Let’s talk about …News WritingCUFWRT301A: Write content for a range of media
Today’s objective To identify the key writingtechniques used in new stories.
The three golden rules…There are three golden rules to news writing.Keep it: Short Sweet To the point
Keeping it short600 words and under News stories are usually between 100 and 600 words, depending on the importance and placement of the story.For example: A news short might be around 100 words. A front page story will be closer to 600.
Keeping it shortWhy do we keep it short?Information, fast News writing is structured to give as much information as quickly as possible.News is designed to inform a wide audience Remember that your news story is going to be read by people of different ages, backgrounds and reading levels. Writing in a short and simple style helps everyone understand the news of the day.
Keeping it shortUse simple words In news writing we always try and use the simplest word available.For example: “I find that writing with loud music is an impediment to writing clearly”.A better way to write this sentence would be: “I find that writing with loud music prevents me from writing clearly”.
Keeping it shortAvoid long sentences Keep your sentences as short as you can. It makes it easier for the reader to understand what you are trying to say.For example: This session provides the basic techniques of news writing, which is part of a VET course that also aims to improve writing skills.A better way to write this sentence would be: This session covers the basic news writing techniques. It also aims to improve writing skills.
Keeping it sweetStrong openings The opening of a news story—called a ‘lead’—is the primary way journalists draw the reader into their story, and is often the most important part.A good lead should do several things: - give readers the main points of the story - get readers interested in reading the story - accomplish both in as few words as possible.
Keeping it sweetUse active! sentences When writing a news story we want to grab people’s attention. One simple way to do this is to use active sentences. Active sentences are more subtle than other ways of grabbing attention, but they are also infinitely more important. Understanding active sentences is the sign of a good news writer.
Keeping it sweetPassive vs active—what is an active sentence? Active sentences are also known as subject-verb- object. Simply put, the subject should start a sentence whenever possible.For example: Active Passive She read the book. The book was read by her.
Keeping it sweetMore examples:Passive ActiveAll of the pie was eaten by the The boys ate all the pie.boys.The toy was broken by Sarah. Sarah broke the toy.The performance was really I liked the performance.appreciated by me.
Keeping it to the pointWho? What? When? Where? Why? and How? A good news story provides answers to each of these questions. Who: who is the story about? What: what is the story about? Where: where did the event occur? When: when did it occur? Why: why did this happen? How: how did this happen?
Keeping it to the pointFor example: Let’s say you’re writing a story about a man who was injured when he fell off a ladder. Here are your five W’s and H: Who: the man What: fell off a ladder while painting Where: at his house When: yesterday Why: the ladder was rickety How: the rickety ladder broke
Keeping it to the pointSo your lead might go something like this: A man was injured yesterday when he fell off a rickety ladder that collapsed while he was painting his house. That sums up the main points of the story in just 20 words, which is all you need for the lead. Short, sweet and to the point!
Wrap upIn writing a news story we need to keep it…Short: under 600 words with simple language free from long sentencesSweet: starting with a strong opening or leadTo the point: following the 5Ws and H
Recap: What we’ve previously looked atPlanning your story Sourcing information- how to generate ideas - government departments- identifying requirements - press releases- working to a deadline - expert opinion- working with relevant personnel - interviews - the internet