How to Write News


News is information about current events, which affect people’s lives. It can be about political events, wars, crimes or natural disasters. News stories are reported in newspapers, magazines and on television and radio. Some news is local, while some is world-wide.

It is not enough to simply report what has happened; it has to be of interest to readers or viewers. An event has to be new, unusual, interesting, significant and about people. It also has to be significant for the right reasons, that is it will make a difference to people’s lives in some way.

Clearly this is a difficult task to judge a story on, but there are guidelines which can be followed. A good headline is vital to catch the reader’s attention; it should be short, emotion evoking and give an indication of the story to come. It is often written by someone else – for example, the editor of a publication – but the writer can help in the process by thinking about what is really newsworthy and writing a headline which will appeal to the target audience.

Once the headline has been decided on, it is then important to write a lead to introduce the news article. This is a short paragraph which summarises the main points of the story, so that the reader can decide whether to read on or not. The lead should also include the byline – the name of the writer – and be punctuated according to Associated Press style guidelines unless otherwise specified.

The main body of the news article then follows, outlining the facts. These should be given in chronological order – that is, what happened first, then second and so on. This ensures that the facts are presented in a clear and logical order. A good way to do this is to write a news story outline which lists all the relevant facts and then fills them in with further details.

After the main facts have been listed, it is a good idea to include any additional information that might be of interest, such as quotes from people involved in the story. This helps to round out the news article and makes it more readable.

It is important to remember that there is a vast amount of news available, and not all of it will be reported in the media. In fact, research carried out in one city in the United States found that more than half of all local news broadcasts and newspapers contained no original reporting at all. In addition, most of the remaining stories were repackaged or re-reported from other sources. News journalists therefore must exercise great judgment in deciding which events are newsworthy. Working through tough news judgments firsthand in this lesson from NLP’s free Checkology virtual classroom, students learn to assess newsworthiness and gain a greater understanding of how difficult such decisions can be. The lessons are designed to help them engage more thoughtfully in conversations about news coverage.