News articles writing is challenging since they present information in a special way. As a journalist, you need to depict facts clearly and objectively, allowing your audience to see everything most purely. Learning how to write a news article will develop your writing skills and help you get closer to your dream career of a journalist. Let’s discuss some crucial aspects of this task.
Plan before you start
Do the research and get familiar with your topic. You need to know all the details before you start writing because this is the only way to produce a well-thought and credible piece. To learn more about the topic, ask yourself the following questions:
- What happened?
- Who took part in the event?
- What are the reasons?
- Where did it happen?
- When did it happen?
- How exactly did it happen?
These questions will let you shape the basis of your future article. Proceed with your research to gather more facts and then divide them into three categories:
- Facts you need to include in your text
- Points that are interesting to know but not related to the primary purpose
- Facts that are relevant but not vital
Using this categorization, you won’t miss anything meaningful about the story. Keeping them in mind, you will create a structured and complete piece. The unnecessary parts can be eliminated later.
Also, before you start writing, you need to make sure that you know your audience, their age, and background. This will help you realize what tone and language you need to use. However, not only your article is essential for readers, but for you as well. Think about yourself as an author. What is your personal voice and angle? Do you have experience connected with the topic? Add a bit of yourself into the piece (but don’t overdo with that, if you are not a Gonzo journalist).
Writing your article
- The lead
News article format suggests that you need to grab readers’ attention from the very first sentence. The opening paragraph is extremely important. Remember that the audience won’t devote too much time to the content that doesn’t grab their attention from the first second. Start with the most exciting things and move to less interesting throughout your work. The first paragraph should depict your topic clearly and simply. Your readers want to know what is your piece about and why should they read it.
- The body
Now move to the body of your text. Here you should provide all relevant facts and essential details connected to your first paragraph. Come back to the list of questions made at the very beginning and give answers to them. The purpose of this paragraph is to inform your audience about the event. If you are writing not just informational but also analytical or opinion article, you need to proceed with your ideas about the event.
Include additional facts and information like quotes and links. Chances are that your readers are not entirely familiar with the topic or people involved.
As a journalist, you need to engage your audience and provoke them to form an opinion. Even if you are not presenting your own point of view in the article, your readers still need to have enough material to come up with their conclusion. Take a look at sample news articles on the web, and you will see that some journalists prefer to appeal to readers’ emotions rather than critical thinking skills. The choice is yours.
In the last part of your piece, you should give readers something they can reflect on. Let’s say, your ideas about potential solutions to the problem depicted in the article or future research on the theme. If you have no idea about how to write a newspaper article and finish it smartly, take a look at news and shows. Try to emulate the way the author or speaker ends the story.
The article cannot be considered as finished before you check facts. You cannot publish the materials without checking them, because if some incorrect information sneaks into your work, you will discredit yourself as a professional. Not only you need to be sure that your data comes from relevant sources. Also check if your article is free from embarrassing errors like misspelled names, wrong dates, or contact info.
If your article is informational, make sure that it sounds objective and doesn’t impose any personal views. On the contrary, if your article is an opinion one, make sure that it is written in your own voice. However, in both cases, you should avoid too negative/positive judgments and harsh language. If the article is analytical, check if you have provided enough explanations. Also, don’t forget that you shouldn’t focus on your point of view only – include other opinions as well.
Cite and list the sources at the end of the article. Most journalists use AP formatting style, so make sure that you are familiar with the rules. If not – consult with the latest manual.
Young journalists should realize that we live in a fast and changing world, where lumps of information appear every second. So many articles appear every day! You need to make sure that you do a really good job when writing yours. Make it honest, transparent, engaging, and lively.