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News


News is information about current events. This may be provided through many different media: word of mouth, printing, postal systems, broadcasting, electronic communication, or through the testimony of observers and witnesses to events.

As its name implies, "news" typically connotes the presentation of new information. The newness of news gives it an uncertain quality which distinguishes it from the more careful investigations of history or other scholarly disciplines. Whereas historians tend to view events as causally related manifestations of underlying processes, news stories tend to describe events in isolation, and to exclude discussion of the relationships between them. News conspicuously describes the world in the present or immediate past, even when the most important aspects of a news story have occurred long in the past—or are expected to occur in the future. To make the news, an ongoing process must have some "peg", an event in time which anchors it to the present moment. Relatedly, news often addresses aspects of reality which seem unusual, deviant, or out of the ordinary. Hence the famous dictum that "Dog Bites Man" is not news, but "Man Bites Dog" is.

Most purveyors of news value impartiality, neutrality, and objectivity, despite the inherent difficulty of reporting without political bias. Perception of these values has changed greatly over time as sensationalized 'tabloid journalism' has risen in popularity. Michael Schudson has argued that before the era of World War I and the concomitant rise of propaganda, journalists were not aware of the concept of bias in reporting, let alone actively correcting for it. News is also sometimes said to portray the truth, but this relationship is elusive and qualified.

Evidence suggests that cultures around the world have found a place for people to share stories about interesting new information. Among Zulus, Mongolians, Polynesians, and American Southerners, anthropologists have documented the practice of questioning travelers for news as a matter of priority. Sufficiently important news would be repeated quickly and often, and could spread by word of mouth over a large geographic area. Even as printing presses came into use in Europe, news for the general public often travelled orally via monks, travelers, town criers, etc.

In 1556, the government of Venice first published the monthly Notizie scritte, which cost one gazetta. These avvisi were handwritten newsletters and used to convey political, military, and economic news quickly and efficiently to Italian cities (1500Ö1700)×sharing some characteristics of newspapers though usually not considered true newspapers. Avvisi were sold by subscription under the auspices of military, religious, and banking authorities. Sponsorship flavored the contents of each series, which were circulated under many different names. Subscribers included clerics, diplomatic staff, and noble families. By the last quarter of the seventeenth century avvisi long passages from were finding their way into published monthlies such as the Mercure de France and, in northern Italy, Pallade veneta.

Newspapers were slow to spread to the Arab world, which had a stronger tradition of oral communication, and mistrust of the European approach to news reporting. By the end of the eighteenth century, the Ottoman Empire's leaders in Istanbul did monitor the European press, but its contents were not disseminated for mass consumption. Some of the first written news in modern North Africa arose in Egypt under Muhammad Ali, who developed the local paper industry and initiated the limited circulation of news bulletins called jurnals. Beginning in the 1850s and 1860s, the private press began to develop in the multi-religious country of Lebanon.

These agencies touted their ability to distill events into "minute globules of news", 20–30 word summaries which conveyed the essence of new developments. Unlike newspapers, and contrary to the sentiments of some of their reporters, the agencies sought to keep their reports simple and factual. The wire services brought forth the "inverted pyramid" model of news copy, in which key facts appear at the start of the text, and more and more details included as it goes along. The sparse telegraphic writing style spilled over into newspapers, which often reprinted stories from the wire with little embellishment. In a 20 September 1918 Pravda editorial, Lenin instructed the Soviet press to cut back on their political rambling and produce many short anticapitalist news items in "telegraph style".

Ted Turner's creation of the Cable News Network (CNN) in 1980 inaugurated a new era of 24-hour satellite news broadcasting. In 1991, the BBC introduced a competitor, BBC World Service Television. Rupert Murdoch's Australian News Corporation entered the picture with Fox News Channel in the US, Sky News in Britain, and STAR TV in Asia. Combining this new apparatus with the use of embedded reporters, the United States waged the 1991–1992 Gulf War with the assistance of nonstop media coverage. CNN's specialty is the crisis, to which the network is prepared to shift its total attention if so chosen. CNN news was transmitted via INTELSAT communications satellites. CNN, said an executive, would bring a "town crier to the global village".

News can travel through different communication media. In modern times, printed news had to be phoned into a newsroom or brought there by a reporter, where it was typed and either transmitted over wire services or edited and manually set in type along with other news stories for a specific edition. Today, the term "breaking news" has become trite as commercial broadcasting United States cable news services that are available 24 hours a day use live communications satellite technology to bring current events into consumers' homes as the event occurs. Events that used to take hours or days to become common knowledge in towns or in nations are fed instantaneously to consumers via radio, television, mobile phone, and the internet.