An issue is a topic that people are concerned about or have opinions on. Politicians often say that they want to talk about the issues, rather than personal matters or attacks. You can also use the word to refer to a particular problem that someone has, like when you say, “He’s got issues.”
When writing an issue-oriented article, be sure not to paint a stereotypical or idyllic picture of your subject matter. This is especially important in news stories about international events. For example, if you’re writing about the war in Iraq, don’t just describe the mutilation of a child by a suicide bomber – include an interview with the girl who survived and explain what she went through.
The United Nations and its specialized agencies work on many different kinds of issues, from conflict resolution to the empowerment of women and the peaceful uses of atomic energy. The goal of the UN is to improve the lives of all people around the world.
The original meaning of the word issue was to send out or put forth; to distribute. The post office, for instance, issues new stamps each month. The word now usually refers to a current topic of concern, which is why you might hear someone say, “He’s got some issues.” However, the definition of issue is much more broad than that; it could also mean something that comes up in an argument, such as a disagreement about a bill.