1. Informing the Public
News keeps people informed about current events and issues, locally and internationally. It allows them to make better choices in their daily lives by providing analysis and interpretation. It also provides context, background information, expert opinions and different perspectives to help understand complex topics.
2. Promoting Accountability
News holds leaders and organizations accountable by reporting on unethical behavior and corruption. By doing so, it can contribute to a better functioning society by increasing transparency and reducing mistrust.
3. Educating and Explaining
News helps to educate people about complex subjects, including politics, science, economics, history and culture. It explains how things work and why they are the way that they are. It can also be used to teach people about important issues in their lives, such as how to save money or how to get the most out of their healthcare.
One of the most important characteristics of news is that it is current, or at least recently happened. It is not something that took place 10 years ago, or even last year (unless it is a story about an anniversary of a major event).
Gatekeepers for television, radio and print media choose what stories to include in their publications based on a number of factors. They may be drawn to dramatic stories that incorporate violence or scandal and have clearly identifiable good and bad characters. They may be familiar with the subject matter or geographically close. They are often chosen if they are timely, which is especially important for commercial TV and radio programs that depend on advertising profits to pay their staff and produce the news.