Friday, June 13, 2014

How to Write a News Story - Guest Post

How to Write a News Story
by author and journalist Julie Fison

A news story gives readers the facts of an event. It is different from narrative writing because the most important information is contained in the first sentence. The details and less important information come later in the story. A news story does not rely on sophisticated language, metaphors or similes to tell the story. It must be simple and clear.

Here’s how to write a news story:

1. Gather all of your information before you start writing the story. You will need to know:

What happened
Where it happened
Who was involve
When it happened
Why it happened
How it happened

2. A news story starts with a lead. This sentence contains the most newsworthy information in the story and draws the audience in. It answers some of the above questions but not all of them. The news reporter must therefore make a decision about which fact is most important to the audience. Ask yourself what is new, unusual or interesting about the event you are reporting on. Keep the lead clear and simple.

3. A news story flows from the most important facts to the least important information. This is very different from narrative writing that builds to a climax. The audience should have answers to all of the above questions by the end of the story. Don’t save the most exciting information for the end!

4. News reporters interview experts, officials, witnesses and other people to gather information for their stories. These people are quoted in a news story to back up the information and to make the news story more interesting. Quotes must be attributed so the reader knows who is speaking. The attribution goes at the end of the first sentence of the quote. (“I have never seen anyone eat 37 eggs for lunch before,” Great State School teacher Julius Stout said. “I’d say we’ve broken a record.”)

5. Evaluate your sources. Not all sources are reliable. People have all sorts of reasons for hiding or distorting the truth. Sometimes they just have their facts wrong. Use at least two sources to confirm information.

6. Balance your story by including opinions from both sides of the story. If someone is calling for a vacant block to be turned into a skate park, there are bound to be others who don’t want it. Make sure you include all relevant views.

7. Simple sentence structure is essential. Never use a complicated word when a shorter one will do. Save clever language for descriptive writing. Read your story aloud to make sure the story flows well.

BIO: Julie Fison in an author of children’s and young adult fiction. Her latest book for middle school readers is How To Get To Rio, part of a great new Choose Your Own Ever After series. Julie’s next book for teens, Counterfeit Love, was inspired by her years as a television reporter in Hong Kong. It comes out in July. See more about Julie’s books at her website.

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