News is information that informs and educates its readers, listeners or viewers. It should not entertain them; that is the job of other media – music and drama on radio, cartoons and crossword puzzles in newspapers. News should also not frighten its audience, but it can be disturbing, surprising or alarming.
A great news article should begin with a hook which grabs attention, such as a dramatic anecdote or shocking fact. It then describes the key elements of the story – who, what, when, where and why. Finally, the news article should place these new developments in context by describing their relevance to the audience’s lives.
The most important thing to remember when writing a news article is that it must be factual. There is no such thing as unbiased news; every person and organization has biases, both conscious and unconscious. It is important to be aware of these biases, and to seek out information that challenges one’s own perspective.
The most useful sources of news are those that provide a variety of viewpoints, and offer analysis of the facts. These include newspapers, magazines and websites that cover a broad range of topics, such as the New York Times, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, CNN and NPR. The BBC is another good source of news, especially its World Service broadcasts. It is also helpful to read blogs that track news stories, such as iReport and the Huffington Post.