A Report can have various definitions depending on the kind of report being considered. According to the Oxford Dictionary, A report is a statement of the results of an investigation or of any matter on which definite information is required. The reports in the public media refer to an account of specific periods, events, occurrences, or subjects, and may be communicated or presented in oral or written form.
The major purpose of a report is to convey information. It may also deal with public opinion analysis through opinion polls or surveys. Certain insightful reports and proactive analysis help in taking business decisions easier. Some other reports are prepared expecting some kind of response or action from the concerned authority.
Report writing is an art. When some people write a report they, merely write a report. But successful reporters do a lot of home work before they write the report; i.e. they plan their reports keeping in mind the purpose of the report and the readers to give a fitting shape to their reports. They also carry out a lot of research into how to present their reports effectively before actually putting them on to paper.
The report should be reader oriented. The reporter should have an idea of how much the reader actually knows so that he/she can communicate at the level of their knowledge. The reporter should also know the attitudes of the readers (interests, likes and dislikes) so that the reporter can know what kind of article appeals to them. If the reporter knows what the reader really wants, he/she can prepare the report accordingly. The general format for reports includes the heading, content, expression and enclosures.