There are a few basic formulas that comprise the creation of a news article. Depending on the exact type of news you are reporting will determine just which part of the formula is placed in which order. The five W’s, who, what, where, when, and why, are the essential elements that must be included to make a complete news report.
A good news article writer should be able to adjust these for the proper emphasis in their story. News that pertains to a celebrity or public figure can be started out with the who before getting into what or where is important as it helps draw interest to the story due to the recognition of the subject. The same type of event happening to someone who is not a celebrity may be started with either the where, if it was a well-known location, or even with a lead sentence on what happened first.
The story slant will help determine the order by which you present the information in a news article. The basic facts must be contained within the first couple of sentences. Once these bare-bones basics have been presented, it is hoped that the reader’s interest has been captured so they will read on into the story to get the details. A technical aspect of writing the beginning lead is to read the sentence out loud to test it for comprehension and clarity. This will help eliminate ponderous composition or extraneous wording that might diminish the impact of the initial statements.
After the first few sentences that give a basic report, the news story should contain a more detailed section that expands on the information and fills out the details of the initial report. It is within this section that it should be explained why the story is important enough to even be writing about.
A good news article has a focus and the point it is trying to convey. Be sure that you have distilled the information down to the basics so that everything in the article will support your main topic. Avoid the temptation to add ephemeral details that do not push forth the subject as directly as possible. Such details may make a good magazine article but the news article needs to be short and to the point at all times.
Remember to write for the audience’s level of comprehension. Too great a use of jargon or overlong words will turn off the average reader. While this does not mean you must only write in one-syllable words, it does mean that you should double-check your language so that a dictionary is not required to read your article.
In the same vein, keep your sentences short. Overlong or run-on sentences have a tendency to lose the focus of your information. This can also be applied to quotes. Unless the specific words of an individual express the precise point being made, it is better to paraphrase the information so it can flow quicker and better for making your point.
A good news article does not require a concluding statement. If constructed properly, all that needs said has been put in the lead sentences and the expanded details. If time and space allows, it is sometimes proper to give an assessment of how the event may relate to a larger situation.