News items are published or broadcasted reports that discusses current or recent news, for example newspaper articles and news reports on television or radio. News items usually provide facts and information on a person, an object, or an event. The news may be of a general nature, but they can also be more specialized, covering for example new scientific discoveries.
The facts and information given will sometimes be supported by a reference to a primary source, such as a scientific publication or an official statement by the government, making the news item a secondary source. A news item may, however, also include previously unpublished eyewitness accounts, interviews, polls or statistics collected by the creator. The news item then function as a primary source for the information in question. Although some creators of news item strive to be objective in their reporting, many newspapers and news channels have a political agenda. Furthermore, some news article are contributions in an ongoing debate, expressing and arguing for an opinion, with the aim of influencing the recipient.
It is also important to remember that even if the creator of a news item, or the person interviewed for a news report, happen to be a researcher, this does not make the news item scientific. In contrast to scientific publications, there is no peer-review process for news items. Since there is no formal quality control, you will need to determine for yourself if they are credible and relevant. You can find advice on what to consider when evaluating a source in the section Evaluating informal sources.