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The News Manual has definitions of what news is (see the lower links on the right), but here we share with you some other people's opinions on the subject. Some of them are clear and reasonable while others are deeply cynical. Some are given as practical advice after years of professional experience while others are just witty. But all are worth thinking about.
One brief disclaimer: With many quotes there are ongoing disputes about the precise wording, translation or attribution. One of the oldest quotes here is Voltaire's famous defence of freedom of speech, yet arguments continue about it to this day. While we have tried to give the most accurate version of each quote and its attribution, we always stand to be corrected through the Contact Us page. Enjoy.
What is news?
When a dog bites a man that is not news, but when a man bites a dog that is news.
News is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress; all the rest is advertising.
Well, news is anything that's interesting, that
relates to what's happening in the world, what's happening in areas of
the culture that would be of interest to your audience.
Put it before them briefly so they will read it,
clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will
remember it and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by its
News is anything that makes a reader say, `Gee Whiz'!
No one says "Gee Whiz!" very much these days, of
course, not even in America — both because that expression has long
since been supplanted by others more colourful and less printable, and
because our capacity for surprise has long since been dulled by a
surfeit of sources.
What you see is news, what you know is background, what you feel is opinion.
It is hard news that catches readers. Features hold them.
To a journalist, good news is often not news at all.
No news is good news.
[News is] a first rough draft of history.
For most folks, no news is good news; for the press, good news is not news.
The real news is bad news.
News is what a chap who doesn't care much about
anything wants to read. And it's only news until he's read it. After
that it's dead.
Good stories flow like honey but bad stories
stick in the craw [gullet]. What is a bad story? It's a story that
cannot be absorbed in the first time of reading. It's a story that
leaves questions unanswered.
Hard news really is hard. It sticks not in the
craw but in the mind. It has an almost physical effect, causing fear,
interest, laughter or shock.
Never awake me when you have good news to
announce, because with good news nothing presses; but when you have bad
news, arouse me immediately, for then there is not an instant to be
Journalism consists largely in saying Lord Jones died to people who never knew Lord Jones was alive.
News reports stand up as people, and people
wither into editorials. Clichés walk around on two legs while men are
having theirs shot off.
A master passion is the love of news.
For a more humorous definition of news in America, go to: