The kind of news that is most commonly seen in newspapers and on television news programs. Hard news is news that is time sensitive; that is it is only relevant if it is reported within a certain period of time following the event that it describes. A murder that took place yesterday can be safely reported as hard news today. An exposé or investigative piece is often better reported as soft news.

Hard news is most frequently reported in the inverted pyramid style. The most important information is reported at the beginning of the article and secondary information is reported as the article progresses. This is done for two reasons:

  • So readers or viewers without much time can learn of the article's main points without having to read the whole article or watch the whole report.
  • So that, if the editors deem it necessary to trim an article or a broadcast in order to conserve space, they may cut parts of the article's conclusion, therefore not compromising the article's important facts.
  • There are several determinants involved in the process of selecting which hard news articles appear prominently in the newspaper or in a news broadcast:

  • Timeliness - Something that happened yesterday is more newsworthy than something that happened last week.
  • Proximity - Readers are generally more interested in events that happen close to them as there is a greater chance of them having a greater impact on them. An article set in the city or town of publication or broadcast is likely more newsworthy than one that is set on the other side of the world.
  • Human Interest - News that involves oddity, conflict or that is likely to evoke emotion from readers is newsworthy as people generally find it more interesting than news stories that have become commonplace. A robbery foiled accidentally by a police officer who just happened to be there (à la Chief Wiggum) is more newsworthy than a robbery because it's interesting.
  • Prominence - It might not always seem fair, but news stories that involve celebrities, politicians and other popular figures are more newsworthy than stories about private citizens because they attract more attention.
  • Consequence - If a story or its subject matter could have an impact on readers or viewers, it is generally considered to be newsworthy. News about issues such as wars, other issues of national security and medical research are more newsworthy than news about a local soccer match or a small company's stock options.

    Pieces may also be considered newsworthy if they relate to current or recent trends or if they can be considered amusing.


    Adapted from The Center for Learning.
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