Reporting on News

The job of news media – newspapers, radio and television – is to inform and educate their audiences. They may also entertain – music and drama on radio and television; and crosswords and cartoons in newspapers. However, the information they provide must be accurate. They should not use sensational headlines that could mislead or cause unnecessary concern, or spread false information. They should cite sources for their information (interviews, court documents, the Census, Web sites etc) and make every effort to write clearly. They should never be afraid to ask for an extra pair of eyes to read their work before they submit it to publication.

When reporting on news, it is important to note that the same event can have different levels of interest in different societies. For example, if a wall collapses killing a cow and a pig, the news will be regarded differently in different countries, depending on the relative importance of these two animals to their owners.

People are interested in things that affect them directly – for example, their health, their home or their family. They are also interested in things which are unusual, interesting or significant – for example, the death of an historical figure.

The best way to find out about new events is to talk to people who have direct knowledge of them, or who are affected by them. It is also a good idea to seek out news from sources which are not part of the established media, as they will often have a different perspective on issues. However, it is important to remember that the internet means that good and bad news travels fast – and can reach a large audience.