Writing Advice for Writing A Newspaper Article
Are you a young reporter struggling to write a feature – newspaper article? This post will leave you with some advice for beginners. Hopefully, by the time you finish reading, you will be fully equipped to write articles, media releases, case studies, blog posts and social media content. I intend to encourage you to push the boundaries of the journalist form.
Why write feature stories?
Writing feature stories is increasingly gaining popularity. As a result, we now have more features being published in newspapers and magazines.
The genre for writing articles for newspapers is mainly centred on lifestyles. It covers a whole range of subjects covering food and environmental issues.
The Perks for Writing Features
Feature stories offer journalists the opportunity to divert from the conventional news reporting to writing more creatively.
To have a step by step guide on how to write a feature, I recommend you read this book, Writing Feature Stories: How to Research and Write Newspaper and Magazine Articles written by Ricketson, M. (2004). This book is an excellent guide especially for those struggling to write features.
Newspaper Articles Style
- Newspaper articles are quick and to the point.
- They are not infused with a lot of opinion or
- They are more inclined towards facts. They are plain
The style for newspaper article writing may not seem to involve a lot of fun but it is one of the most important writing skills you should have.
Who is the world’s largest employer for writers?
From a global perspective, newspapers are the largest employers of writers including most companies that are not in the writing industry who look up to hiring people who write newspaper articles.
What Makes A Good Article?
- Good Headline especially articles for online publications and magazines.
- Should include quotes from interviews.
- Should be written in short paragraphs.
- Should have a picture added.
A good newspaper article begins with a good headline to entice readers so that they make an effort to follow up and read the whole story.
Begin your article with some enticing wording. In the body, stick to the facts and you can use a more generic title. However, the space you are allocated for your article determines how much your title needs to be shortened.
Other online publications like magazines need a more enticing title that tells your readers about the main idea or theme of your article.
Surprise or Secret Element
Don’t forget to mention that your article contains a “surprise” or a “secret.” These two words are magic! They drive traffic or more clicks you can imagine and work very well for driving people to your articles.
Find Good Quotes
In the body of your article, you need to find some good quotes from interviews. Quotes work like magnets to bring people. They make your article more personable, something they relate to. Quotes add human quality, plus they allow you to break the flow of facts.
However, always try not to have more than three sentences per paragraph. You can always add some more after a relevant quote or at the end of the article. The idea is not to cramp your article. Otherwise, it risks being spiked by the editor or put in thin columns.
Nothing beats the style of writing with short paragraphs. They look more appealing and readable. The idea is not to get carried away by writing long and interesting paragraphs that are full of information.
The sad thing is many people skip reading them. So, what is the point in writing lengthy paragraphs?
A Picture Says A Thousand Words
Never underestimate the power of images. To write good newspaper articles, add at least a picture. A picture says a thousand words. A captivating picture will make the difference to your readability. Make your article livelier and engaging by adding a picture.
In a nutshell, these are the simple steps or the basics you need to learn to know how to write a newspaper article. Once you grasp these fundamentals you can quickly write a newspaper and do it easily.
If you want to make money on the internet selling features, follow these simple steps. These are basics for writing newspaper articles. You can finetune it from there.
Writing a Newspaper Article – Common Mistakes
I will share with you the mistakes writers make when writing newspaper articles. To hear it all you can read Bob Mayer’s book,102 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes.
- Departing from your original intention.
Before you start writing your article, sit down and ask yourself what is your original creative idea – that began it?
What is the intention behind your article?
Write it down and pin it on your noticeboard where you can see. It will put you on track. Having the original idea in front of you will keep you focused to write in support of your theme.
- Not having a grasp of what it means to communicate.
As a writer trying to figure out your reader’s perspective on the subject at hand. “Go out of your head and into the reader’s head.” Do the words you are using get an intellectual or emotional response? One way you can find out is reading comments left by your readers. Comments will give you a clue if the message you intended to share managed to get across.
- Failure to identify your audience.
Many times writers disconnect from their audience. If you want to submit your article to a newspaper, study the newspaper and the people that read it. Always have the reader at the back of your mind.
- 5 Ws and 1H
Including the 5 Ws and 1H is the secret to Complete News Stories. You can’t talk about journalism without mentioning the 5 Ws and the 1 H. It is the answer to open a newspaper article. It’s a concept helpful when writing factual news stories. It is believed your story isn’t complete until you answer all.
Let’s take a look at the type of information you need to include in the 5 Ws and the 1 H if you were to write a news report.
- Who was involved?
- What happened?
- Where did it take place?
Did it happen outside the
- When did it take place?
At various times throughout the day.
- Why did it happen? How did it happen?
Each time you are outlining a story, consider walking through the 5 Ws and the 1 H to see if you left out anything.
Writing the perfect Letter for Newspapers
Newspapers are always looking for letters from readers to fill the last slot on their print page. The type of letters they accept tends to be topical and well-argued. Above all, should be of the right length.
To improve the chances of your letter appearing in print, keep your letter short. Don’t go round and round in circles but get your facts straight. Also, write your letters with a pinch of humour.
How to maximize getting my letter printed?
First and foremost, it helps to understand the newspaper’s processes.
- Some newspaper letters are not commissioned, thus should reflect the readers’ agenda.
- Readers should disclose their real identities and verification information when submitting letters. Otherwise, they risk not getting published.
- Adhere to newspaper length, house style, relevance and tone.
- Most newspapers prefer to publish robust views and decline letters of abusive or personal and derogatory comments.
A sample for A Letter to the Leicester Mercury
Letter/Comments: Bird Flu Story Published: 7 February 2007
Recent news reports alleging that meat infected with H5N1 bird flu might have already reached supermarket shelves here in the UK came as a great shock to me. What it means is that consumers are now faced with a new threat. So far all they had been informed was that bird flu posed no real threat to the general public unless they either stayed near infected poultry or were directly involved in rearing them.
Nevertheless, there was very little or no information at all to educate people about the aftermaths, if such a mishap occurred. The likely consequences of consuming or getting into contact with bird flu – infected poultry, should have been given equal publicity.
At this stage, consumers need to be equipped with information on all the survival tactics. Its high time scientists and other health experts educated us about the safety measures to take, to ensure H5N1 stayed out of our bloodstreams. For instance, it is a known fact that the H5N1 virus cannot withstand long hours of heating.
If people cooked their poultry properly and avoided consuming it half-cooked, chances would still be there to eliminate bird flu. I am not going into details in explaining how the poultry should be cooked as my knowledge in this area is limited. Instead, if experts were to do the job, they would undoubtedly allay many public fears about the spread of the disease.
Following the bird flu outbreak at Suffolk, much attention has been focused on the source of the problem. Whilst it is equally important to establish whether wild birds or a plant in Hungary was the source, the general public needs basic information surrounding the disease as well: how it is transmitted, prevented, and so on.
If you have any questions about Writing a Newspaper Article – Feature, please leave them below. I will be more than happy to get back to you as soon as I can.