News articles: Three basic steps to better news articles

by on October 9, 2011
in Articles

News writing can be fast-paced, deadline-oriented and detail heavy. It demands a lot from a writer, but can also provide exceptional benefits. Any first year journalism student knows the basics of how to write a news article. The follow-up is how to add more depth and communicate the facts more concisely. In addition to “the who, what, when, how and why”, writing a better news article requires following three critical steps.

The first step focuses on the title or headline, if it is an option and on the introductory sentence or statement. You have only a few seconds in which to grab your reader’s attention of lose them completely. It won’t matter how great the rest of your article is if they don’t read it. Put your energy and feature the most intriguing detail of your news item in those opening words. Make the title a challenge or a mystery. Make it a must read. Then, open with an emphatic statement or a challenging remark. Do not let them simply glance at it and then wander off to the next section.

Step two concerns the sorts of words you choose to convey information. Writers love to play with words, to bend and pose them, contorting them into shapes that suite our purposes. In new article writing, however, there is less elasticity with language. Keeping your word count to a minimum is not only a prerequisite for some publications, but it ought to be your own goal. Short, well-written articles are more likely to be read completely.

Finally, don’t let your article draw to a conclusion without offering food for further thought, or perhaps a suggestion of what kinds of actions could or should be taken. Do not editorialize. That’s a temptation you have to resist. You can, however, draw logical conclusions based upon the facts and summarize.

When you write news articles, you don’t get the fun of creating characters and plots, but you do enjoy an awesome responsibility and privilege. It is your duty to report accurate information. Just be sure you catch the reader’s attention, provide that information in a short, concise manner and summarize it decisively. You’ll get and keep more readers with these steps, and who knows, soon you might be able to enjoy doing a little editorializing? 

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