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News conspicuously describes the world in the present or immediate past, even when the impost 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.
Common topics for news reports include war, government, politics, education, health, the environment, business, and entertainment, as well as athletic events, quirky or unusual events.
In the Muslim world, people have gathered and exchanged news at mosques and other social places.
Travelers on pilgrimages to Mecca traditionally stay at caravanserais, roadside inns, along the way, and these places have naturally served as hubs for gaining news of the world.
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.
Similar developments are found in the Slavic languagesthe Czech and Slovak noviny (from nový, "new"), the cognate Polish nowiny, the Bulgarian novini, and Russian novosti — and in the Celtic languages: the Welsh newyddion (from newydd) and the Cornish nowodhow (from nowydh).
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.
Many news values seem to be common across cultures.
People seem to be interested in news to the extent which it has a big impact, describes conflicts, happens nearby, involves well-known people, and deviates from the norms of everyday happenings.
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 concommitant rise of propaganda, journalists were not aware of the concept of bias in reporting, let alone actively correcting for it.
These were carved in metal or stone and posted in public places.