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What is it?
How is it structured?
How is it written?
News Elements
•   Timeliness: happening now, uses newest angle
•   Proximity: close geographically or in interest
•   Consequence: who cares about this story?
•   Prominence: well-known name, famous people
•   Drama: a fascinating story unfolds
News elements
•   Oddity: strange happenings
•   Conflict: clashes between groups, individuals
•   Sex: AIDS, romance, divorce
•   Emotions: makes readers laugh, cry, get jealous, etc.
•   Progress: changes, betterment
      Essential ingredients of news

         Interest                        People


News must be each of the following:
1. ACCURATE -- both in specific detail and general impression
2. BALANCED-- covering both sides, being fair
3. OBJECTIVE -- facts only, no opinions or prejudices
4. CLEAR & OBJECTIVE -- easy to read and understand
5. RECENT -- story is printed at an appropriate time
Inverted pyramid structure
        LEAD - 5W’s and H

          Details - In
       descending order of

                             Cutoff test
Reasons for inverted pyramid
•   Makes reading easier
•   Satisfies curiosity in logical way
•   Makes page makeup easier
•   Makes work of copydesk easier
Writing the simple, summary lead
• A few key words can help you in writing this kind of lead:
•   WHO
•   WHAT
•   WHEN
•   WHY
•   HOW
Example of a summary lead
     DILLON, Colo. (AP) -- A chairlift cable at a ski resort jolted violently
    Saturday, throwing scores of skiers to the ground and injuring 49
    people, 11 seriously, witnesses and authorities said.

•   WHAT: Chairlift cable jolted, throwing skiers to the ground
•   WHERE: Dillon, Colo.
•   WHEN: Saturday
•   WHO: 49 injured skiers
•   ATTRIBUTION: witnesses and authorities
•   WHY?
•   HOW?
Guidelines for writing effective

Effective writing is challenging
•Be concise
Weak:                              Better:

   Two women robbed a shopper           Two women stole a purse
 in a local supermarket Tuesday.     containing $50 from a shopper
 One woman distracted the            in a local supermarket Tuesday.
 shopper and the second woman
 grabbed her purse which
 contained about $50.
2. Be specific and dramatic
Weak:                           Better:
   Marilyn Goodman, 59,             At 59, she’d never touched
 hated guns, but, ironically,     a gun -- until someone held
 she was held up by a gun-        one to her head.
 weilding assaliant on
 Saturday afternoon.
3. Use strong, active verbs
Good:                            Good:
    Charlene Hendrick’s last          BUDAPEST, Hungary --
  act wasn’t pretty.               Thousands of East German
    On an August night last        refugees -- cheering,
  year, she staggered into the     laughing and crying --
  bathroom of a Daytona            poured into theWest today
  Beach motel room and threw       after Hungary agreed to let
  up in the sink.                  them flee across the border
    Then she tucked herself        with Austria.
  back into bed and died.
    It was exactly what she
4. Localize and update your lead
Weak:                          Better:
   The FBI reported today          The number of violent
 that the number of violent      crimes committed in
 crimes in the United States     Tuscaloosa last year rose
 rose 8.3 percent during the     5.4 percent, compared to a
 last year.                      national average of 8.3
                                 percent, the FBI reported
5. Be objective, attribute opinion
Needs attribution:               Better:
    Recycling does not pay, at       Although the city’s new
  least not economically.          recycling program operated
  However, the environmental       at a deficit last year, the
  benefits make the city’s new     environmental advantages
  recycling program                make it worthwhile at nearly
  worthwhile at any cost.          any cost, Mayor John
                                   Dickens said today.
6. Strive for simplicity
Too complicated:                    Better:
    Officials of the city and the       A new subsidized housing
  Gladstone School District           complex will not be built, and
  are breathing sighs of relief       officials are relieved.
  following the Clackamas
  County Housing Authority’s
  decision to pull out of a plan
  to build an apartment
  complex for moderate-
  income people on 11 acres
  of land between Southeast
  Oatfield and Webster roads.
Avoiding some common errors

Beginners make these mistakes
Begin with the news
Weak                               Better
   At a press conference in
                                        The cost of living rose
 Washington, D.C. today, Neil
                                     2.83 percent last month, a
 A Schuster, spokesperson for
                                     record high, the U.S. Bureau
 the U.S. Bureau of Labor
                                     of Labor Statistics reported
 Statistics, announced that last
 month the cost of living rose
 2.83 percent, a record high.
Avoid “label” leads
Weak                           Better
                                     Point guard Chad Smith
   The Central High Warriors     sank a 22-foot shot with 3
 played West High Friday         seconds left in overtime to
 night in a non-conference       lift Central High to a 73-72
 basketball game.                victory over West on Friday
                                 night in a non-conference
                                 basketball game.
Avoid stating the obvious
Weak                          Better
    It can be a frightening
                                      A 20-year-old college
 experience to wake up and
 find an armed intruder in      student woke at 2 a.m.
 your bedroom. Just ask 20-     Tuesday and saw a prowler,
 year-old Stacy Hidde. It       with a knife in one hand,
 happened to her Tuesday.       searching her bedroom.
Avoid the negative
Weak                              Better
   Americans over the age of          Americans over the age of
 65 say that crime is not their     65 say their greatest fears
 greatest fear, two                 are poor health and poverty,
 sociologists reported today.       two sociologists reported
Tell the story’s consequence
Weak                              Better
    A 15-year-old boy                  A 15-year-old boy
 learning to drive his family’s     learning to drive created a
 new car struck a gasoline          fireball Tuesday.
 pump in a service station on          The family car he was
 Hall Road late Tuesday night.      driving struck a gasoline
                                    pump at a Hall Road service
                                    station, blocking traffic for
                                    three hours while firefighters
                                    extinguished the blaze.
Breaking the rules
 Occasionally, it pays to use your
 imagination to try something a little
     Gary Robinson died hungry.
     He wanted fried chicken, the three-piece box for $2.19.
 Drunk, loud and obnoxious, he pushed ahead of seven customers
 in line at a fast-food chicken outlet. The counter girl told him
 that his behavior was impolite. She calmed him down with sweet
 talk, and he agreed to step to the end of the line. His turn came
 just before closing time, just after the fried chicken ran out.
     He punched the counter girl so hard her ears rang, and a
 security guard shot him -- three times.

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