News, in the broadest sense, is information about current events. This information can be sourced from many different sources, including newspapers, magazines, television broadcasts, the internet, and testimonies of witnesses. It is also sometimes referred to as “hard news” to differentiate it from “soft news”. News is information that is widely circulated.
Different groups of people have different interests and concern areas, so they seek different types of news. The front-page stories are often hard news, which is controversial and timely. These stories are usually accompanied by an anecdote. Other types of news, such as “soft news,” feature entertainment, culture, food, health, and education.
In order to engage students in this lesson, provide them with a list of possible definitions of “news.” Ask them to discuss the definitions in groups of four or six, and select the best one. Discuss how the definitions differ, their strengths, and their weaknesses. Using Weingartner’s definition of news as a guide, students can also compare their definitions with Weingartner’s.
The quality of news may also be affected by practical considerations. In the case of news, the value of a story depends on how it affects its readers. For example, a story that was planned for publication may be dropped at the last minute or replaced with another story that is more appropriate to the audience’s interests.