How to Write a News Story

Every newspaper, whether it is electronic or physical paper and where it can found, all share a common characteristic. They tell news (Duh). That’s why they are named NEWSpapers. Such detail on certain stories however can come in a variety of subjects. It can cover many different fields of interest; and in order to organize such a vast array of topics, every newspaper is split into sections that determine in which where a certain story/article belongs to if it is going to be published.

Depending on the scope of the paper, there can be dozens of sections; some of which are naturally bigger and more important than others. For example, there are the news Section, the opinion Section, the entertainment or art Section, the feature section, the sport section, and the classified section. As stated before, this is subject to be diminished or expanded upon. However, perhaps one of the most important and most viewed of the newspaper sections is the news section. Please don’t let the surprise overwhelm you.

Similar to news stations on TV, the news sections is responsible for covering local community, state, national and international news events. This section is generally found in the beginning of the paper on the front page. This isn’t a surprise as it covers the most current and news.

In order to write a story for the news section, one must first find a story of relevant interest; a story of an event that has recently transpired and the public would be interested on knowing more information. After a topic is decided, as quoted by Open High School Courses, “a news story always has a lead, which is the first couple of sentences of the article. The lead will always include the most important details of the story: who, what, where, when, why, and how. One can find out what has happened by only reading the lead of an article.”

It is always a good idea to plan before one starts writing about the topic that has been chosen. People have been taught this since grammar school. Knowing what one wants to say before actually saying it lessens the chance of mistakes. However, some writers actually find this first step a hindrance. They see it as an unnecessary limitation that wastes time and effort and nothing is gained from the process. And that’s fine. Some writers can just sit down and write. Naturally, they then go through the paper or article afterwards for any mistakes that may or may not have slipped through. This is also when they change anything or add something that wasn’t there before. Some writers enjoy that process more than planning everything in advance. Both process can be used to reached the best article or paper, it all depends on the individual writer herself or himself.

When one begins to actually start writing, research into whatever topic the article or paper is about. Research can be accomplished through interviews and consulting sources of fact such as a published books. This research provides the body of the article and the more accurate and current the research is, the more accurate and current the article or paper would be. “To begin writing a news article you need to research the topic you will be writing about extensively. In order to have a credible, well written, well structured article, you have to know the topic intimately,” (wikihow). This process could be related to planning.

Once a writer has their topic of interest and research relating to said topic, the article must first start with a headline that captures the readers’ attention. Generally, readers are not interested in reading every article in the paper. They will instead just skim over the headlines and, judging by those, will either read that article or not. The more interesting the headline is, the more likely the people will stop skimming and actually read the article itself. This goes without saying, but the headline must also be related to the story itself. Don’t just write the most unique or weird thing that pops into mind. Be creative but still be truthful.

There must be a byline in order to give the writer credit. Any photography that may or may not coincide with the article must also receive the proper credit it(s) deserves. The spelling of the name is a make-it-or-break-it scenario. The writer is either right or wrong, and being wrong can upset a lot of people. So make sure the spelling is right. Despite the fact that this piece of information on the article is hardly looked at, it is still important to include this detail.

And finally, perhaps the most crucial piece is the body, which contains all of the information, facts, and first-hand quotes the writer has divulged through interviews and research. Any “facts” used must be undeniably true with no room for argument. When writing the body, it is imperative that no personal opinions be placed in a news article unless in a quote. That will cause the article to become bias and lose its status as a news article and be changed to an opinion piece. Writing in the third person is another important concept when writing a news piece. When all of these steps are used, the piece is written well and the research is sound, odds are that one has achieved writing a news story.

Writing a news piece can be the hardest story to write for a newspaper. The strict requirements for what facts make the cut and the almost detached persona one must undergo when writing it so no personal statements hinder the story can really increase the pressure to write a decent story. It deserves the truth and nothing but the truth! While writing the news story can be difficult, it is these stories that are read the most often and the stories the public is the most concerned with. They are the backbone of the whole paper. And a good newspaper needs a good back.




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