How to Plan and Write Your News Reports Well?

There have been quite a few requests here by some readers about writing a good news report. News stories are very different from normal articles. There are no gimmicks of rhetoric, assumptions, or beliefs. There are only facts and testimonies: hard, tangible facts and testimonies from people involved and experts. Let's see how a few-paragraph news story evolves from a newsworthy event.

BBC tells the news script involves 3 c's of journalism: Clear, Concise, and Correct. A news report should be clear, without any difficult words or constructions as maybe found in articles like those written by G B Shaw. The second C tells us the news story should not be expanded with unneeded assumptions or beliefs. There should only be facts expressed as concisely as possible. And the third C tells the report should be composed only of verifiable facts. Here are the steps to writing a news report correctly.

Step 1: Get All Facts Right

First thing you need to do is obviously collecting the facts. What help you in this are questions: What, when, where, who, why, and how. Simply find answers to these questions and you are done with the first step. Arrange the facts in a bulleted list or better, beside these question words.

Step 2: Create Your All-inclusive Title & First Sentence

The title and your first sentence should provide ample hook for your readers to delve deep into your news story. Writing a catchy title is of course a difficult job, and is the most enchanting. This comes with a lot of writing and experience.

Popular belief is a good title should make the scanner read the first sentence, and the first sentence, the second, and so on. The title of most news stories pretty much capture the entire story in one shot. Reading popular news sources will help you get a good idea of how to write one.

Writing your first sentence is no big deal. Simply list the major facts in order. Here is an example pulled from the New York Times:

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Sprint Nextel Corporation, the wireless provider, said Monday that it would eliminate about 8,000 jobs, or about 14 percent of its work force, in the first quarter as it seeks to cut annual costs by $1.2 billion.
[From New York Times]

Step 3: Put Up Answers to Subsequent Questions With Verification

Now, you can separate paragraphs on the other major questions asked above. List all the facts with verified sources of information. Verification of the sources is important, since no one can report that someone has done or said something they haven't. It can only end you up in court or into a lot of expenditure.

Step 4: Quote Experts and Involved People

As a final step, you need to quote comments made by any person(s) involved in the incident you have interviewed and opinions by any experts. If you have access to these, it will add a lot of spice to your news story.

Some Tips

The above steps pretty much wrap up how a reporter should approach the news story. Here are some tips, which will help you a lot.

  • Make it trustworthy. Don't assume anything anywhere.
  • If you have made a statement, be able to verify it with facts.
  • Be sure to follow the 3 c's rule: Clear, Concise, and Correct.
  • Don't forget rules of grammar and punctuation.
  • Don't write anything that hasn't happened or told.
  • Read a lot of news stories by professional news publications to improve your writing skills.


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2 Opinions:

  1. Great tips, I have one question when submitting a news article is there a particular written format to use?

  2. Excellent information - the only thing that I can add is to make sure to keep it timely like in the example above. I let my readers know exactly when the event took place. Thanks!


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