Dictionary defines news as; A report of recent events A material reported in a newspaper or news periodical or on a newscast A matter that is news worthy
Reporters and editors mustthink about their readers as this will help them decidewhat stories are newsworthy.
They should be guided by questionslike:• What is the news here?• Why should my readers care?• What does this mean to them?• What questions will the reader have that I need to answer?
Major types of stories found in newspaper andmagazines are:1. Soft news- a news story that can wait for publication and is usually about a trend, an on-going event or about an interesting person.2. Feature- an in-depth, magazine-length story3. Personality Profile- a story that explore a person in the news, or an interesting but not-so-prominent person4. Backgrounder- a story providing additional information on a news event (often called “sidebars”, and it may accompany a longer news story).
News values -a criteria which enable to determine whether a story makes into news.
Common news values are:1. Immediacy2. Significance3. Proximity or nearness4. Prominence5. Human interest6. Negativity7. Conflict8. Oddity9. Humor
News Qualities - A news reporter is imbued many powers: to inform, to influence decisions, and to help shape public opinion, among others.
Following are the qualities that a newsstory should have:1. Accuracy2. Clarity3. Objectivity4. Balance and fairness5. Attribution6. Style
Structure of a news story -Journalist normally organize their news stories using the so-called inverted pyramid structure.
The lead-the opening paragraph of a newsstory. It is typically a one-sentenceparagraph that summarizes thebasic facts of a story and conveys tothe reader what the reporter foundout in his/her reporting. It providesanswer to the five Ws and one H ofnews reporting-who, what, where,when, why and how.
The angle-The main idea of a news storyand lead is called the “angle”. It isthe main point that the rest ofthe story will try to support.
Body of a story -The rest of the story is called the body. A story should proceed in a natural and chronological order. Sticking to a logical order will make it easier to write the story, as well as to allow you to keep track of your ideas and materials.
The Ending-wraps up the remaining details ofthe story. One way to end is with a“kicker”, which is often a catchyquote.
Writing the news story-all the work of crafting a newsstory is pointless if the story doesnot engage the reader immediately.Basic steps in writing the news story:1. List all your facts.2. Arrange your facts in a descending order, or form the most important (or most interesting) to the least important (or least interesting).
3. Always put the news at thebeginning (lead). Write the leadmaking sure to play up the mostinteresting or important points.4. Write the next paragraph orparagraphs presenting the otherhighlights or answering thequestions not answered.5. Add other facts, keeping in mindtheir descending order ofimportance.
Pointers in writing the newsStory1. One idea per sentence-As much as possible, write one-idea, one-sentenceParagraphs.2. Limit the sentence length to not morethan 25 words-Simplify. The simplest andclearest way of saying something is oftenthe shortest and most eloquent.3. Follow the subject-verb-object format-Good news writing starts with good sentencestructure, and that means simple construction:Subject-verb-object. Refrain from using a lot ofcommas.
4. Use strong verbs and an activevoice- write most of your sentenceslike this: “somebody doessomething”. Note also that when asentence is recast into active voice,it becomes shorter.5. Reduce difficult words to theirsimplest terms- as much aspossible, use words that areunderstandable by the averagereader. When it is necessary to useunfamiliar or technical terms,explain them briefly. Preferconcrete, specific words toabstract. General ones.
6. Use no more than threeprepositional phrases per sentence.7. Choose the precise word.8. Keep it simple- write to expressnot to impress.9. Show, don’t tell- don’t justdescribe something. Reveal a pieceof the world to yourself and to yourreaders.10. Give your source whennecessary- Those people anddocuments need to be cited inattribution because that helps the
the reader evaluate the reliability ofinformation.11. Identify all persons- write their fullnames the first time they arementioned.12. Keep it objective- stay completelyimpartial. Do not use “I” and “me”unless you are quoting someone.13. Have an angle- it can help make thepurpose of the story clear and give itfocus.14. Quote people.15. Avoid preaching at the end of thestory.
16. Be very careful- choose yourwords with care. Do not assume theirmeaning. Use dictionary to make sureof word meanings. Watch yourgrammar, spelling, capitalization,punctuation, use of abbreviationsand sentence construction.17. Read newspaper everyday- studyconstantly the construction of newsstories in good national newspaper toimprove your writing style andtechnique.
Tips in news gathering1. See for your self2. Find the person who knows3. Compare all versions4. Get both sides5. Do not give up too easily6. Be tactful and courteous7. Make and keep friends8. Get into print9. Research10. Observe proper attribution.