News writing is quite different from other forms of writing. The main characteristic of a news piece is that you get a real life story in the briefest and most information packed form possible, arranged in a logical and systematic structure. Here are 5 key tips to help write a good news article:
1. News in pyramid structure:
With most other types of written content, the introduction, background, premise and arguments constitute the beginning and body of the piece, while the conclusion or the main point is presented at the end of the piece. News writing requires the exact opposite approach. The main point of the story- the actual news- must be presented at the very beginning of the article. Then, the essential details must be provided in subsequent lines, followed by interesting but not essential details, finally ending with background details for any reader who is interested enough to know.
This is called the pyramid structure, and the point of this format is to allow the readers to grab the gist of the news story right at the start, and then continue to read for more information if they choose to. If the readers stop reading at any point along the news article, the story should still make sense.
The facts and details should be arranged in this order: essential facts > useful information > Interesting details but not essential > background and supporting information.
2. The “5 Ws and H”:
A news article is all about providing details and information regarding an event. So make sure that all the essential facts have been provided. The “5 Ws and H” are the main points to include while writing the news.
Who, What, When, How, Why and Where- these six questions need to be answered in the news article, and should ideally be covered within the first few lines. The ‘Who’ and the ‘What’ especially should be mentioned at the start, since most news is about people doing something.
3. First line:
The first sentence of the news article is most important and it lets the reader know immediately what the story is. Reading further will then depend on the reader’s interest in that particular event; in any case the reader would be informed about the main points of the event from the first line.
This doesn’t mean that you need to include the “5 Ws and H” in the first line itself. The first line should be catchy while remaining informative, and entice the reader to read on for more details.
4. Succinct and to the point:
Journalists are given tight word counts or column spaces. Within this restriction, they need to include the exciting news scoop, all the relevant details and the background information needed to understand the context- all the while trying to make the story sound interesting and appealing to readers. It is a tough call!
It often helps to make a clear outline of the news article before writing it, to ensure that all the facts and information have been included, and arranged in order of decreasing relevance to the story.
5. Stay unbiased:
News writing requires objectivity from the author, and should just focus on reporting the facts- accurately and concisely. Even if you feel strongly about the story, try to keep it free of personal opinions, speculations, unnecessary remarks, or any editorial comments. The tone of the article should not reflect any positive or negative leaning towards the story or any persons involved in it.
Image credit: Alexander Torrenegra on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/CS_Rajan.jpg [/author_image] [author_info]CS Rajan is a freelance writer who loves to write on various topics, and is currently working on her first novel. [/author_info] [/author]