Journalism – 7 tips in writing a news article

There are plenty of dos and don’ts in journalism. But, when it comes to crafting the story, you need to fixate on the task at hand, by focusing on what you need to be doing right.

News Writing Structure

News writing has its own structure. It’s called the inverted pyramid; an upside down triangle that serves as a guide on how to place the information in the story.

  1. Start with the most important information,
  2. Then put the next most important information together.
  3. Use it as a guide for writing each paragraph in the story.
  4. Move on to the most important point, then the next most important and so on.
  5. With the rest spread through the remaining column.

The inverted pyramid has an interesting history. Before digital printing and desktop publishing, news was laid out manually. When a late breaking story came in, the editor needed to make room, by cutting another story. With the most important information at the top, readers always got the gripping news first.

1. Choose a newsworthy event or topic

  • It is key to know when something is newsworthy and when something is not.
  • It must be current and interest readers: be unique, active, and impactful.
  • Locality is important – focus on your community. Only cover worldwide events if they have an impact on your particular audience.

2. Conduct timely, in-person interviews with witnesses

  • Get interviews with the right people, as soon as possible.

3. Establish the five Ws

  • Within your first paragraph, you need to establish the who, what, when, and where of your piece. The why and how fits in the following paragraphs, in your  pyramid.

4. Construct your piece

  • Start putting your piece together. Begin with the necessary information, and let the rest trickle down. You’ll start to get a feeling for this process as you continue to write journalistically.

5. Insert quotations

  • After your article is developed, you might choose to add quotations.Be sure to identify these key people in the story by their full name, occupation, and age.

6. Research additional facts and figures

  • Make your piece stand out from the pack. Add that extra touch.

7. Read your article out loud before publication

  • It helps with sentence structure, phrasing, and the overall flow of your story.
  • Keep it simple. The meaning must be unmistakable, and it must be succinct.

Adjectives

should not be allowed in newspapers unless they have something to say. An adjective should only be used to answer questions in the reader’s mind.