News is current information about an event or a change that has recently taken place. It is usually delivered by word of mouth, or through printed media such as newspapers, books and magazines, by television, radio, the internet and other electronic communication systems. News aims to inform its readers, listeners or viewers about events, facts and opinions about public interest. It can also entertain and amuse its audience by providing them with information about quirky or unusual events, as well as the lighter side of world, local, social, political or economic news.
What makes something newsworthy varies between societies, but many elements are common. The most important is whether the news is significant or of interest to the people who receive the message, and the way in which it is presented is also important. The term “News” comes from the Latin novum, meaning new things.
A person who hears the news and is impressed by it will probably want to tell others about it, which leads to its further dissemination. Word of mouth is the oldest means of transmitting news, but printing and postal systems allowed for the speedy spread of news in the 19th and 20th centuries. The invention of radio and television further accelerated the speed with which news could be transmitted, and the internet has changed the way in which news is gathered and distributed.
The most common topics for news stories are war, politics, business, education, the environment and health. Other subjects of interest are sports, fashion, entertainment and religion. Government proclamations, royal ceremonies and changes in laws and taxes are often reported in the news. News is often written in such a way as to attract attention by using sensational or controversial headlines, but it is important to balance this with accurate reporting and details.
Some news is very local and personal, such as a story about the death of someone close to you or the birth of your child. Other news is more general and global, such as weather reports, international politics or a natural disaster.
In the US, the majority of Americans still get their news from traditional media sources – such as print publications, television and radio. However, the growing number of Americans with multiple Internet enabled devices has meant an increase in online use for news.
There are many websites that provide news, and some of them focus on specific kinds of news. Some of these sites are aimed at helping people understand and evaluate the accuracy of various sources, while others offer guidance on how to avoid being fooled by misinformation or confirmation bias.
Considering the many different ways in which news is disseminated, it is not surprising that some of it can be misleading. It is important to seek out a variety of sources and to take the time to consider each one carefully. The ease with which news can be shared through the internet has made it more difficult to distinguish between reliable and unreliable sources. This is especially true of photos, which are frequently used to illustrate news stories. It is a good idea to look for the source of photos and to compare them with other sources before believing what they are telling you.