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How do you write a newspaper Article?

I have a project to do about make a newspaper article. I have researched information about what I will be writing about. But I just don't know how to start it to capture the reader's attention.

Thank you!

Comments

Think about what would catch your eye in scanning newspaper articles, or even do so and note your response. You can also include a "teaser" in the first paragraph to encourage reading on. For instance,

"The Oakland Raiders defeated the San Diego Chargers 27-24 on a last second field goal that sealed a dramatic comeback victory. Sebastian Janakowski's third field goal of the game gave Oakland a spot in the playoffs. This is the first time in history that the Raiders have achieved that berth."

Also, write it in a very factual style rather than in an editorial style. Newspaper readers are looking for the facts, not the writer's opinion, unless of course the article is an editorial.

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8 Answers

I would just add one more piece of advice to the already great listings:

Having a good vocabulary and using exciting verbs and adjectives can really spice it up. Notice the big difference here:

1. "The Oakland Raiders won against the San Diego Chargers 27-24 on a last-second field goal."


2. "The Oakland Raiders defeated the San Diego Chargers 27-24 on a last second field goal that sealed a dramatic comeback victory."

So keep in mind that other words can spice up the facts and engage the readers!

In journalism, start with the most important events first.  Example- A football team is down by ten points in the 4th quarter.  The game is eventually won on a last second field goal.   

"The Oakland Raiders defeated the San Diego Chargers 27-24 on a last second field goal that sealed a dramatic comeback victory.  Sebastian Janakowski's third field goal of the game gave Oakland a spot in the playoffs."

After being down ten points going into the fourth quarter, quarterback Carson Palmer threw for 50 yards on an exciting drive that resulted in a touchdown pass.  An Oakland defender then intercepted San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers, which later set up Janikowski's game winning field goal."

 

Don't start by discussing what happened in the first quarter first; that's not the exciting part.  Talk about the headline grabbing events.  Write your article so if the reader only read the first paragraph, they would still know the important part of the game- that Oakland won 27-24 on a last second field goal.  Good luck and let me know if this helps.

 

Comments

I think Brandon is basically right - important facts first, but I would add, as an old HS sportswriter that good journalists always answer the - Who, what, where, when & how and maybe even Why questions, in the course of the article. I  think he's quoting the AP article, which went on even to discusss the time of day, etc. 

That is good advice, Frederick!  I actually made the article up just to give an example.

This answer offers a lot of good advice as do several others.

Another piece of advice that I learned in college: our journalism professor made us analyze a lead (first sentence with 5w & h) on the front page of the local paper every day. We had to count the words, notice where the first quote appeared, and so on. If you want to really learn the craft, I suggest you do this as much as possible.

We found that after the lead, you usually see a quote, and then the inverted pyramid chain from most important to least important. You will notice it's generally written in Subject-Verb-Object structure without many long twisting sentences.

Generally in journalism in the 1st paragraph is what is known as the 5 w's and h.  Meaning, who, what, when, where, why and how.  The subsequent paragraphs will expand on the 5 w's and h in further details.

You can't go wrong with the famous 'Who', What', Where', 'How', and 'Why'. Just list thoses in order, spend more time on anything unusual (Man Bites Dog), and keep editing untill the main facts stand out in the mass of information.

First, you need to know what type of article you plan to write. You have several basic choices: a straight news story, a feature, or an editorial. Each has different requirements.

If it is straight news, then think of an inverted pyramid. Include more information the the beginning and answer who, what, where, why, when, and how in the first several sentences. Do not express an opnion - just tell what happened.

If it is a feature, then you can expand on a description more, but establish your focus or main point, and then support it with details. Use quotes, facts, and observations to show the story, but still, do not use your opinion.

For editorials, you should express your opinion. This of it as an argument and that someone asks you why you feel that way. Then think of answering with several thorough reasons.

News writing can be fun if you start out with a clear idea of what type of article you are going to write. 

Best of luck with your writing!

Anne, while Brandon and the others are correct about stating the most important facts, there are other styles of journalistic writing that are definitely better to use, especially outside of sports. If you pick up any major newspaper, you may notice that the sports section has a completely different writing style than the rest of the newspaper. This is because with most sports stories, you are basically finding a nice way to regurgitate facts. For a different take on a style to fit a non-sports story, try the inverted pyramid style. You may be thinking, 'this looks a lot similar to what everyone else said.' Well that is because it is similar. Unlike with sports writing however, a full newspaper article is going to be longer with more details, some important, some not so important.

Basically for the inverted pyramid style, start with the major facts: who, what, when, where, why (sometimes how depending on the topic). As the story progresses, include helpful and relative but not CRITICAL information, then information that is relevant but not needed to make the story (information for those who are most interested in your topic) such as contact info. Some people describe this style as going from most interesting information to least interesting information, which is also a good way to look at it.

Whatever style you decide to use, make sure you definitely have a good lead. Your lead is going to be your first graph, usually 2-3 sentences. This is where you want the major facts I mentioned above.

 

If you're the type of person who likes visual reminders: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-zTi61_sK2KY/T5WKDjzZBhI/AAAAAAAAARw/G__Tte3fWIA/s640/inverted-pyramid.gif

 

Look at it like a competition....your competitors are the other articles in the paper, and the judge is your reader. Not only must you have well researched, accurate, and grammatically correct information...but you have to make your article stand out to the judge, your reader. How you do that is what gives you the reporters advantage. Some examples of this might be a catchy title, a photo, a statistical chart. You may also affect your readers by the style you choose to present your information in...humorous, statistical, sympathetic..etc.

A good title will definitely get your readers' attention. For example, "The Last Five Seconds of Field Drama".

For me, I would definitely want to read the article just from the title alone. However, the content of the article needs to flow with the title. If it doesn't, you'll lose credibility from your readers. I hope this will help along with what the other contributors have provided. Good luck!

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