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JOURNALISM
Writing for the News - A
Quick Primer
Different types
newspaper articles we
will be talking about
today:
•News
Articles
•Feature
Articles
News Articles
• are news
stories
and focus
only on
the facts,
just like
Sergeant
Joe Friday
in
Dragnet.
All we want are
the facts,
M’am.
Just the facts.
There are several
types of news
articles:
• local news = what's going on
in your neighbourhood.
• national news = what's
happening in the country.
• international news = news
that's happening outside the
country.
Journalists today often
refer to “hard” news
and “soft” news.
What’s the difference?
Hard news is
• important to a
large number of
people.
• timely
• usually about
events in
government,
politics, foreign
affairs, education,
labor, religion,
courts, etc.
Soft news is
• usually less
important because it
entertains, although
it may also inform
• often less timely
than hard news
• includes human
interest and feature
stories which may
relate to hard news
• appeals more to
emotions than to the
intellect or the
desire to be informed
Hard News
• usually
attracts
fewer readers
• may not be as
interesting
• may be more
difficult to
understand.
Many stories are a
combination of hard
and soft news, and
may present some of
the information in
sidebars and
graphics.
Feature articles
• about "softer" news.
• may be a profile of a person
who does a lot of volunteer
work in the community or a
movie preview.
• not considered news stories.
Feature vs. News
• Feature
– Feature is more
detailed and
descriptive
– Have more
dialogue using
quotations
– Put more of
self into story
• News
– Gives basic
facts
– No opinions
– Direct
Quotations
Writing tips
Although the articles
differ in content, here
are some basics in
writing news.
The lead
Every news article starts with a
lead
• first 1-2 sentences summarize the
most interesting point of the
article.
• should be brief yet catchy,
• gives the reader an instant sense
of what the article is about
• Makes reader want to read more.
The 5 Ws
• News articles always include
the essentials -- who, what,
where, when and why.
• is involved?
• made a scientific
discovery?
• is speaking at a forum?
• made the donation?
• organized the new staff
group?
(Not just names, but titles
and brief backgrounds if
necessary.)
• is the nature of the
news story or event?
• Is it a scientific
discovery, a student
activity, an
appointment to a
professorship, an
award, a talk given at
MIT, a new employee
benefit?
• is the news or event
taking place?
• Is it a fair at the
Pima Fairgrounds, a
talk at the U of A, a
theater production in
the Little Theater at
CFHS?
• Is it taking place “in
backyards around the
country”?
• will (or did) the event
take place?
• What time and date is
the event, or
• when will someone be
available for an
interview or to answer
questions if needed?
• Is it ongoing or
something that happened
in the past?
• is the story
newsworthy?
• why should the
reader care?
• why is this story
or event different
from others like
it?
Pop Quiz!
• Define each term: hard news,
soft news
• What are differences between
a feature article and a news
article?
• Give an original example of
each of the 5 W’s that might
be used in a news story.
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