What is News?


News is a medium that informs people about events and developments in their local communities, countries and internationally. It can also explain complex subjects such as politics, science, culture, economy, and health by providing facts, quotes and statistics. News can be published in many forms including newspapers, radio, television, and online. It may contain opinions as well as facts, but it is usually objective, though some news sources do have a particular bias.

News can be entertaining, as well as informative, and people like to read about celebrities, politicians, and public figures and their private lives. People are also interested in stories about history, art and archaeology, sport, technology, education and the environment. It is thought that news has been around since ancient times, but the modern newspaper was developed in China in the 8th century AD. By the 16th century, Europeans had introduced newspapers to other parts of the world and the first international news agencies were established.

The type of story that makes the news is largely determined by societal values, and so differs from society to society. However, there are some basic characteristics of news that all media organisations understand – timeliness, drama, consequence, proximity and narrative. You will learn more about these in the News Characteristics LAMPLit. Each brief section stands alone, but there are links at the end of each to a fuller explanation of the topic, as well as a short list of references you can turn to for more information if you wish.

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