Tips on Writing an Effective News Article
No matter whether you write for a school newspaper, look for a job in journalism, or complete a specific assignment, you should know how to write a good article. Here are some tips from College Writers on how to sound like a real reporter.
First of all, you have to research your news story. Therefore, you must decide what you want to write about. Sometimes, you may get a topic assigned by your instructor or editor. However, quite often, you can choose the story yourself.
If you can choose a topic, we suggest that you pick some subject you can relate to. Choose something related to your personal experience so that you will know what to cover, having your own perspective. On the other hand, make sure that your opinion is not biased. Your personal opinion shouldn’t affect your conclusions.
You should also choose a topic that is interesting to other people. For example, if you’re writing about your favorite sport, make sure to read various articles and interviews that will provide you with a more broad picture so that you won’t write the entire article about your favorite team. Always look for useful background information about any events, organizations, or people.
We also suggest interviewing several people to get more information and to be able to provide quotes that will illustrate the public’s opinion on the subject. Don’t be afraid to interview important or famous people. You can make your interview formal or informal, creating a comfortable setting. Look for people who have strong opinions on your topic and the necessary background. Make sure you write down their words accurately. Inform your interviewees about the fact that you’re going to quote them.
The Structure of a News Article
Before you get to writing the article itself, you should understand its structure.
A title or a headline: The headline should be catchy and clear. We suggest that you use Associated Press guidelines. For example, you should capitalize the first word, without capitalizing others. Don’t spell out numbers. Although headlines are often written by other staff members, you will certainly better focus on your subject if you do it yourself.
A byline: The byline includes your name.
A lead (lede): This is the first paragraph of your article that briefly summarizes the whole story and provides the key facts. The lead helps your audience understand whether or not they want to read the whole article, providing them with crucial information.
The story: Once you’ve written a good lead, get to the main part of your article, providing facts that you’ve learned while researching, along with quotes from your interviews. Don’t focus on your own opinions and make sure you describe all the events chronologically. Avoid using the passive voice and make sure your sentences are clear and concise.
The format of the news article requires you to put the most important information at the beginning, following it with supporting information. You should make sure that your readers understand all the critical facts before you provide them with various details.
The sources: Include your sources when you add quotes. Don’t write the list of sources in footnotes or at the end of the article, as thу news format is different from academic papers.
The ending: Your conclusion may be a quote that leaves your readers with something to think about. It can also summarize the whole article or provide the last bit of information.