News keeps people informed about what is happening in their local communities, countries and internationally. It is also a vehicle for educating and explaining complex issues and ideas.
A key factor in deciding whether something is newsworthy is that it must be unusual, interesting, significant and about people. However, the same event may have quite different news values in different societies. For example, a cyclone may be more of a news story in Australia than it is in Bangladesh, because of the impact it can have on the lives and livelihoods of Australians.
Another important factor is that the story must be new. Events that have already happened do not make news. They may have been reported in the past, but if they have not been seen or heard of by your audience, they are not news.
The source of the information is also important. A reporter must always indicate where the information in a news article comes from, such as a police report, an interview with a witness, a survey or a Web site. The reporter must also use a style consistent with the journalistic rules of fairness. For example, using direct quotes from the person interviewed can help readers believe that the information is reliable.
A good headline will catch the reader’s eye, but it must be accurate and not misleading. Many people read only the headlines, and a misleading one can damage the credibility of the entire story. It is best to write active, rather than passive, headlines (e.g. “Dr Jones is using this equipment to study malaria” rather than “Malaria was studied by Dr Jones”).