((NORTH - EAST - WEST - SOUTH)NORTH - EAST - WEST - SOUTH)
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RHEE Fer HORTALEZARHEE Fer HORTALEZA
* Media Man of Pangasinan ** Media Man of Pangasinan *
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Write to EXPRESS,Write to EXPRESS,
not to IMPRESS;not to IMPRESS;
write to INFORM;write to INFORM;
not to OVERWHELM!not to OVERWHELM!
• NEWS is an inevitable part of a
person’s daily life. News is all around
him. In fact, at many times in his
lifetime, his own life
could be the source of news. News,
indeed, is all around us.
• WHAT IS ‘NEWS’?
Various writers and authors have come up with
different definitions of the NEWS. Invariably, all
may be correct; but for an acceptable and easy-
to-understand definition of the term, it should be
safe to state that NEWS is any event, idea or
opinion that is timely, that interests and
affects a large number of persons in the
community, and that is capable of being
understood by them. (M. Lyle Spencer)
• Other sources would define NEWS as a
break from the normal flow of events,
an interruption in the unexpected.
• Others would opt to state that NEWS is
not concerned about the routine; but
rather about the unexpected, the
unusual or the dramatic.
• Then, there are those who would
simply agree with Mitchell Charnley
when he said that NEWS is “tomorrow’s
history done up in a neat today’s
GOOD NEWS IS NO NEWS!
• Then, too, there are situations when a newsman
is faced with utterly discerning people’s comment
that – to journalists or newspapermen – GOOD
NEWS IS NO NEWS! Truly, one of the most frequent
complaints an editor or a plain newsman hears is:
“How come you guys never run any good news?”
• While it is true that reporters seek out stories
about murders, felonies or anomalies that did
happen, not about murders, felonies or anomalies
that didn’t, there are times, especially in the current
atmosphere of journalism, when good news must be
published or aired.
• Perhaps, this is human nature. Admittedly, we
do not usually go out of our way to tell people how
good we feel; but if something is bothering us, we let
Corollary to this, Chet Huntley of NBC NewsCorollary to this, Chet Huntley of NBC News
deserves to be quoted when he said:deserves to be quoted when he said:
“Journalists were never intended to be“Journalists were never intended to be
the cheerleaders of society!”the cheerleaders of society!” Indeed,Indeed,
reporters often see themselves as the thinreporters often see themselves as the thin
buffer between people and theirbuffer between people and their
What must likewise always beWhat must likewise always be
remembered by the community journalist –remembered by the community journalist –
including school paper advisers and campusincluding school paper advisers and campus
journalists – is this rule:journalists – is this rule: “If we neglect to“If we neglect to
report some NEWS because we thinkreport some NEWS because we think
suppression is in the public interest,suppression is in the public interest,
we’ll lose our credibility as impartialwe’ll lose our credibility as impartial
news reporters.”news reporters.” It is important to note thatIt is important to note that
there is a difference betweenthere is a difference between selectionselection ofof
news andnews and suppressionsuppression of newsof news
TIPS FOR JOURNALISTS
• Many journalism book authors have come up with scores of tips
for their media colleagues through the years. All these add up to
just one general rule: AS A JOURNALIST, WORK HARD!
Presumably, to be more detailed, everything can be rounded up
and enumerated this way:
* BE INQUISITIVE
* BE CONSTANT IN YOUR PURPOSE
* BE FAIR AND BALANCED
* BE GENUINELY INTERESTED IN PEOPLE
* SEEK THE TRUTH
* BE RESOURCEFUL
* HAVE GUTS
* MASTER YOUR GRAMMAR
* KNOW YOUR MEDIUM
• INVERTED PYRAMID
• Initially, one must know that the structure of the NEWS when
written or presented is that of an INVERTED PYRAMID.
• This simply means that it is totally the reverse or opposite of a
literary piece like the novel or short story. Normally, at the start or
beginning of the novel or short story, the details or backgrounds are
first presented oftentimes in chronological order, with the suspense
and drama gradually building up. This is done so as to gather
explanations for the eventual climax, where the reader finally gets to
know what the conclusion or end is all about. The conclusion is at
the base of the pyramid.
• This is not so when it comes to NEWS. The climax or conclusion is
at once presented right at the very beginning of the news item. The
reader need not read on until the end to know what happened or
what it is all about. Ergo, the NEWS structure is that of an inverted
pyramid – with the base installed at the top portion instead.
• This so-called ‘top portion’ is also referred to as the NEWS LEAD
ABCs OF NEWS WRITING:ABCs OF NEWS WRITING:
BREVITY or BALANCEBREVITY or BALANCE
• ACCURACY should be foremost in a journalist’s
mind when he/she writes the news story. This is
imperative. Foremost, of course, is accuracy in
his/her facts. Are the facts gathered correct?
Were they gathered as they really happened?
• Nevertheless, this should not be confined only to facts of
the story. There is a need to be accurate in other
aspects. Names of persons in the story should be
correctly spelled. You may have an inherent idea of how
a certain name is spelled; but if the user spells it
differently, use his spelling. ‘Arlene’ is normally spelled
that way; but one may officially spell it as ‘Arleen’. There
should also be accuracy in the person’s position, rank,
title or designation. Places should likewise be spelled
correctly. ‘Laoag City’ is not Lawag City’ and ‘La Union’
is not ‘La Onion’! Too, one should know whether a
certain locality is a province, city, town, barangay or sitio.
• BREVITY concerns the use of words that are easy to
understand. Not all newspaper readers have high IQs. The
successful writer is one who writes stories that readers from
various educational standings can promptly comprehend.
• BALANCE refers to the journalistic rule that all sides of a
story should be published and accommodated. When a
school principal or a janitor is attacked due to foul-smelling
comfort rooms in the school, their sides of the story should
also find print. A journalist who does not bother to get the
other side of the issue is disgustingly biased and unfair.
• CLARITY concerns the writer’s ability to make his
meanings immediately clear to all in the story he published. In
the lead, ‘A truck and a car collided in front of the Vigan City
public market yesterday, causing death to the driver.’, whose
driver died – the car’s or the truck’s? This is not clear. In the
sentence, ‘He was given one million’ , what did the man
receive – one million pesos, one million cards or one million
OF THE NEWS
• Why is the birth of Jesus Christ or the assassination of the late
Senator Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Aquino not considered as NEWS?
• Why is it not NEWS when two high school lovers quarrel and trade
arguments in the school campus; but it all becomes NEWS when
the girl gets hold of a knife and stabs the boy dead?
• Why is it not NEWS anymore when a dog bites a boy in the street;
but it becomes news when the boy suddenly bites the dog in return?
• Why is it not NEWS when teacher Soledad Castillo is downed by the
flu virus; but it becomes NEWS when Kris Aquino, Loren Legarda,
Joseph ‘Erap’ Estrada or Richard Gut6ierrez catch the disease?
• Or why is it not NEWS when Elmer Palaming is down with dengue
but it becomes NEWS when 80 faculty members of the Bautista
Central School are down with the illness?
• This is simply because NEWS has elements that make it –
that’s it! – NEWS. These are the elements or characteristics
that should be present to make a happening fall under the
category of NEWS. Some of these are:
•IMMEDIACY or TIMELINESS
•PROXIMITY or NEARNESS
•ROMANCE or SEX
• There may be others included by some authors;
but those mentioned above are the more
• Basically, these elements form the basis for
knowing whether a happening or occurrence
makes up what is called NEWS.
• The presence of two or more of these elements
or a combination of any of them in an event or
development makes such event qualified or
eligible to be called NEWS.
It is INEVITABLE for a news reporter or
news writer to personally cover an event,
activity, occasion or development. But
news coverage is unlike going to a party! It
is a more delicate and demanding task. It is
therefore imperative that a coverage
man/woman is aware of what he/she should
do when sent on such a journalistic errand.
• Know the details of the event very well. Where is it going
to be held? What time? What is the event all about?
• Get a background of the event. It is best to go to the venue
well-prepared with initial questions about the affair or
COVERING AN EVENT / HAPPENING
• Be sure to come well-equipped. Do you have your
writing pads, ball pens or pentel pens, cameras, tape
recorders and the like?
• Position yourself properly, strategically and accurately
while inside or within the site of the affair. Do not stay
too far away from the center of activities or the main
• Be observant about developments not only onstage
but around the site. Write down anything you see
therein which you consider important or vital so that
you won’t forget such details later.
Do not be ashamed to ask questionsDo not be ashamed to ask questions
about details of the happening,about details of the happening,
the correct names and positionsthe correct names and positions
and other data of personalities therein.and other data of personalities therein.
Get the accurate spellingGet the accurate spelling
of names and places therein.of names and places therein.
It’s better to be inquisitive nowIt’s better to be inquisitive now
than to be mistaken later.than to be mistaken later.
Be sure that you have allBe sure that you have all
the necessary or needed detailsthe necessary or needed details
about the event before leaving the place.about the event before leaving the place.
Make certainMake certain
that you do notthat you do not
lose or misplacelose or misplace
your notes!your notes!
In any news story composed
of many paragraphs,
there is always the
very first word or group of words
that comprise the
In journalistic parlance,
this is known as the
As the name implies,
it is the ‘LEADer’
in the news item.
It starts the NEWS presentation.
• There are two kinds of LEADS, however; and
these can be appropriately applied in writing the
• Usually utilized by writers because of what they claim as its
‘you-can’t-go-wrong’ approach is the
• It is named as such because it summarizes the event’s beginning
by answering the well known questions attendant to a
summarized form. These are Who, What, When, Where, Why
and How – or the so-called ‘Five Ws and One H’.
• One need not answer all six queries and lump everything in the
lead, though. The writer has to consider the eventual length of
the lead, as a very lengthy lead is not advisable. A long lead tends
to confuse the reader – and even the writer himself! It has to be
shortened so that the writer’s message in the news item becomes
• The other type of lead is the
• Under such classification are various news approaches. These
include the Question Lead, the Quotation Lead, the Punch
Lead, the Picture Lead, the Freak Lead, the Cartridge Lead, the
Parody Lead, the Sequence Lead, the Epigram Lead and some
• These leads can likewise be effective if one knows what among
them should be used and when to use any of them.
• The news development should be thoroughly studied first
before seeking out and choosing the appropriate novelty lead for
the news story.
• It is important to remember that if no novelty lead is apt or ideal
for the news development, it is advisable to go back to the
reliable summary lead.
• At your workplace later, you come face to face with
your notes from the news coverage. What do you do with
• Inevitably, you have to analyze or evaluate
everything you have written. Select the biggest, most
significant or most important fact or item -- or two or
three facts or items – from among the entries you had
written in your notes and install them under your MUST
INCLUDE classification. Be sure that these are the
biggest because from that item or these items will
emerge your LEAD.
• Supporting facts in your notes will go under the
MIGHT INCLUDE portion. These are the pieces of
information that will buttress, justify or strengthen your
lead with additional details.
• Finally, cross out the non-important, non-relevant or
useless details you had inadvertently earlier written in
your notes. This is the EXCLUDE portion. It contains
items which you had included but which you eventually
found to be unnecessary or not essential to your story. If
there is a need for re-evaluation, do so again.
• Having classified your notes thus, you are now ready
to start writing your news as you are now easily guided
as to where to properly place or install the various facts
or items you earlier gathered.
• If you consequently decide that two or three items
therein are of equal importance, then find a way to
include both or all of them in the lead; but without having
a kilometric lead in the process. Very long leads are
ROSALES, Pangasinan – For several years now upon
Mayor Ricardo Velo Revita assumption to office, the
flooding in the whole town, especially in the Poblacion,
which is blamed for blocked waterways or drainage system
because of garbage and other waste products and the
laxities of the past administration is now a thing of the past,
this according to residents since the present administration
in full cooperation of the sangguniang bayan members
headed by Vice Mayor Romy Sim and some agencies,
authored the goal of “Flood-free Rosales”.
ROSALES – Mayor Ricardo V.
Revita’s administration has
implemented moves to ensure a
‘flood-free Rosales’ in the future.
IN STARTINGIN STARTING
• DON’T start with an article (a, an,
the) unless its use is necessary to
get the feature of your story into the
opening words of your lead.
• DON’T start a lead with ‘Last
Thursday…’ or ‘At a meeting held
yesterday …’ or ‘In a game played
last Monday …’ or the like. It is
obvious that no such beginning
contain the real feature of the story.
•DON’T start a lead with a sentence like
‘The Teachers Club conducted a
meeting yesterday’. Remember that in
such stories, the most interesting thing
done or said at the meeting is the main
feature of the story.
•DON’T start a lead with ‘According to
an annual tradition at the Pangasinan
State University …’ Inform the reader at
once what is to be done or tell some
interesting fact about it first
•DON’T start a lead with an expression
like ‘According to Regional Director Piolo
Pascual …’ If what he said is the feature
of the story, put those words in the lead
•DON’T start a lead like: ‘In the campus
journalism press conference held last
Friday, the Bonuan Boquig National High
School won three first places.’ The
interesting fact should come first. ‘Bonuan
Boquig National High School students won
three first places in the campus journalism
press conference held last Friday.’ Would
be a better, more precise and more
•NEWS WRITING can be an easy
task if YOU seriously set your heart
and mind to it. What matters is that you
must constantly think positively when
you write the news.
• The writers or newsmen whose stories
you read in the newspapers were able
to do it. Your school paper advisers
were able to do it. Others before you –
your classmates and friends and even
your relatives -- were able to do it, too!
Instill in your mind, therefore:Instill in your mind, therefore:
“IF THEY CAN DO IT,“IF THEY CAN DO IT,
WHY CAN’T I?”WHY CAN’T I?”