Unlike prose and poetry, writing a news article does not focus on style or the so-called “literary freedom”, but rather on the structure. Because news deals with facts and figures, the writer should be able to present complete information in a concise manner. If you are interested in writing world news today, here is a brief guide to writing effective news articles.
Writing the Lead
The first sentence of a news article called “lead” is its most important element. The lead performs two crucial functions: to introduce a one-sentence summary of the article, and to attract readers into finishing the entire news.
An effective lead provides an overview of the topic, without giving too many details. It is reflective of the title, and it does not cause confusion. If the topic is a controversial one, a running story, or a follow-up, you can use a famous quote or even a metaphor.
The Inverted Pyramid
A news article follows the Inverted Pyramid structure, where the five Ws and an H – Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How – are presented in the first and second paragraphs. The third paragraph serves as a backgrounder, which highlights the history or most recent events.
Although it is not necessary to include direct quotations, it enforces accountability. It also appeals to the human aspect of the article, emphasizing that there are actors playing relevant roles. If a source is not familiar, briefly introduce his credentials and relationship to the other personas. Establish connection and ensure smooth transition from one paragraph to another.
Style Guide Bible
Most news articles are written in the Associated Press (AP) style. It is regarded as the bible of news writers, primarily for readability. Writing in the AP style follows certain formats on dates, addresses, numerals, headlines, and job titles.
Although the AP style is the generally-acceptable guideline in writing news, there might be slight changes, if you are writing financial or business news articles. Publications also vary in style guides, so make sure to check with your editor.
How to Avoid Plagiarism and Copyright Violation
Plagiarism is the worst enemy of a writer, but there are ways to avoid it. Creativity and respect of others’ work should save you from a violation of copyright. But how do you exactly avoid plagiarism in a news article?
First, the quote must come from a credible source. If first-hand interviews are unavailable, ensure that the excerpt is from a reliable website. Always verify the source’s name and designation. Do not deliberately alter the sentence even, if it does not make sense or the grammar is wrong.
Ethics for News Writers
One must exercise sensitivity in delivering news. A news article exhibiting nudity, gore, and violence must be presented in a way that does not harm the public’s morals. If a person of minor age is involved, it might be safe to use an alias, especially if the story will affect the welfare of a child.
Writing a news article is a straightforward activity that involves logic and structure. The challenge is to avoid prejudices, so you can craft a story that is almost unbiased. Browse iPresence Business Solutions’ website for more professional tips on how to succeed in the field of freelance writing.
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