So you want to be a journalist? Or perhaps you have been asked to write a newspaper article for an assignment. Whatever the case, you need to know how to write interesting newspaper articles.
Think about interesting articles that you have read in a newspaper, magazine, or online. Analyse those articles and work out what makes them interesting.
Before you start writing, you need to think carefully about what you are going to write about. Perhaps you have been given a topic, but often journalists are expected to come up with their own stories. The best articles are usually those which reflect the writer’s interests. You will also need to do some background research into your topic. This could include interviewing local people (or even celebrities if you can gain access to them).
You should get quotes that you can use to flesh out your article. Try to find people who hold strong opinions about the topic you are going to write about. Be sure to ask permission to publish their comments. Either record the interviews or write down what is said. If you do that you are unlikely to misquote an interviewee.
You might want to interview a local person who has done something newsworthy, for example, a local sporting personality who has just won an Olympic medal. You can interview someone in a variety of ways. There’s no one formula that must be followed. You can conduct a formal or informal interview., whichever you or your interviewee is most comfortable with. You might need to write down the questions you are going to ask and run them past the interviewee before the interview. Before the article is finished, get the interviewees approval.
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The headline should be written in AP style, which means that the only capital letters are names and a capital for the first letter of the first word. Numbers are written in digits not full words. Write several headlines and decide on the best one. It should be eye-catching, and encourage the reader to read the whole article.
The lede is typically the opening sentence of first paragraph of the article. When you have decided on the lead/lede, think of the hook you will use to encourage the reader to read more than just the summary of the article.
The story should contain facts as well as quotes from interviewees obtained from your research. It should be written in active not passive voice. Your opinion is immaterial and so you don’t include it in the article.
Make sure that the events you write about are in chronological order, so as not to cause confusion.
Put the most important facts and information in the early paragraphs of your article. Include the background to your story, as well as supporting information and any other related information.
There’s no need to list your sources at the end of an article; it’s not an academic paper.
Whatever you write, you should be interested in the topic. Whip up your enthusiasm even if you think the topic is boring. Try to think that actually there are no boring topics. Your readers may well be interested in different things to you and they are very important. Imagine that your readers are huge fans of the subject you are writing about. If your enthusiasm for the topic wanes, or is really non-existent, find online forums, blogs and videos by those who really are interested in your topic. You will get a different perspective on it and this should enliven your writing. Make the story colourful by using adjectives and adverbs. Dig up some fascinating (relevant) details and include them.
As you become a more experienced journalist, you will find that your style develops. Your readers will follow your stories and look forward to the next one you write.
Use the active voice throughout your article. The passive voice may be fine for weighty editorials, but the general reader will respond to the active voice better.
Proof read your article before submitting it for publication. Your editor will appreciate it if he or she doesn’t have to correct mistakes in grammar, punctuation, spelling and use of English. Read the finished article several times, as you don’t necessarily spot all your mistakes on the first reading.
Of course, your editor will still check your article before it is published, but make a good impression on him or her by having it error free by the time her or she reads it.
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