Writing news doesn’t have to be difficult. “Do your homework,” said marketing coach Sean Mize. Don’t just report. Prepare beforehand in order to cover all angles of the story. Use a variety of sources and check them to make sure that they are accurate and fair.
After the research is complete, the writing process must begin. There are three tips that can help journalists compose a news article that is interesting and relevant:
- Know your audience. Writing for TV viewers and newspaper readers is different than writing for online readers. “Web usability studies show that readers tend to skim over sites rather than read them intently,” said Jonathan Dube, founder of cyberjournalist.net. Readers have different expectations for the acceptable length and intensity of an article.
Relevant articles capture the interest of the reader. Reporters must consider proximity and know whether the article will resonate on a local, national or global level. Timeliness and immediate impact are features that also increase the relevance of the article.
- Dont follow the pack. Free-lance writer William Zinsser told Mallary Jean Tenore in an interview that “the only way to write something good is to write what you want to write and believe in the validity of its subject and don’t give a damn about anybody else.”
Ideas don’t always have to originate with editors or other journalists. Aim to approach them in new, fresh ways.
- Be tight, concise and straightforward. Writing coach Roy Peter Clark wrote an essay arguing that most good stories can be written in 800 words or less. Short articles help hold the attention of the reader and logical sentence flow helps promote understanding.
There isn’t a magical formula for writing news articles that will maximize readership and break new ground. Writers should explore what works for them. But, with a few tips from reporters, writing news articles can be painless.