News is a medium of communication that informs people about current events. It can be about politics, business, education, health, entertainment or sport. It may also be about a natural disaster or other significant world events. It is often based on facts, although opinions and speculation may also be included. The news can be reported either orally or in writing and can be delivered through a variety of media channels, including newspapers, magazines, radio and television.
When selecting which news to report, the media chooses what is important, interesting and significant to their audience. It is not always clear how this choice is made, but there are some broad criteria that are considered to be newsworthy. These are: timeliness, impact, proximity, controversy, prominence and currency. Timeliness is the most important factor, as the public wants to know what is happening right now rather than last week or yesterday.
Impact is another key factor, as the public want to be aware of issues that are affecting them and their family or friends. It is the reason why tragedies and wars make big headlines. Proximity is also a major issue, as the public are interested in stories that affect them directly or have an effect on their local area. Controversy, or the potential for controversy, is another factor as the public like to be informed about arguments and disagreements. Prominence and currency are also important, as the public want to hear about famous names and places.
The final element is whether the story is unusual or strange, as this will attract attention and interest from the public. People are always intrigued by the unusual and will be more likely to engage with a piece of news that is slightly bizarre or shocking. The classic example of this is when a dog bites a man, which makes for interesting news, but if the same event happened to a cow or pig, it would not be such big news.
As well as choosing which news to report, the media also decide how to present it. This is called news treatment and is a combination of journalistic judgment and commercial considerations. The latter include the need to attract readers and sell advertising space. This has led some critics to accuse the media of being biased or having a political agenda.
Online news aggregators like Google News allow the public to view articles from various news outlets around the world, which can help to balance out biases and provide different perspectives on an issue. This is a growing industry, as it allows the public to get their information from a range of sources without having to visit multiple websites or newspapers. This can also save time and effort, as the reader does not have to go through the process of evaluating individual sources for accuracy. These services can be useful, but they should not replace traditional news outlets. These outlets still have the responsibility to provide unbiased, accurate and comprehensive information.