The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







For the aspect of news as a business, see News trade

News is the reporting of current events usually by local, regional or mass media in the form of newspapers, television and radio programs, or sites on the World Wide Web. News reporting is a type of journalism, typically written or broadcast in news style. Most news is investigated and presented by journalists (or reporters) and often distributed via news agencies. If the content of news is significant enough, it eventually becomes history.

To be considered news, an event usually must have broad interest due to one or more news values:

  • Impact (how many people were, are or will be affected?)
  • Timeliness (did the event occur very recently?)
  • Revelation (is there significant new information, previously unknown?)
  • Proximity (was the event nearby geographically?)
  • Entertainment (does it make for a fun story?)
  • Oddity (was the event highly unusual?)
  • Celebrity (was anyone famous involved?)

News coverage often includes the "five W's and the H" -- who, what, where, when, why, and how.

In democracies, news organizations are often expected to aim for objectivity: reporters cover both sides in a controversy and try to eliminate bias. This is not true of all organizations in all cultures. For instance, British television news is required to be objective, but the newspapers are expected to have a point of view although limits are set by the government agency Ofcom, the Office of Communications, and the UK has stricter libel laws than the US for the press.

Many single-party states have operated state-run news organizations, which may present the government's views. Even in those situations where objectivity is expected, it is difficult to achieve, and individual journalists may fall foul of their own personal bias, or succumb to commercial or political pressures. Individuals and organizations who are the subject of news reports may use news management techniques to ensure that they make a favourable impression.


The word "news" comes from a special use of the plural of the word "new", and not as the common backronym claims, from the four cardinal directions (North, East, West, and South). Old spellings of the word varied widey—newesse, newis, nevis, neus, newys, niewes, newis, nues, etc—casting further doubt on the popular etymological theory.

A news junkie is a term for a person who likes to keep up to date with the latest news, perhaps compulsively.

See also

External links (directories of news sites)

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