One theory is that "news" was developed as a special use of the plural form of "new" in the 14th century. In Middle English, the equivalent word was newes, based on the French nouvelles. A somewhat similar development is found in at least three Slavic languages (Czech, Slovak and Polish), where there exists a word noviny ("news"), developed from the word nový ("new").
Another theory is that the word, phonetically and its written style, is based upon the Germanic word "neues".
A folk etymology suggests that it is an acronym of the cardinal directions: north, east, west, and south, it was because news is all around the world and north, east, west, and south are obviously the cardinal directions.
In its infancy, news gathering was primitive by today's standards. Printed news had to be phoned in to 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 broadcast and cable news services use live satellite technology to bring current events into consumers' homes live as they happen. 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, cell phones, and the Internet.
Most large cities had morning and afternoon newspapers. As the media evolved and news outlets increased to the point of near over-saturation, afternoon newspapers were shut down except for relatively few. Morning newspapers have been gradually losing circulation, according to reports advanced by the papers themselves.
Commonly, news content should contain the "Five Ws" (who, what, when, where, why, and also how) of an event. There should be no questions remaining. Newspapers normally write hard news stories, such as those pertaining to murders, fires, wars, etc. in inverted pyramid style so the most important information is at the beginning. Busy readers can read as little or as much as they desire. Local stations and networks with a set format must take news stories and break them down into the most important aspects due to time constraints. Cable news channels such as Fox News Channel, MSNBC, and CNN, are able to take advantage of a story, sacrificing other, decidedly less important stories, and giving as much detail about breaking news as possible.
News organizations are often expected to aim for objectivity; reporters claim to try to cover all sides of an issue without bias, as compared to commentators or analysts, who provide opinion or personal point-of-view. However, several governments impose certain constraints or police news organizations for bias. In the United Kingdom, for example, limits are set by the government agency Ofcom, the Office of Communications. Both newspapers and broadcast news programs in the United States are generally expected to remain neutral and avoid bias except for clearly indicated editorial articles or segments. Many single-party governments have operated state-run news organizations, which may present the government's views.
Even in those situations where objectivity is expected, it is difficult to achieve, and individual journalists may fall foul of their own personal bias, or succumb to commercial or political pressure. Similarly, the objectivity of news organizations owned by conglomerated corporations fairly may be questioned, in light of the natural incentive for such groups to report news in a manner intended to advance the conglomerate's financial interests. Individuals and organizations who are the subject of news reports may use news management techniques to try to make a favourable impression. Because no human being can remain entirely objective (each of us has a particular point of view), it is recognized that there can be no absolute objectivity in news reporting.
Newsworthiness is defined as a subject having sufficient relevance to the public or a special audience to warrant press attention or coverage.
Normal people are not newsworthy unless they meet an unusual circumstance or tragedy. The news divides the population into two groups; those few whose lives are newsworthy, and the multitude who are born, live out their lives and die without the news media paying them any significant notice. The news has always covered subjects that catch people's attention and differ from their "ordinary lives". The news is often used for escapism and thus normal events are not newsworthy. Whether the subject is love, birth, weather, or crime, journalists' tastes inevitably run toward the unnatural, the extraordinary.
The subject and newsworthiness of a story depends on the audience, as they decide what they do and do not have an interest in. The denser the population, the more global the news becomes, as there is a broader range of interests involved in its selection.