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How to Write a News Article
Last Updated: October 31, 2023 Fact Checked
This article was co-authored by Gerald Posner . Gerald Posner is an Author & Journalist based in Miami, Florida. With over 35 years of experience, he specializes in investigative journalism, nonfiction books, and editorials. He holds a law degree from UC College of the Law, San Francisco, and a BA in Political Science from the University of California-Berkeley. He’s the author of thirteen books, including several New York Times bestsellers, the winner of the Florida Book Award for General Nonfiction, and has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History. He was also shortlisted for the Best Business Book of 2020 by the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing. There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 2,279,724 times.
Writing a news article is different from writing other articles or informative pieces because news articles present information in a specific way. It's important to be able to convey all the relevant information in a limited word count and give the facts to your target audience concisely. Knowing how to write a news article can help a career in journalism , develop your writing skills and help you convey information clearly and concisely.
Things You Should Know
- Outline your article with all the facts and interview quotes you’ve gathered. Decide what your point of view on the topic is before you start writing.
- Your first sentence is the most important one—craft an attention-getter that clearly states the most important information.
- Proofread for accurate information, consistent style and tone, and proper formatting.
Planning Your Article
- If you’ve ever written a research paper you understand the work that goes into learning about your topic. The first phase of writing a news article or editorial is pretty similar.
- Who - who was involved?
- What - what happened?
- Where - where did it happen?
- Why - why did it happen?
- When - when did it happen?
- How - how did it happen?
- 1) those that need to be included in the article.
- 2) those that are interesting but not vital.
- 3) those that are related but not important to the purpose of the article.
- This fact list will help prevent you from leaving out any relevant information about the topic or story, and will also help you write a clean, succinct article.
- Be as specific as possible when writing down all of these facts. You can always trim down unnecessary information later, but it’s easier to cut down than it is to have to beef up an article.
- It’s okay at this point to have holes in your information – if you don’t have a pertinent fact, write down the question and highlight it so you won’t forget to find it out
- Now that you have your facts, if your editor has not already assigned the type of article, decide what kind of article you’re writing. Ask yourself whether this is an opinion article, an unbiased and straightforward relaying of information, or something in between.  X Research source
- If you’ve ever heard the term “burying the lead”, that is in reference to the structure of your article.  X Research source The “lead” is the first sentence of the article – the one you “lead” with. Not "burying the lead" simply means that you should not make your readers read several paragraphs before they get to the point of your article.
- Whatever forum you’re writing for, be it print or for the web, a lot of readers don’t make it to the end of the article. When writing a news article, you should focus on giving your readers what they want as soon as possible.
- Write above the fold. The fold comes from newspapers where there’s a crease because the page gets folded in half. If you look at a newspaper all the top stories are placed above the fold. The same goes for writing online. The virtual fold is the bottom of your screen before you have to scroll down. Put the best information at the top to engage your readers and encourage them to keep reading.
- Ask yourself the “5 W's” again, but this time in relation to your audience.
- Questions like what is the average age you are writing for, where is this audience, local or national, why is this audience reading your article, and what does your audience want out of your article will inform you on how to write.
- Once you know who you are writing for you can format an outline that will get the best information to the right audience as quickly as possible.
- Even if you are covering a popular story or topic that others are writing about, look for an angle that will make this one yours.
- Do you have a personal experience that relates to your topic? Maybe you know someone who is an expert that you can interview .
- People usually like to talk about personal experiences, especially if it will be featured somewhere, like your news article. Reach out through a phone call, email, or even social media and ask someone if you can interview them.
- When you do interview people you need to follow a few rules: identify yourself as a reporter. Keep an open mind . Stay objective. While you are encouraged to ask questions and listen to anecdotes, you are not there to judge.
- Record and write down important information from the interview, and be transparent with what you are doing and why you are doing this interview.
Writing Your News Article
- Your lead should be one sentence and should simply, but completely, state the topic of the article.
- Remember when you had to write essays for school? Your lead is like your thesis statement.
- Let your readers know what your news article is about, why it’s important, and what the rest of the article will contain.
- These details are important, because they are the focal point of the article that fully informs the reader.
- If you are writing an opinion piece , this is where you will state what your opinion is as well.
- This additional information helps round out the article and can help you transition to new points as you move along.
- If you have an opinion, this is where you will identify the opposing views and the people who hold them.
- A good news article will outline facts and information. A great news article will allow readers to engage on an emotional level.
- To engage your readers, you should provide enough information that anyone reading your news article can make an informed opinion, even if it contrasts with yours.
- This also applies to a news article where you the author don’t state your opinion but present it as an unbiased piece of information. Your readers should still be able to learn enough about your topic to form an opinion.
- Make sure your news article is complete and finished by giving it a good concluding sentence. This is often a restatement of the leading statement (thesis) or a statement indicating potential future developments relating to the article topic.
- Read other news articles for ideas on how to best accomplish this. Or, watch news stations or shows. See how a news anchor will wrap up a story and sign off, then try to emulate that.
Proofing Your Article
- Be sure to double check all the facts in your news article before you submit it, including names, dates, and contact information or addresses. Writing accurately is one of the best ways to establish yourself as a competent news article writer.
- If your news article is meant to convey direct facts, not the opinions of its writer, ensure you’ve kept your writing unbiased and objective. Avoid any language that is overly positive or negative or statements that could be construed as support or criticism.
- If your article is meant to be more in the style of interpretive journalism then check to make sure that you have given deep enough explanations of the larger story and offered multiple viewpoints throughout.
- When quoting someone, write down exactly what was said inside quotations and immediately cite the reference with the person’s proper title. Formal titles should be capitalized and appear before a person’s name. Ex: “Mayor John Smith”.
- Always write out numbers one through nine, but use numerals for numbers 10 and up.
- When writing a news article, be sure to only include one space after a period, not two.  X Research source
- You shouldn’t submit any news article for publication without first letting someone take a look at it. An extra pair of eyes can double check your facts and the information to ensure that what you have written is accurate.
- If you are writing a news article for school or your own personal website, then have a friend take a look at it and give you notes. Sometimes you may get notes that you want to defend or don’t agree with it. But these should be listened to. Remember, with so many news articles getting published every minute you need to ensure that your widest possible audience can easily digest the information you have provided.
- Start with research and ask the “5. Asking these questions will help you create an outline and a narrative to your article. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Interview people, and remember to be polite and honest about what you are writing. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Put the most important information at the beginning of your article. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
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Thanks for reading our article! If you'd like to learn more about writing an article, check out our in-depth interview with Gerald Posner .
- ↑ https://libguides.mit.edu/select-topic
- ↑ https://writingcenter.gmu.edu/writing-resources/different-genres/news-writing-fundamentals
- ↑ https://libguides.southernct.edu/journalism/howtowrite
- ↑ https://spcollege.libguides.com/c.php?g=254319&p=1695313
- ↑ https://extension.missouri.edu/publications/cm360
- ↑ https://mediahelpingmedia.org/basics/how-to-find-and-develop-important-news-angles/
- ↑ https://www.northwestern.edu/brand/editorial-guidelines/newswriting-guidelines/
- ↑ https://tacomacc.libguides.com/c.php?g=599051&p=4147190
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/subject_specific_writing/journalism_and_journalistic_writing/ap_style.html
- ↑ https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/punctuation/space-after-period
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/editing-and-proofreading/
About This Article
To write a news article, open with a strong leading sentence that states what the article is about and why it’s important. Try to answer the questions who, what, where, when, and why as early in the article as possible. Once you’ve given the reader the most important facts, you can include any additional information to help round out the article, such as opposing views or contact information. Finish with a strong concluding sentence, such as an invitation to learn more or a statement indicating future developments. For tips on researching your article, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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How to write a media release for an event.
Here is how to structure your release to ensure the satisfaction of your readership:
Top of the page
You should start your release with some pretty important elements:
– Your company logo – Date of your release – Contact names & numbers – Event date and time – Event location
Tip: Make sure the contacts you include will be available to answer questions about the event. It may even be worthwhile to more than one person or a generic number as you want to ensure there is always backup.
Your headline is what most people read. It should be boldfaced and interesting. In just 3-5 words, write a headline that sums up your event. Use the present tense and a bold easy to read font. If your event represents the first or the largest of its kind, or ties into what is currently going on in the news, make sure you highlight those facts in the headline. Tip: Be sure to use ‘st’ words in your headline such as “first”, “largest”, “biggest” etc.
Write a few paragraphs that outline the event as clearly and concisely as possible. This portion of your release will usually include two to three paragraphs. Structure your release like a news story, putting all the important information in the first paragraph and mention interview possibilities and visual moments.
Include quotes from an organiser or leader in your release will increase your organisation's credibility and if your location has a tie in with the event, mention this too. This part of your release could be more descriptive however do not exceed more than one page. If journalists want more information, they will contact you.
Tip: Don’t use exclamation points and too many adjectives and exaggeration will make your organisation seem overeager.
Sending your release
Find contact information online for news outlets – targeting newspaper sections, local radio and TV presenters and individual reporters that specifically cover events. You can find such information by finding a media contacts database or by distributing your release through a press release distribution company.
There are three best times to distribute your event-related release:
1. Send a release with enough lead time to prepare (5-10 days prior) 2. On the day of the event as a reminder 3. After the event, detailing who showed up and any results
It is best to send these releases to the same media contacts each time.
If you have an upcoming event that you would like media coverage for, you can post your event on Medianet Events Calendar.
Don’t take our word for it – what journalists say about press releases
Closer to home the media team at Medianet has been gleaning direct feedback on how journalists in Australia and New Zealand view press releases and derive different types of value from them.
July to december 2022 media events calendar.
Knowing what’s going on in the broader media landscape is absolutely essential to planning both the...
PR Profile: Nic Hayes, Managing Director of Media Stable
3. Establish the “Four Main Ws”
Within your first paragraph, you need to establish the “who”, “what”, “when”, and “where” of your piece. The “why” and “how” can wait until the following paragraphs. Remember, a journalism piece should look like a pyramid. The most important information goes at the top. The rest is spread throughout the remaining column space.
4. Construct Your Piece
Now that you have the materials that you need to continue, start putting your piece together. Start with the necessary information, and let the rest trickle down. You’ll start to get a feeling for this process as you continue to write journalistically.
5. Insert Quotations
Some writers choose to add quotations as they write. Others decide to add their quotations at specific points in the story, after it’s already been developed. Either way, place your quotes and be sure to identify key people in the story by their full name, occupation, and age.
6. Research Additional Facts and Figures
When your story is nearly done, utilize Google and find additional interesting facts and figures that will make your piece stand out from the pack. Remember, you will nearly always be competing with another news source, and you’ll both be trying to feed your information to the same audience. Add that extra touch. You’re going to need it.
7. Read your Article out Loud Before Publication
I always suggest that writers read their articles out loud before submitting to their professor or editor. It helps with sentence structure, phrasing, and the overall flow of your story.
With that being said, venture forth and find a story. And don’t worry too much about making connections – after you’ve written a couple dozen news stories, the information will come to you.
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How to Write a News Story
Newspaper article outline, how to write a news story in 15 steps.
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The Purdue Owl : Journalism and Journalistic Writing: Introduction
From Scholastic: Writing a newspaper article
I. Lead sentence
Grab and hook your reader right away.
Which facts and figures will ground your story? You have to tell your readers where and when this story is happening.
III. Opening quotation
What will give the reader a sense of the people involved and what they are thinking?
IV. Main body
What is at the heart of your story?
V. Closing quotation
Find something that sums the article up in a few words.
VI. Conclusion (optional—the closing quote may do the job)
The following is an excerpt from The Elements of News Writing by James W. Kershner (Pearson, 2009). This book is available for checkout at Buley Library (Call number PN 4775 .K37 2009, on the 3rd floor)
1. Select a newsworthy story. Your goal is to give a timely account of a recent, interesting, and significant event or development.
2. Think about your goals and objectives in writing the story. What will the readers want and need to know about the subject? How can you best tell the story?
3. Find out who can provide the most accurate information about the subject and how to contact that person. Find out what other sources you can use to obtain relevant information.
4. Do your homework. Do research so that you have a basic understanding of the situation before interviewing anyone about it. Check clips of stories already written on the subject.
5. Prepare a list of questions to ask about the story.
6. Arrange to get the needed information. This may mean scheduling an interview or locating the appropriate people to interview.
7. Interview the source and take notes. Ask your prepared questions, plus other questions that come up in the course of the conversation. Ask the source to suggest other sources. Ask if you may call the source back for further questions later.
8. Interview second and third sources, ask follow-up questions, and do further research until you have a understanding of the story.
9. Ask yourself, “What’s the story?” and “What’s the point?” Be sure you have a clear focus in your mind before you start writing. Rough out a lead in your head.
10. Make a written outline or plan of your story.
11. Write your first draft following your plan, but changing it as necessary.
12. Read through your first draft looking for content problems, holes, or weak spots, and revise it as necessary. Delete extra words, sentences, and paragraphs. Make every word count.
13. Read your second draft aloud, listening for problems in logic or syntax.
14. Copyedit your story, checking carefully for spelling, punctuation, grammar, and style problems.
15. Deliver your finished story to the editor before deadline.
Kershner, J.W. (2009). The Elements of News Writing. Boston, MA: Pearson Education.
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- Last Updated: Sep 15, 2023 11:02 AM
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How to write a school news article.
News articles are designed to relate the news. The article is written to inform readers. It is factual, meant to present information in a quick, digestible form. The following elements of writing a newspaper article are important, so heed them well.
Research and Fact Gathering
Perhaps the #1 rule of writing a newspaper article is that you are factual. You do not want to make assumptions or fabricate information. Before you can write your article, you must have as many of the facts as you can gather. Here are some facts that you will need to find out:
- What? The specific event that took place.
- Who? The people involved.
- Where? Places.
- When? Date and time.
- Why? Reasons for the event taking place.
- How? Connecting the facts.
You will also need to gather as much detail as you can. This will involve:
- Interviewing people connected to the story.
- Gathering quotes from people (be exact…never paraphrase what they said). Cite names, unless they specifically request to remain anonymous.
- Resolving conflicting facts from individuals.
- Researching public information (always cite your sources, so write them down).
Once you have all your facts, you can begin to write your article.
The Headline or Title
For a news article, this is where you have most of your creativity. The headline must grab the attention of the reader. It needs to be catchy, emotion evoking, or creates curiosity. Be creative with it. In many instances, you will spend more time trying to come up with the perfect headline than you will in the actual writing.
The Article Body
The main news article itself is written from bottom down. In other words, the most important information comes first and each paragraph gives less and less details. Whereas a novel, for example, starts you out with little information and you must read to the end to get all of it.
In news article writing, however, you want to provide the key information right up front. You start with the 6 questions you should have already answered in your research:
Your first two paragraphs need to answer all these questions. For example:
The Varsity football team beat Smith High School last Saturday, 21 to 7, in a rematch that vindicated Coach John’s prediction of a win during Friday’s pep-rally. Our first home win this season at our very own Jane Doe Field was a morale booster to the entire student body. Quarterback, Joe Baker completed 18 out of 24 passes to cement the win.
This was only a simple example, but almost all the questions are actually answered in the first two sentences. From here you can add more inconsequential details, such as receiving yards, rushing yards, and so forth. You will at some point include quotes from people such as the coach, the quarterback, a receiver, a fan in the stands, and perhaps the principal. Although for quotes, you don’t want to include too many, but having two or three is important. By the time you get to the end of the article, you are simply expanding upon what the reader already knows from the first two paragraphs you wrote.
Don’t make your paragraphs long—two to three sentences each. Your word count will need to stay around the 500 word count or less, generally speaking.
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How to Write a News Article That's Effective
It's similar to writing academic papers, but with vital differences
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- M.Ed., Education Administration, University of Georgia
- B.A., History, Armstrong State University
Techniques for writing a news article differ from those needed for academic papers. Whether you're interested in writing for a school newspaper, fulfilling a requirement for a class, or seeking a writing job in journalism, you'll need to know the difference. To write like a real reporter, consider this guide for how to write a news article.
Choose Your Topic
First, you must decide what to write about. Sometimes an editor or instructor will give you assignments, but you’ll often have to find your own topics to cover.
If you get to choose your topic, you might be able to pick a subject related to your personal experience or family history, which would give you a strong framework and a dose of perspective. However, this route means you must work to avoid bias—you may have strong opinions that could affect your conclusions. You also could pick a topic that revolves around a personal interest, such as your favorite sport.
Research for Your News Article
Even if you end up with a topic close to your heart, you should begin with research, using books and articles that will give you a full understanding of the subject. Go to the library and find background information about people, organizations, and events you intend to cover.
Next, interview a few people to collect more information and quotes that give perspective on the topic. Don't be intimidated by the idea of interviewing important or newsworthy people—an interview can be as formal or informal as you want to make it, so relax and have fun with it. Find people with backgrounds in the topic and strong opinions, and carefully write down or record their responses for accuracy. Let the interviewees know that you will be quoting them.
Parts of a News Article
Before you write your first draft, you should be aware of the parts that make up a news story:
Headline or title
The headline of your article should be catchy and to the point. You should punctuate your title using Associated Press style guidelines unless your publication specifies something else. Other members of the publication staff frequently write the headlines, but this will help focus your thoughts and maybe save those other staffers some time.
- "Lost dog finds his way home"
- "Debate tonight in Jasper Hall"
- "Panel chooses 3 essay winners"
The byline is the name of the writer—your name, in this case.
Lead (sometimes written "lede")
The lead is the first sentence or paragraph, written to provide a preview of the entire article. It summarizes the story and includes many of the basic facts. The lead will help readers decide if they want to read the rest of the news article or if they are satisfied knowing these details.
Once you’ve set the stage with a good lead, follow up with a well-written story that contains facts from your research and quotes from people you’ve interviewed. The article should not contain your opinions. Detail any events in chronological order. Use the active voice —not passive voice —when possible, and write in clear, short, direct sentences.
In a news article, you should use the inverted pyramid format—putting the most critical information in the early paragraphs and following with supporting information. This ensures that the reader sees the important details first. Hopefully they'll be intrigued enough to continue to the end.
Include your sources in the body with the information and quotes they provide. This is different from academic papers, where you would add these at the end of the piece.
Your conclusion can be your last bit of information, a summary, or a carefully chosen quote to leave the reader with a strong sense of your story.
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