How to write a news article

People lying on blanket in park reading newspapers

To write a news piece, a mammoth amount of preparation is entailed. This includes interviewing experts, getting quotes from eyewitnesses, poring over police reports, making observations and trawling other media.

When it comes to the actual writing, despite having this wealth of info, the writer must convey all of it concisely within an often very limited word count.

Here are some tips for writing a classic news article:

1. Create an outline

After you’ve collated all your information, plan and write your outline for the piece. This way you can establish a hierarchy for all your information and ensure you’re including all the relevant facts in a well-structured article.

2. The 5Ws

The opening of a news article should engage the reader and summarise the story. This method means all the significant information is at the top—so it’s known as the inverted pyramid structure. Every news story should open with the 5 Ws: Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Most readers don’t make it past the first few paragraphs so it’s important you don’t bury the lead.

3. Think of an angle

While you should be completely impartial in the writing of a news article, it’s good to have a hook. Think about why this story is unique; what reverberations it might have, or who might be affected. News articles, especially about well-covered topics, will benefit from having a slant that gives the story a focus.

4. Watch your language

News writing is a different beast to a lot of other journalism; it’s never flowery and the short paragraphs should be written in plain English devoid of jargon, abbreviations, acronyms or clichés. Words should be active (not passive) and adjectives should be kept to a minimum, and excluded entirely if they are vague.

5. Cite sources and fact-check

If you’re referencing information from another source, cite the origin and credit appropriately. Also make sure quotes are inside quotation marks and attributed. Lastly, check your facts and quotes before publishing, so incorrect information doesn’t get through and discredit your piece.

At ALHAUS, we love to write everything from succinct news pieces to engaging editorials, brand stories to social media quips. Contact us today to help you create engaging copy.