News is information that tells us something about the world around us. It can be of national or local importance. Usually, it is reported as soon as possible to enable people to make decisions about what to do and how to behave.
People want to know what is going on in their own societies as well as the wider world. They also want to know what other societies are doing and how they are organised. It is the job of the news media – newspapers, radio and TV – to give us this information.
Generally speaking, an event is newsworthy if it is new, unusual, interesting or significant. However, the same event may have different news values in two different societies. For example, a man’s routine of waking up, eating breakfast and catching the bus to work may not be newsworthy in one society but will be very important to a different one where cows are more valuable than pigs!
A story will be more interesting if it has drama. Often this involves a person attempting to get something and failing, or achieving it after great effort. It can also involve a disaster such as an earthquake, flood or fire. Food and drink – shortages or gluts – and how to get it are of interest, as are stories about health. All societies are interested in the lives of famous people, and especially if they are involved in controversy or fall from power. Sex is an area of interest in all societies, but it is only really newsworthy if it goes beyond general social mores.