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What is News?

october 16, 2019 Lavina Bhambhani
what is news

The simple question "What is news?" remains appropriate as we question the future of journalism in today's high-tech, modern era, where cloud, digital, and cognitive technologies are taking hold in the media. While the form and shape of "news" may have changed with time, the values it brings to the audience remain unchanged.

If you ask someone to define "News" in simple words, the response will usually mention something about reporting on recent events from the last few days or hours. News often represents something that was not known earlier but is of wide interest to people and can create great curiosity among them. It interests people because it informs them of what's happening around them. News of this sort can include stories concerning organizations, individuals, or institutions. It could be stories concerning businesses, humans; or it could be witty headlines with elements of surprise from our lives, full of otherwise shapeless events. News is information that is new to the listeners. It is something that is noteworthy and unique from what usually goes on around us.

If you ask someone to define “The News” from a consumer perspective, they will say that it is a broadcast or published report of the “News” itself. “The News” can take on many different packaged forms. It can be a TV program, like The Ingraham Angle on Fox News, with an anchor and various correspondents describing the latest happenings from around the world, or an article like this one from Elle Magazine explaining new beauty products, or even a blog covering the latest advancements in technology like Recode.

Either way, news can be good or bad; it can be interesting or “just another” news story. That’s mainly because the same event can elicit different interest levels in different domains, different societies, or different cultures. For this reason, the same news can be judged differently by many different people. However, any piece of information, whether it is packaged in a newspaper article, as a story from your coworker, or as a summary analysis on TheNewsHOOK, can be considered news if it meets the following 3 criteria:

  1. It is current
  2. It is significant
  3. It is interesting

Is the information really new?

If it is something you already know, it cannot be called “news.” It could be significant information, but if it’s not new, it is not news. An eminent personality, xyz, passed away last week – the information was all over social media and other channels – it was News. The week after xyz passed away, the news reporter again spoke about xyz’s sad demise. Although it was interesting, it was just “information” and not News. Events that happened even days earlier can still be termed as News if they have not been previously reported. Any story that is being told to the audience for the first time becomes News for them. News has to be new information, always.

Is the information significant? Does it provide some value?

If the information is untold and is significant, it is definitely news. News is information that is packaged and transmitted across media channels. It moves by electronic means, through social channels, in print media, via postal systems, by word of mouth, and so on, and it could bring about information surrounding topics such as politics, war, business, general affairs, international affairs, unusual events, celebrities, movies, government proclamations, public health, crime, laws, etc. Since most humans exhibit a desire to learn and know about these topics in general, news is significant to us. Therefore, experts in this industry ensure news is spread across the globe so that more and more people know about it. Also, with technological development and with enhanced communication channels, the speed with which news spreads and influences people has increased dramatically. People across the globe get to learn about the happenings in another country that is oceans apart. This keeps us updated; it develops our awareness around various topics, some of which are very important for all of us. News gives us information that helps us become more knowledgeable in front of the rest of the world – we are tech-ready, we are future-ready, we are business-ready. Thus, news brings value to our lives.

Imagine this – you go out drinking with a friend and he asks you your views about a certain law that the government has recently passed. You can only stare blankly in response, because you don’t know what the law is about. You cannot have an opinion, you don’t have any views, you cannot be a part of any discussion surrounding it, because you are not aware of what’s happening around you. Indeed, the world is a complicated place in which we’re all trying to achieve what we want to achieve. But the News informs us about various things that can help us achieve our goals. It helps us keep up with current affairs and discuss them amongst one another over a drink. It can help us make informed decisions, which impacts our present and our future. News makes up an important part of our daily lives, and by staying informed, we are less susceptible to manipulation by others.

Is it interesting?

The saying, “one size doesn’t fit all” is apt here, as something that interests someone might be absolutely boring for others. That’s why journalists and media experts try to cover News on various topics, to cater to the interests of the many different kinds of people. We live in a world where we all are connected by a common link – we all are humans. Decisions made in the UK might affect people living in Germany, and vice versa. When President Trump announces something, citizens of other countries are definitely interested in knowing what he has been up to. So, news is interesting. Although I am not French, I may still want to know about the yellow jacket riots happening in Paris. The news helps me learn about that.

What is news?

The news is much more than just information and facts – it’s something important that affects us and our lives. It helps us perform our jobs, it helps us make our decisions, it helps define the way we function, and it informs the way we carry ourselves. It tells me whether I should take an umbrella with me to work today; it tells me if I should invest in the stock market tomorrow; it tells me if I should travel overseas next month. This is News!


Edited by Justin Adam

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