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A news article or a news story is a short and effective content written in accordance with the 5W1H questions that convey current developments and the basics of a current event. News articles containing important information are used to inform the target audience. How to write a news article? What should be considered to write a qualified and effective news story? We have tried to answer all these questions in our blog post.
The headline of a news article should be informative, catchy, and to the point. After all, it is the headline that will attract the attention of editors, journalists, and readers at first glance.
The ‘lead’ is the first sentence or paragraph of a news story. Ideally, your lead sentence or paragraph should provide a general overview of the entire news article. Along with providing a summary of your news story, the lead paragraph should also answer several important questions. For example, a good lead paragraph will answer most – if not all – of the so-called ‘5W1H’ questions (who, what, where, when, why, and how). Your lead paragraph should always contain enough important information to give readers a general overview of your entire news story. Hopefully, this will prompt readers to continue on to subsequent paragraphs of your news article for additional details.
The body of an effective news article is essentially an extended version of the lead paragraph, albeit in greater detail. After a concise but informative lead paragraph, the writer should follow up with a well-written news story containing all additional details, including quotes from relevant sources and background information. This is critical to writing a news article. Information contained in your news story should generally be written in chronological order. In other words, the timeliest and most important information should come first, while each subsequent paragraph should provide increasingly less important information and detail. Remember, all quotes should be provided with the full name of the person who said them, along with their job title.
In journalistic parlance, the term ‘inverted pyramid’ refers to the practice of placing the timeliest and most important information at the beginning of a news article. According to the inverted pyramid scheme, this should be followed by facts and detail of gradually diminishing importance.
News articles are generally considered newsworthy based on their relative importance, potential impact, and interest to the reading public. ‘News values’ (also referred to as ‘news factors’) are elements of a story that can be used to determine its relative newsworthiness. These news values are generally used by journalists and editors to attract the broadest possible readership. Along with containing important information and timely developments, effective news articles should also strive to be as objective as possible, and should always be based on reputable and well-informed sources. This is one of the most important aspects of writing a news story.
In order for a news article to be widely disseminated by the mass media, it must first attract the attention (and curiosity) of editors and journalists. In this regard, it is important to note that effective news articles containing quantifiable data, statistics, and figures are considerably more likely to attract journalists’ attention, and are therefore much more likely to be published by news outlets. Remember, the catchier your headline is, the greater the chance that your news story will be seen and read.
There are a handful of simple journalistic rules that should always be followed when writing a news article. This will ensure that your news story is taken seriously by editors, journalists, and the reading public. Perhaps most importantly, your news article should answer all the 5W1H questions (see above) concisely and accurately. In this regard, the inverted pyramid scheme is the best approach to writing an effective news article.
Your news story should appeal to readers from all demographic segments. Its ultimate aim is to inform readers by providing them with accurate, timely, and important information. For this reason, writers should strive to maintain an informative tone when writing a news story. With this in mind, an effective news article should always be clear and easy to understand. Unnecessary detail, which can unintentionally serve to distract readers, should be avoided. Moreover, news stories should generally be written in an active (rather than passive) voice. Writing in an active voice tends to establish a more personal connection with the reader. The more action sentences are contained in a news story, the more engaged the reader will feel. Therefore, when writing a news article, try to keep your sentences relatively short, while avoiding the use of overly descriptive language.
Some writers prefer adding their quotes as they write up their news article. Others, however, prefer to add their quotations after most of their news story has already been written. Either way, be sure to place plenty of quotes in your news article from relevant (and reliable) sources. Ideally, all of your sources should be identified by name, occupation, and age.
News articles backed up by quantifiable data will always impress journalists, editors, and readers alike, and data-driven articles are typically considered of greater newsworthiness. But don’t forget: writing an effective news article requires thorough research. The first step in writing a news story, therefore, is to gather reliable, first-hand information. This can be done by:
Interviewing people relevant to the story
Choosing good quotes for use in your article
Researching publicly available information
Most people working in the media sector have written their share of news articles. But for those who lack experience writing news stories, the process can be a bit daunting. So, if you’re just starting out in the industry, don’t be afraid to ask for advice from public relations experts, who can help you bolster your reputation among journalists, editors, and target audiences.
After learning the important points of writing a news article, let's take a closer look at the term "newsworthy" that we just touched on.
News values, sometimes called as news criteria in some sources, are general guidelines which determine how much prominence a media outlet gives a news story. These values explain why a story interests its audience and why a journalist decides that story is newsworthy.
News is an event that has just happened or will happen in the near future and must concerns people. It is basically the information that people want to hear or need to know. In order to be judged as news, the content must inform, educate or entertain public, be accurate and truthful. Everything that happens around us can be considered as an event. However, not all events have news value.
In order to analyze an event in terms of news value, it is necessary first to understand whether it answers specific questions:
Is this an event that has never happened before?
Is it up to date or new?
Are the famous, well-known names involved?
Is the target audience interested in the current event broadcasted by the media?
Are there elements in the event that stimulate emotion and curiosity?
Does it have a political or social side?
Is there any element of conflict?
Does it offer scientific knowledge or innovations?
Content that can answer these questions means news.
In the 1960s, researchers Johan Galtung and Mari Holmboe Ruge examined news stories worldwide to determine their similarities (Galtung & Ruge, 1965). Still referring to today by journalists and communication experts, this research created the first news values list. News values have evolved over time and currently, 8 values are used to determine a story’s newsworthiness. News values are the elements of a story that journalists use to rapidly assess and determine whether an idea or event is worth sharing with the audience.
Understanding news values will help content creators to develop successful content and SEO strategies. From selecting a catchy idea for the content to conduct research, to design and most importantly, to pitch to journalists, editors and online publishers, these news values are the essential elements to increase newsworthiness.
The elements that are considered as the “news values” may vary depending on the publication, time of publication, cultural characteristics of the public and the policy of publication. But in general, these values are common all around the world. A combination of news values strengthens a story’s newsworthiness and draws a broader audience.
News gets out of date rapidly. Recent events or stories that have recently taken place or will happen in the near future have higher news value than earlier happenings. Breaking news, seasonal events and holidays are good examples. These events need to be reported as soon as possible.
When an event affects a more significant number of people, it gets more newsworthiness. Health, welfare, transport issues have an impact on the majority of the public. This news generates much public interest.
Creating content around a conflict directly increases its coverage. These conflicts may be a war, a political conflict, or a sports competition. This kind of events encourages the audience to take sides. Therefore, they become emotionally invested in the story, which leads to higher news value.
Events that are already popular among the public and is widely talked about are good examples and indicator of the currency value. Further developments of an event or side stories attract more attention.
Events that are out of the ordinary have more news value than an everyday occurrence. A dog biting a man usually is not news, whereas a man biting a dog is bizarre and have news value.
An event or a story that takes place in one’s home community has more news value than events that take place far away. Getting more attention from the audience depends on the location of the event.
People want to read stories about other people. Emotionally compelling stories attract more attention. Happy or sad stories, achievements, stories about food or health grab more public attention.
Events are more newsworthy when they involve public figures. People like celebrities, politicians, actors or sportsman attract more interest.
Journalists are looking out for news stories that attract a significant audience. Because of the fact that a journalist approximately gets more than 300 emails per day, discovering which information is newsworthy is not an easy task. Editors and journalists often have a quick look at a press release to decide whether it is newsworthy or not because they have limited time. Press releases that contain unnecessary information or do not clarify certain issues do not carry any news value. Press releases must be written by professionals and need teamwork to get attention from journalists. With the experienced team of Online PR Service B2Press, it is straightforward to get comprehensive coverage in the media.