A news article is a written piece of information about current events and/or people which is published in a newspaper, magazine or on a website. It is usually a short article with a headline, which sums up the main point of the story, and the name of the writer (usually just their first initial). The article contains factual information and analysis of the event(s), and may include photographs or video footage.
The main purpose of news articles is to inform the public of important, often controversial, events occurring in the world around them. News is considered to be objective and impartial. It is essential to democracy that citizens are informed so they can participate in political processes. This is especially important in developing countries. A free press is sometimes called the oxygen of democracy, as a democratic system cannot survive without an informed citizenry.
News articles are also often used for marketing purposes by companies who wish to promote their products or services. It is a very effective way to reach a wide audience of potential customers quickly and effectively. However, the quality of a news article can be questioned if it is written solely for marketing purposes. Ideally, a news article will provide accurate information and be entertaining or at least interesting to read. It should not be melodramatic or sensational and should have a serious tone.
Many theories about what makes a news article worth reading have been proposed. A common one is the Galtung and Ruge model, which suggests that news should be relevant, topical, significant, unusual, and involving people. Other factors that can be taken into consideration are proximity, composition, expectation, controversy and currency.
There are also a number of different models which attempt to describe how news is produced and what role it plays in society. The Mirror Model suggests that news reflects reality and is accurate. It should also provide context, background information and expert opinions, allowing readers to make informed decisions and form their own opinion.
Some models suggest that news focuses on specific groups of people and that it promotes certain ideologies. Others suggest that it promotes transparency and ensures that those in power are held accountable. It should also provide an outlet for public discontent and provide a forum for debate.