Writing a News Story
Learning how to write a news story isn’t all that hard if you keep a few principles in mind. Of course, you have to practice, but as long as you follow the principles below, you should do fine, even as a beginner.
Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?
This is the basis of all news – you need to answer the who, what, when, where, why and the how. All good news stories answer all six of these questions.
For example, if you are covering a news story about a local business helping out a local school by rebuilding run down playground equipment…
- Who is the business? Who is the school? Who are the prominent organizers of the project? Who are the school administrators involved?
- What is run down? What is the business going to do about it?
- Where is the school? Where is the business?
- When is the project to take place? How long have they been preparing?
- Why are they doing it? Why has the equipment run down? Why can’t the school board fix it?
- How are they going to fix it? Do they need to raise money? How is the school going to make sure it takes care of the new equipment?
Tips on How To Write a News Story
Take Care of the Important Stuff First
Your first paragraph should give readers an overview of the entire story. The rest of the article gives further information and explanation of the info given in the first paragraph.
The same principle can apply to other means of writing or video, etc. Get the important stuff in close to the top. Anyone scanning articles may go no further than one or two paragraphs before they either get bored or get distracted by something else…this is a particular hazard when they are reading online. Email, Facebook, Youtube, etc are all beckoning your reader…grab their attention and give them the most important information as soon as possible in your story.
More News Writing Tips
- Have Your Own “Take” on the Story. Popular stories are written by thousands of people and published in thousands of newspapers both online and offline. The way to stand out is to have an ‘angle’ that is unique to you and to the message you want to portray.
- Be Impartial. Having your own angle doesn’t mean you can cover one point of view if there is more than one side of the story or any controversy. Present all major viewpoints to your reader. Only use ‘I’ and ‘me’ if you are directly quoting someone who used those words.
- Personal stories are important. You need to make it about how it affects people, not just a bunch of facts. how will it help kids to have a playground, how does it affect those giving their time to help build it?
- Use Quotes. Example: “We are really excited about getting this equipment for our kids.” Said Jane Doe from the Schooltown PTA, “Now they’ll have a place to play just like all of the other schools across town.”
Last But not Least…
When writing a news story, use short sentences and paragraphs. You don’t want tons of descriptive language. It’s a good idea to go through once you’re done and remove words and phrases that aren’t necessary to the story.
People are looking for news that informs, not that should win creative writing contests.
** Note, when writing for EpostMedia or other online news publications, you should also get a good knowledge of how to write using keywords that will show up in the search engines. Our members get free video tutorials that teaches them how to properly incorporate keywords into their articles and tags for best search engine results.
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(* These principles on How To Write a News Story were taught by mediacollege.com)