Guide to News Articles

A news story is the backbone of any good paper. Comics, puzzles, and the like provide a small distraction, but the majority of people purchase and read newspapers for the informative articles. Good articles spell the difference between a successful paper and one that goes out of print. To make a high quality news story requires fulfilling several requirements, as well as finding a story that is worth sharing with the readers.

To make sure that story really is worth the time spent, research is often the first step and the most important. A good article will, at the very least, answer six basic questions about the event. Who, what, where, why, when, and how. As media college states, “Any good news story provides answers to each of these questions. You must drill these into your brain and they must become second nature.” Before writing even starts, these areas must be covered to ensure that all the facts are ready to be presented. A story without proper research runs the risk of being exposed as incorrect and this reflects poorly on an author’s career. Interviews and quotes can also be gathered and used to add extra weight to the article’s words.

When the field work is complete and the actual writing beginning, the next piece that can be looked at is the lead. “The lead, or opening paragraph, is the most important part of a news story…audiences simply are not willing to read beyond the first paragraph (and even sentence) of a story unless it grabs their interest. A good lead does just that,” Purdue Owl describes. It, and any pictures that are printed alongside, is the face of the article. The lead should answer the six questions quickly and efficiently so the rest of the article can expand upon them. The lead can be a summary of the story while the rest contains the details.

These details should be provided clearly and concisely. In newspapers, page space can be precious. Using as little of it as possible may make the article more attractive to editors. It is best not to mince words and make sure the facts are told in an easy to understand manner. About Education recommends to “Detail any events in chronological order. Use active voice—avoid passive voice when possible.” This will give the story a clear beginning, middle, and end which will go a long way towards its flow.

The ending especially should be a point of focus. A good conclusion will reaffirm the main points of the news story and wrap things up with any additional information. Often a story can be ended on a quote from someone involved to sum things up and give a little perspective on the details given, however, this may not always work and at points simply restating the facts and leaving the audience to create their own opinions on the matter will be better for the story in the long run. There should always be an attempt to end a piece strongly with a good, clear, memorable conclusion. Much unlike this paper does.



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