known as gatekeepers because they make the decisions that determine what is newsworthy.
There are five basic criteria that a news item must meet to be considered newsworthy: it must be new, interesting, significant, unusual or about people. The more of these criteria a story meets, the more important it is and the higher its news value. It is important to note, however, that a story does not have to be big to be newsworthy. A little thing can be newsworthy if it is the only one of its kind, for example a fire at a residential home.
Another important factor is timing. A news item must be happening now in order to be considered timely and thus newsworthy. An article about an event that happened last week will probably not make the news unless there is some new development that has emerged since then.
People are interested in things that affect them personally and directly. For example, weather conditions can be of concern, as can problems with food and drink (whether it is a shortage or a glut), housing, schools and universities. People are also interested in the lives of famous people, and are intrigued by their achievements and personal tragedies. In addition, there is a strong interest in health and wellbeing, which is why stories about hospitals and clinics, diet, exercise and drugs are popular.
People are also interested in news that exposes wrongdoing and unethical behaviour by individuals, businesses or governments. This is referred to as watchdog journalism and plays a vital role in ensuring that those in power are accountable for their actions.