Tips for Writing News Stories:
There are many different styles of newspaper articles, but the most common is the news story. Many news stories are based on interviews with sources, or people who witnessed an event or might be experts on a subject. Writing a good news story takes preparation. Follow these steps to help you with the writing process:
- Do background reading. Learn about the subject you're writing about. For example, if your story is going to be about school uniforms, you might want to visit your local library and read back issues of The Dispatch to read any articles that may have already been written about the issue.
- Make appointments to interview sources. For your story on school uniforms, your school principal might be a good person to interview.
- Make a list of questions you can ask your source based on what you already know and on your research.
- Make sure to have a pad and pencil for note-taking.
- Be on time for the interview.
- Be sure you ask questions which will result in information you want readers to know. It wouldn't be appropriate to ask your principal what she thought of the school play if your article is about school uniforms.
- Make sure to get the correct spelling of your source's name.
- Get your source's title.
- Get the facts about the topic. (who, what, when, where, why, how)
- Get your source's opinion this means you would ask your principal what he/she thinks of school uniforms.
There are some steps to follow during the interview also:
- Begin by asking your prepared questions.
- Be flexible. Don't be upset if your source doesn't answer your questions in order, but do try to get all the facts you need.
- Take notes.
- Be sure to copy exactly anything that might be good to use as a direct quotation.
- Always be polite.
- After you're finished, review the facts with the source to make sure you've got them right.
- Always thank your source at the end of the interview.
- Ask your source if he or she minds if you contact them for additional information if necessary.
After the interview, you're ready to begin writing your story. Start writing a first draft as soon as possible. Doing this will help you remember things you did not write completely during the interview. Get the most important and interesting facts and statements at the beginning or lead of your story. Put all the 5 W's (who, what, when, where and why) and 1 H (how) in order. Important facts are first in the story and less important facts are at the end of the story. Put quotes in appropriate places. Don't forget to include any background information and details your readers need to know. This method of writing is called the inverted pyramid.