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how to write a news story

pauline c. tome
Posted: 2015-07-13

Before your start writing a news story, you first have to consider if what the topic, person and/or event you are writing about can actually be considered news. First off, a news story is new, informative and interesting. If it’s not at all that recent, then that isn’t news. If the topic won’t elicit a reaction, won’t event hold the public’s interest or just simply boring—then it is not news. If you are generally not bringing new knowledge, then what you’re going to write can’t be considered news. Once you’re ready and sure that the topic is new, informative and interesting enough, follow the simple steps below to write your news story: 1. Follow the inverted pyramid structure When writing a news story, follow the inverted pyramid structure or format. Simply put, always remember to put the most important details first. Think of it as telling an important story to a friend. As important as the information is, you won’t go telling vague, unrelated details first—you’d go straight to the point and save the background information for later. That is the same manner in which you should write your news story. To better understand this should know the parts of a news story –the lead, lead support, body and background—as well as their particular functions and the kind of information they usually contain. The lead is the first sentence of your article; it contains most, if not all, of the 5Ws (who, when, where, what, why) and 1H (how). The most important details are written here. The lead support, from the term itself, supports the information stated in the lead. Usually, the Ws not mentioned in the lead are placed here. The information from the lead and lead support are further discussed in detail in the body, and the background contains the least important information as well as general background information about the topic or subject. 2. Get at least two credible sources Follow the two-source rule. You story won’t be believable if you don’t have sources—some experts, persons of authority and even eye-witnesses—to support the information you’ve acquired. Say, you’re writing a crime about a recent theft. You can interview and/or get information from the investigating officer and/or the victim himself. It’s always best to get at least two sources to strengthen the claims made in the article. 3. Attribute Whenever new information is presented, make sure to attribute it to its source. Details of the story definitely cannot come from you, even if, say you were there when it happened. Whether it’s a direct quote or information written as background, you have to cite who said it. Otherwise, people will be left wondering where your facts came from—if those were real or simply made up by you. 4. Facts over Opinions Always remember that there is no room for opinions in a news story. Whatever opinion you have about the matter, go throw it out. All there should be in a news story are facts. There should be no biases, no opinions, no emotional lines and the like. You have to be objective and simply be a reporter of information, rather than someone who presents facts and also aims to elicit public sympathy. Leave that to the editorial writers. 5. Keep it Short and Direct A news story, compared to a feature article, does not beat around the bush and uses colorful sentences. A news article is direct; it presents the information the soonest and has a simpler choice of words. Before submitting your story, double-check if there are sets of words that can be reduced and/or simplified further.

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