How to write a good newspaper articlePresentation Transcript
How to Write a GoodNewspaper Article By Shorina Ann Chuvash State University
To whom it may concern
Instructions Write a strong lead. The first paragraph of the article is also called the lead. This paragraph - usually one or two sentences - must be a brief summary of the main purpose of the article, which answers the basic questions of "who, what, when, where, how and why.“
Number 2 Write the newspaper article in the inverted pyramid format. This means the most important, most vital facts should be mentioned first, with the less important facts mentioned later in the article. The first paragraph must be more important than the second, and the second paragraph more important than the third and so on.
Number 3 Read over the article body and where necessary, provide support for all claims and arguments need attribution. If youre making an assertion in the article, this must be attributed to someone. Ask yourself, "According to who?" If information in an article cannot be attributed to a reliable, appropriate source, its not suitable for publication. This will avoid the publication of erroneous claims, rumors and hearsay.
Number 4 Write a conclusion to re-summarize the most important facts of the article. When writing about a series of events, newspaper article conclusion will also usually provide information on the next step in the process. The conclusion should also include information on where to obtain more information, such as a website or phone number - these should be the very last things in an article, making them easy for the reader to find and refer back to.
Tips & Warnings When writing about an event, chronological order is vital and its usually a form of the inverted pyramid. But if the most important part of the story occurs later in the series of events, be sure to mention this important fact early on in the article, in the first, second or third paragraph.
Journalism and economy go together? Use word economy. If you can say itin five words instead of ten, then fivewords is all you need.
Keep it simple No big words! Newspapers are written for a twelve-year-olds reading level, in order to accommodate readers of all backgrounds and abilities. Big, fancy wording is fine for academic writing or novels, but in newspapers, big, fancy words only confuse readers.
Everytime is the first time Provide background information. When writing about the latest in a series of events, do not assume precursory knowledge. Assume the reader is picking up the newspaper for the very first time, with no prior knowledge about a situation.
Spell it out Write for the layman. If a newspaper article discusses things that are not considered to be common knowledge, background information must be provided. When in doubt, spell it out for people.
Grammar importance Always look up words that youre unsure how to spell. A newspaper article full of spelling errors has little credibility.
Make everything clear Always present both sides of an argument, even if its just in passing. Its vital that the opposite point of view is represented, or readers may mistakenly believe the primary view thats discussed is the only view.
Keep track of the most important things When wondering what facts to write about next when writing a newspaper in pyramid format, ask, "Whats the most important fact that Ive yet to address?" This will give a newspaper article greater direction.
Is that relevant? When using quotations, be sure to capture the speakers or writers intention. Do not misrepresent a point of view by using quotations out of context or in a manner that the speaker did not intend.
Get your quotes correct! If yourquotes are wrong, youre going to hearabout it and this is very damaging to ajournalists credibility within thecommunity. Use a tape recorder, ifnecessary. And if youre unsure aboutthe wording of a quote, dont use it.
Do you know what libel is? Do youknow what constitutes libel? If not, youshould! Anyone who writes anewspaper article must understandwhat is libelous. Libel can land you incourt or in the unemployment office(for professional journalists), so learnabout libel before writing a newspaper article.
What is Libel? Libel, simply stated, is harm to anindividual’s reputation, either on apersonal or professional level.Therefore, words, pictures,advertisements or cartoons that causea person to be subject to publichatred, shame or ridicule areconsidered libelous.
Libel is a concept thateach and everyjournalist shouldunderstand. Just oneallegation of libel canruin a writers career,resulting in thatindividual being"blacklisted" by editorsand publishers alike,as a reporter who isconvicted of libel istypically viewed as aliability to apublication, website ornews organization.
Notably, libel is oftenconfused with slander.Its important tounderstand thedifference betweenslander and libel;slander is spoken andtherefore applies tobroadcasting andpublic speaking, whilelibel is written andaffects writers.
Where is Libel Found? According to The An example of this Associated Press would involve a Stylebook and Libel reporter writing a story Manual, the vast that implied that two majority of libel cases co-defendants in a are the result of a court case were facing published allegation of the exact same crime, incompetence charges, when in or immorality. And the actuality, one was majority of these facing a charge of first- cases can be linked to degree murder, while the usage of the other was charged erroneous, vague or with second-degree inexact language. murder.
Libel cases can alsobe rooted in theimplications that aremade in a story.Omitting a person’sname, for example,is not sufficient if theadditional detailsprovided clearlyidentify theindividual.
While the majority of libel Journalists must alsocases result from publishedreports of scandals and crimes, realize that accuratelyjournalists must also realize that reporting a libelous claimlibel can arise from some veryunexpected places. In his does not give thembook My Life and the immunity to a libel suit.Times, Turner Catledge, According to thelongtime managing editor forThe New York Times, recalls Associated Press (AP),instances where pranksters had “Accurate reporting willsubmitted fictitious engagementannouncements that said sworn not prevent libel if thereenemies had planned to wed. is no privilege, either theThis illustrates how important itis for the conscientious constitutional privilege orjournalist to verify even the the fair report privilege.”seemingly benign claim.
Absolute Privilege, Qualified Privilege and Avoiding Libel A journalist’s best defense Absolute privilege can be in a civil libel case proof called upon as a defense that the statement in when citing information from question is “provably true,” an official source, such as according to the AP. court documents, police “Quoting someone correctly reports and other documents is not enough. The that are considered public important thing is to be able record. It’s important to note to satisfy a jury that the that what falls under the libelous statement is category of “official” varies substantially correct.” The from state to state, therefore it journalist can then call is vital that a journalist be upon privilege, which falls familiar with the laws within into two categories: their particular jurisdiction if absolute or qualified. they are to successfully avoid libel.Journalists must also realize that accurately reporting a libelous claim does not give themimmunity to a libel suit. According to the Associated Press (AP), “Accurate reporting willnot prevent libel if there is no privilege, either the constitutional privilege or the fair report privilege.”
Absolute privilege Qualified privilege Absolute privilege is rooted Qualified privilege serves as a in the belief that a libelous defense when defamatory statements are made without statement may, in some ill will or malice. Qualified cases, be published or privilege applies to cases broadcast in the interest of when the written statement is the public’s greater good. published as part of an individual’s social, Therefore, a journalist can professional or moral duty. publish remarks made This is often the defense of a outside the arena of an reporter who is accused of official proceeding if they libel while covering a trial, as can prove that publishing reporting testimony and statements made during the the statement plays to the proceedings is part of the interest of the public. reporter’s professional duty.
In the case of editorial or opinion pieces, one is exempted from libel under the fair comment defense. The only stipulation is that one must clearly indicate that the statements are opinion, not fact. A defense based on privilege or fair comment will berendered useless if malice is involved. In cases where itcan be proved that a journalist published a piece withmalice aforethought and with the sole intent of harming anindividual, then that party will be held responsible for libel.
A Good Article is Easy to Readand Has a Logical Flow The paragraphs in your articles should be no more than 2 or 3 sentences, I’d say 4 at the very most. This makes the information easier for the reader to understand and digest. A paragraph with too many sentences is a lot to read on one idea and you’re likely to lose your readers attention. The first paragraph should give a good summary of what the article is about. It should be written to entice your reader to keep on reading.
Your ideas should flow logically.Skipping around from idea to idea andmaking repeat statements makes ithard for your reader to follow along. The last paragraph should concludeor sum up the main points of yourarticle. This is where you can highlightthe ideas that you want your readersto remember.
Use Bullet Points in Your Article Readers are often scanners, that means they pick out only the ideas that catch their eye, so make it easy for them to get those ideas quickly by using bullet points. Bullet points will break up the look of the article and help readers digest information faster by helping them pull out only the points they are most interested in.
A Good Article Writer Knows Their Audience Have a clear picture in your mind of your reader. What emotions, concerns and struggles will someone reading your article have? If you’re writing an article about homeschooling for example, your reader will probably be a stay at home mom. So what would the wants, desires and concerns be of a mom that home schools her kids be? They’ll probably be somewhat different than for the stay at home mom who sends her kids off to school every day. Know what those concerns and cares are and address them when writing your article.