News is basically information regarding current happenings. This can be provided via a number of media: print, radio, television, postal systems, wire services, or via the reporting of witnesses and experts on current affairs. There has been much debate over just what constitutes “news”. Some courts have defined it as news which is of public interest and normally presented as being of some importance. Others, however, have held that “news” should include any significant event which changes the way people act or react to a situation, which then influences the news-makers’ decision-making.
The courts, like most other people, take their news very seriously. Thus, when the news media makes a significant announcement regarding a lawsuit, political battle, natural disaster, revolution, or other important event, the court will pay close attention. In the United States, the news media must provide a substantial amount of context in order to qualify as news. Therefore, all breaking news stories are considered newsworthy, whether they focus on a candidate for office or a natural disaster. The courts are particularly sensitive to news reports which focus on the importance of the case or issue at hand and the possible impact that the story could have on the public’s interest in that area.
The news has become an increasingly visual medium. Thanks to the advent of cable news, which provides live reports through its stations and websites, and to a degree, digital news services, more news-makers and others who shape public opinion have become members of the news media. It is now common for news organizations to have video blogs; in which, correspondents report live from various locations around the country or the world, with reports taking the form of blog articles. Video blogs allow breaking news to be viewed in a way similar to live coverage, although they are often accompanied by text links that provide further information or commentary.
Another new medium that has come to define the public’s right to be informed about news is the Internet. The Internet has provided a means for many individuals to publish news stories that have been independently created or co-opted by another organization. In some cases, the work of news agencies is published online. This is an important factor in defining the news. Many news organizations rely heavily on web media in their efforts to stay on top of developments in their field, and it has become crucial for news agencies to create and distribute web content in order to remain competitive. In addition, the Internet has made it easier than ever for a broader range of consumers to access news online.
Because of technological change and the increasing influence of interest groups, news stories can have a significant impact on societal attitudes. One study showed that the public’s reaction to a story about genetically modified foods was different than the response to a story detailing the financial hardship of farmers who were losing their traditional foods to chemical contamination. News reports that focus on environmental or social issues tend to receive more attention than stories that focus on business concerns. The impact on society as a whole varies according to the topic of news interest. For example, news stories about politics, celebrity gossip, international events, religion, and health are likely to cause a great deal of societal interest around the world.
Interest groups also play an important role in determining the popularity of news stories. When a new school science program appears on television, it causes a great deal of discussion about the merits of the program among school teachers, parents, and other school administrators. The same thing occurs when a new film based on a popular book comes out. When news reports are released, they may gain a lot of traction among interest groups.