What Makes Newsworthy?
The purpose of News is to inform, educate and entertain a newspaper, magazine, radio or television audience. The entertainment aspect of news is primarily provided by the way in which the story is presented – for example through music and drama programs on TV or radio; cartoons, crosswords and other features in newspapers and magazines. News should be written so it is brief enough to read, interesting to the reader, beautifully illustrated, clearly understood, picturesquely described and, above all, accurately reported.
The elements that make a story newsworthy are not universally applicable but there are some common characteristics of a news item which all readers and listeners will recognize:
People like to be interested in other people – hence stories about famous persons, their achievements, failures and misfortunes. Events that affect a wide audience are also often newsworthy – for example, natural disasters, wars, famine and epidemics. People are also interested in money and in the financial world – bankruptcies, business failures, IPOs, stock prices, salaries, taxation, pensions and insurance claims.
A good news item is usually a mixture of fact and opinion and will contain a mix of humour and seriousness. It will contain a mixture of the ‘5 W’s’ (who, what, when, where and why) and it will have a dramatic element. An article about a man walking to school with his baby tigers, for example, is not only touching but it shows how humans can be concerned for the welfare of animals and it raises questions about animal cruelty and the balance between nature and human activity.