News is an item of information about a real or current event. It is reported by a journalist who interviews sources and gathers facts, then writes the story to be published in a newspaper or on the internet. The journalist must ensure that all the details in the story are true, that the article is not biased, and that all sides of the story are represented. This is called objectivity and fairness.
There are many kinds of news stories, and each has its own significance to society. For example, if a bug is found that may be causing a problem for farmers, it will be significant in one society but not another. Similarly, if the local archbishop says that women should be allowed to become priests, this is significant in some societies but not others.
The most interesting and important events make the news because they are uncommon, dramatic or unusual. They also usually have a wide impact. An event may be a celebrity’s pregnancy, the death of someone famous or an insurrection.
It is important to know your audience when writing a news story. Asking questions like who is your audience, what age are they, where do they live, and why are they reading will help you decide how to format the story.
The ability to identify a news story, gather the essential facts, place them in a meaningful context and write concisely about fast-breaking news is an invaluable skill. It takes great skill to do so, and this course aims to introduce tomorrow’s journalists to the fundamentals of news reporting.