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How to Write News Articles

By: Liz Wu - Updated: 20 Sep 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
News Article Inverted Pyramid Lead

There are many ways to approach writing journalistic articles, but one of the most common is the inverted pyramid structure. Basically, what this amounts to is supplying the most important information at the beginning of the piece, then covering additional information by order of importance.

In such an approach, the first line, or lead, must convey the gist of the piece. One should be able to read the first paragraph of this sort of news article and know immediately what the piece is about. The last line or paragraph is the least important; this allows editors to easily cut unnecessary information.

Section 1: Lead The most pertinent information, who, what, where, when, how and why.

Section 2-end: More information in order of decreasing importance.

Last section: The least essential information.

The following is an example of the inverted pyramid style:

On May 1st, a London fruit vendor was caught stealing wallets in Trafalgar Square.

James Bristle, 35, says he became desperate after the drought caused fruit prices to skyrocket.

Bristle, who is well-known in the area for his "Premium Plums and Peaches," says he has been unable to sell even half of his wares during the last month.

He began to pick pockets in order to buy medicine for his dying dog.

"I had no choice," he said. "Pete's the only friend I have. He'd have done the same for me."

Depending on what you deem to be most pertinent, the facts can be rearranged:

On May 1st, James Bristle, a London fruit vendor, began picking pockets in an attempt to save his dying dog.

"I had no choice," he said. "Pete's the only friend I have."

Bristle, 35, says he has been unable to sell even half of his wares during the last month because of the effects of the drought on the fruit market.

He is well-known in Trafalgar Square, the area in which he was caught, for his "Premium Plums and Peaches."

Whatever you choose to focus on, there are some basic guidelines to follow when writing a news story:

  • Try to include as much of the who, what, where, when, why, and how in your opening sentence (lead).
  • Keep sentences short and to the point.
  • Though it may be tempting to save the best for last, this is not news style. Give the juiciest bits of information up front.
  • Withhold opinions. While appropriate in persuasive essays, it is considered unprofessional in news-writing.
  • Avoid making conclusions. While necessary to a strong essay, journalists present the facts and leave their readers to draw their own conclusions.
To really get a feel for this style of news-writing, pick up a daily newspaper and try identifying the sections of the article. Observe what makes a good lead - what attracts your attention, and what doesn't. Make a guess about what the piece is about based on the first line or two of an article and see if the rest of the piece is consistent. Finally, dissect an article - the who, what, where, when, why and how - and write your own version based on the same information. Before long, you will be ready to take on assignments of you own.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Adeline - Your Question:
It helped me a lot. I am always interested of how to write a news article but I am having a hard time because I write more of essays and draw my opinions out or conclude something. I am more on making speeches on debates and sorts so things will be hard. Also, I am kind of love flowery words because I write novels and these tips are keeping me not to. Thank you!

Our Response:
You are welcome - we are glad you have found the site useful.
ExploreWriting - 1-Dec-16 @ 10:56 AM
It helped me a lot. I am always interested of how to write a news article but I am having a hard time because I write more of essays and draw my opinions out or conclude something. I am more on making speeches on debates and sorts so things will be hard. Also, I am kind of love flowery words because I write novels and these tips are keeping me not to. Thank you!
Adeline - 30-Nov-16 @ 1:20 PM
Really got what it means. but how about when writing a headline, or a slug? What do we need to remember or to put in mind?
Ace - 20-Jun-12 @ 10:56 AM
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