A Complete Guide on How to Write a News Article

How to Write a News Article

The toughest job of being a journalist is not getting hold of a story; it is getting that story out properly. Even the best of information becomes bland when Writing isn’t attractive. The presentation of a news article matters as much as, if not more than, the actual information in it. Therefore, it is essential to know how to write a news article.

There are several steps that, when taken into proper consideration, make a new story flourish. So, today we will look through the process on how to write a news article the proper way!

Writing a new story is not a simple task. Right from when the story has been considered, the process of writing the news article begins. The entire process might take different times — it may be quick or may take months too. Writing an article is a unique skill in itself, but writing a news story is distinctly different from writing other pieces.

There are quite a few things that one needs to keep in mind while writing a news story. Chief among them is the adherence to truthfulness and objectivity. These are the fundamentals of writing a news story and must be kept in mind at all times. There are several features of a story that makes it “newsworthy,” and it is essential to understand the newsworthiness of a topic before pursuing it.

Once you have locked in into a specific topic (or have been provided one), you can start the process of writing the news article. There are three phases of writing an essay. The first involves Planning, the second concerns the actual Writing, and the third includes Proofing. Let us guide you on how to write a news article in a step-by-step manner.

1. Planning the Article

a. Do Your Research

This goes without saying. Before knowing how to write a news article, you must be adept at researching. An excellent feature story has in-depth research that backs it up. It does not matter if you are quite familiar with the subject matter already — you can never know enough about something.

In this age of the internet, there is no shortage in the amount of information available to us. However, one must never overlook the old-school method of going through books and documents for information. It is always best to hit the library and check out all kinds of books on the subject matter, including background information about the subject(s) involved in the story.

The leading information that you need to find out can be summed by the “5 W and 1 H” (sometimes called the 6 W). These include:

  • WHO

  • WHAT

  • WHERE

  • WHY

  • WHEN

  • HOW

These are the primary questions that need to be answered by your article for it to be complete.

start to write

[Credits: Pixabay / Engin_Akyurt]

b. Interview People

This is vital. For your story to have higher credibility, it must be backed by interviews of people connected to the concerned subject matter. However, while taking interviews, be sure to contact the right people.

An interview from a person who is irrelevant to the case is essentially valueless. You may also interview people who are experts in the subject matter being discussed.

However, not all stories require interviews. It is up to the judgment of the reporter whether or not to include interviews in his news story.

Taking Interviews

[Credits: Pexels / CoWomen]

c. Find an Angle

This is one of the most crucial parts of knowing how to write a news story. An angle is the theme of the story — basically, what the story is trying to convey. Since a news story is covered by multiple news channels at the same time, it is very important to find an angle that makes your story unique and sets it apart from the others. A unique perspective will also increase your credibility as a reporter.

2. Writing the Article

Once you have prepared to research and compile all your facts, it is time to start writing the news article. There are several parts of a news story, which we will cover below. While writing a feature story, it is crucial to follow the inverted triangle format (or inverted pyramid). If you really want to know how to write a news article, you must be well-versed with the inverted pyramid format.

Inverted Pyramid

Inverted Pyramid [Credits: Public Domain / The Air Force Departmental Publishing Office (AFDPO)]

a. Headline

The headline (or ‘title’) of the story is a very important part of the story — it tells the readers what your story is about. Often, a reader decides whether or not to read a story based on its headline. A headline may be short (three to four words) or long (one sentence) — it is the decision of the editor.

b. Byline

The byline is the name of the writers involved in authoring the news story. It may just be you or may include other people who helped as well.

c. Lead

The lead (sometimes written as ‘lede’) is the first paragraph of the news story. Sometimes it is just a single sentence, and sometimes it may have two or three sentences. The lead summarizes the article for the reader and usually answers most of the essential questions (5 W and 1 H). A good point will try to answer all these essential questions.

The leading sentence (that is why it’s called ‘lead’) must be a strong one so that it can effectively grab the attention of the reader. A strong leading sentence indicates a well-written news story. Mo st of the readers are in a hurry and usually read only the lead. Therefore, the lead paragraph must contain all the basic facts and important information about the news story.

d. The Story

Once the lead is written, it is time to write the actual news story. The body of the story will contain all the important information that was left out of the lead, as well as additional information.

While writing the story, keep in mind to follow the inverted pyramid format. Write the main information first, and then follow it up with additional information and facts to back it up. This will ensure that the readers are aware of the story during the early stages of the newspaper report instead of having to read the entire story.

While writing the story, keep in mind to include both sides of the story to present a balanced article. If the article is balanced, you will be perceived as biased towards one hand, and your credibility will suffer. Be careful about this while learning how to write a news story.

news articles

[Credits: Pexels / cottonbro]

e. Conclusion

The conclusion or the ending of the article is the final paragraph of the news story, and it can be either extra information, analysis, or even a summary of the story. The conclusions can also be written in a non-traditional way — for example, a relevant quote which will give the readers a sense of the news story.

3.Proofing the Article

While learning how to write a news story is very important, it is equally important to learn how to proofread it to avoid any errors or mistakes. A story that is full of language and factual errors will be instantly disregarded by the readers and will hurt the credibility of the writer. The author of the news article must be careful to keep his article error-free.

There are a few important steps that can be undertaken to ensure that.

a. Rereading the Article

This is the first and the most natural step. Often, while writing a news story, we miss or overlook the errors that we make. When we reread the same article, we spot these errors easily.

It helps if we read the article out loud because, in that way, both our visual and auditory senses are engaged. Check any spelling mistakes and grammatical errors are there in your article and correct them.

reading a newspaper

[Credits: Pexels / mali maeder]

b. Rechecking the Facts

Facts are the cornerstone of any good news article. Sometimes, while writing the news article, we may unwittingly include points that are incorrect or outdated. Before sending the article for publication, it is wise to recheck all your facts and sources and verify their correctness. This way, your piece will stand no chance of being maligned.

c. Checking the formatting

You have to check the formatting style of your article to ensure that you have followed a consistent format. Generally, news articles must follow the Associated Press formatting guidelines, and it is recommended to follow it unless your editor has specified otherwise. It is advised that the author memorizes and familiarises himself with the guidelines to ensure no errors during publication.

d. Checking the Tone

It is vital to be consistent with the tone of your article. Your article can either be a hard news article (which is objective and informative) or opinion pieces (which are incredibly subjective and marked as such). When writing a news story, be careful about following only one tone. Do not switch between the sounds.

4.What Next?

Once you have followed these important steps, you will have a finished news article in your hands. Now it is time to pass this article to your editor or publish it directly (based on the guidelines of your organization). You have finished all the steps to know how to write a news article and have successfully written one!

5.DOs and DON’Ts of Writing a News Article

Although it is important to know how to write a news article, certain things need to be kept in mind. While writing a news article, there are several unwritten rules that you are expected to follow. Following these rules will not only enhance your news story, but it will also increase your journalistic credibility. Below, we listed some of these rules.

typing the work

[Credits: Unsplash / Trent Erwin]

The DOs

a. Always use active voice. The reason is that sentences written in active voices are usually shorter and easier to follow than those written in passive voices. Therefore, try to avoid passive voice unless it is necessary.

b. Include the viewpoints of both sides of the story. If you can include both sides of the story, you will come across as objective and unbiased. News is supposed to be impartial.Do not forget to include the important details.

However, opinion pieces are an exception and are usually extremely subjective. However, they should be marked as such to separate it from hard news.

c. Follow the inverted pyramid format. Lead with the essential facts and follow it up with additional information. Most people only read the first couple of paragraphs before they start losing interest. Therefore, it is vital to give away all the information in the first few paragraphs so that the readers can quickly judge whether to read the entire news story or not.

d. Use small and crisp sentences. If the sentences are too long, the reader may lose interest or may even get confused. Shorter sentences convey more information in limited space.

e. Use quotes carefully and adequately. While quotes are an essential part of a news story, they must be used with proper precautions. When using quotes, be careful about using the exact wordings of the speaker.

Do not change the wordings, even if it contains a grammatical error. When quoting someone, always include proper context if you think that there is a risk of misunderstanding the said quote.

f. Try and use a positive tone, even when describing adverse events. For example, “David Silva will not be signing a new Manchester City contract” should be avoided. Instead, write “David Silva rejected a new Manchester City contract.” The news which is written in a positive tone is more engaging to the readers.

 

The DON’Ts

a. Avoid technical jargon. Every industry has its technical jargon, which cannot be understood by laymen. Some words are specific to the legal, medical, or journalistic profession.

When writing a news story, remember that you are writing it for everyone. Therefore, avoid using the technical terms as much as possible and replace them with words that are easy to understand.

b.Avoid flowery language. You are not writing an essay or poem; you are writing a news article. Do not use unnecessarily dramatic language. Showing off your vocabulary skills will not earn you any brownie points while writing a feature story.

c.Avoid redundancy. News space is costly, and readers have a limited span of attention. Do not waste them on repeating any points that you have already made. Use concise language throughout your news article.

d.Avoid using foreign phrases and words. Instead of using Latin phrases like per se, use English alternatives like ‘as such’ or ‘in itself.’

e.Avoid acronyms. If you need to use abbreviations, refer to them in full at least once in the article, preferably in the first inst

Now you know all the steps on how to write a news article! If you follow the steps and rules mentioned, the chances are that your news article will be error-free and of high quality. However, as with anything else, news article writing is a skill that can be enhanced with practice. Therefore, get down to writing articles, and with each one finished, you will be a better news reporter.

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Sushruta Bhattacharjee