Key Characteristics of News


News is a way to inform, enlighten and inspire. It can teach and it can enrage, but it is also an instrument for changing society. However, in order for it to serve its intended purposes, it must be free.

In a classroom setting, news can be used to explore a range of topics — from politics to sports, science to social issues and more. Regardless of the topic, there are several key characteristics of news that can be identified by students when researching and writing their own newspaper articles.


The first thing that is important to remember about news is that it is current. It is not something that happened 10 years ago or last year unless it is an anniversary of some significant event (like the moon landing) or a major historical figure died. When gatekeepers decide what makes the news they publish in print, on TV or online, they are always looking for things that have already happened or that are happening right now.


Often the most interesting news stories are the ones that have some element of suspense or intrigue. This is why news reporters are able to make an impression on their audiences and why some people prefer certain types of news programs over others.

For example, missing the bus this morning on the way to school probably wouldn’t be newsworthy, but if you ran across a litter of baby tigers while out walking and took them to a local animal shelter, this would definitely be a story worth sharing!


In order for a story to be considered newsworthy, it must be close to home. This is especially true in a world where many of us live on very tight schedules and don’t have the luxury of much spare time. For example, when a local fire destroys a house or an earthquake strikes a city, this is something that many people want to hear about because it affects them in some way.

In addition to proximity, the news must be interesting and engaging. It should grab the audience’s attention from the very beginning of the article. This is accomplished through a well-crafted headline, which is called a lede in journalism jargon. The news article should then begin with a few introductory paragraphs that highlight what is most important about the story. This should include some background information and the underlying facts of the issue. Finally, the article should conclude by addressing any questions or concerns that may have been raised by the readers.