What is it?
How is it structured?
How is it written?
• 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
• 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
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
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:
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
Guidelines for writing effective
Effective writing is challenging
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
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
3. Use strong, active verbs
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
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
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
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
Avoid stating the obvious
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
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
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.