The Importance of News


News is what happens in the world and what people think about it. News is a source of entertainment for many people but it should never lose sight of its true purpose – to educate and inform. People can get their entertainment from other sources – music and drama on radio or television; crosswords, puzzles and cartoons in newspapers or magazines.

The information that makes it into a newspaper, onto the news line-up on TV or cable or on a news Internet site is the result of the decisions of people working for a particular media organization. These people, called editors, news directors or even news managers sift through recommendations from reporters and other staff members to decide what will be in the news. They are often called gatekeepers because they are the first to see what will be news and they have to make decisions about what will appear in print, on TV or over the Internet.

Timeliness is one of the most important characteristics of news. If something has already happened it cannot be news, unless it is an anniversary of an event that was big and had significant impact (like the death of a famous person or an historic election). News should be current; people don’t want to read about what happened 10 years ago.

The best news stories are those which have drama, consequence and proximity. People are interested in what affects them directly or their close relatives; this is why news about wars, natural disasters and political upheaval is so widely reported. They are also interested in what happens to other people – their successes, failures and achievements.

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