Writing a story requires a huge amount of efforts from the side of the reporters as well as the editor. An effective news story appeals the audience and nabs their interest to further complete the story. Unnecessary information in the introduction leaves the readers astray as it hinders the flow of the story.
Some important points that must be kept in mind while writing a news story for a newspaper are as follows:
Report in Brief
An intro must be short and to the point. A maximum of 20 words for the first paragraph is as good a guideline as any. Overloading paragraphs with too much information or too many clauses may slow the story down.
One of the best ways to proceed with the story is to work chronologically through how the events happened. A blend of direct and indirect reporting is a must. Historically, the inverted pyramid is the way of constructing news stories. It basically means placing the important and newsworthy stuff on the top while the other pieces of news that could be trimmed upon at the very end.
Keep It Simple
Long titles should never be used for intros. A story should be kept as simple as possible. This is something that would interest the readers, overloading it with heavy words and abbreviations will only doom the story.
Remember Your Audience
It is vital to remember the readers of your story as they are the people for whom the story has been written in the first place. Special emphasis should not be given to a particular beat as the readers vary, so does their longings. The apprentice hack should study the language of newspapers and think who will be reading their copy. A clear form of English should be used by avoiding jargon, slang , pomposity , academic complexity and obscurity.
Grammatical mistakes often appear in the broadsheets because of the length and complexity of the sentences. It is more likely to have a mistake in a sentence that is extremely long and is exaggerated. Hence, the correct usage of punctuation is a must for any news story.
It is imperative for a news reporter to get his/her facts right. A news story is all about reporting sincere and reliable facts to the general public. No matter how the language or punctuation is used, till the time a story does not comprise solid facts it shall not flourish. A double check of facts is requisite and must be done.
One of the best ways to improve the intros is by reading newspaper. One should always learn to adapt their style and experiment. According to Evans ‘Every word should be scrutinized: If it is not a working word, adding sense to a sentence, it should be struck out.
Answer all the Questions
The readers are interested in knowing anything and everything. A proper news story answers all the 5 W’s i.e what, when, where, when and why.
The basic specifications of the news story include answering all the questions that may arise in the audience’s mind. The reader should be completely satisfied once he’s finished with the news story. One should focus on drama and human angle, how is the story affecting the society at large. Reporters should be on the look-out for the unexpected.
Get the Rhythm
Economy as well as rhythm requires all kinds of sentences to be used. Somehow in the national tabloids, one looks at mainly short sentences that keep the story flowing. The sentences should be short but not monotonously so. There should be continuity in the news story. It should not look as if the writer has skipped some part of the story and has jumped to the conclusion. There should be a certain flow in the news story along with rhythm.
Special attention should be given as to how a name is been spelled or written in the newspaper or magazine. Names are a basic building block of news reporting. The reporter’s most basic tool beyond his or her pen is the voice. A reporter must ask in case of any sort of confusion. It is disrespectful to a person if his/her name is spelt wrongly in a local newspaper. It brings disgrace to the news organisation as well.