Tips for Making a Story Interesting

Whether you are writing an exciting story about a celebrity or a boring city council meeting, it is important to gain the interest of your audience.  If you cannot keep a reader interested, they will not read your story.   Why write a story if no one will read it?

Have you ever watched or read the news and wondered why some stories catch the eye of many and others are overlooked?  Charles Dana, a New York Sun editor, once said, “When a dog bites a man, that is not news.  But when a man bites a dog, that is news.”  According to the class textbook, Inside Reporting by Tim Harrower, there are several news elements that are used to make a story interesting which are:

  • Impact: Does the story effect people and how? Depending on how serious the issue is and what the consequences are it can make a big story.
  • Immediacy: How recent is the story or timeliness? Did it just happen? Breaking news stories can catch the interest of many.
  • Proximity: The location of the story matters.  The closer the story is to the readers, the more it can mean to them.
  • Prominence: Does the story have well-known people or celebrities?  Depending on who is involved in the story it can gain the interest of others.
  • Novelty: Something that is unexpected, odd, surprising, or new can make readers interested and curious.
  • Conflict: A story about political uprising or a disagreement can interest readers.
  • Emotions: Stories that cause an emotional reaction such as anger, sadness, or inspiration can engage readers.

I believe that if you can use these news elements you will be able to engage your audience.  The more relevant you can make your story, the more impact you will have on your readers.  If you can establish a reason and importance to your story, why wouldn’t someone read it?

Other useful tips for writing stories can be found on websites such as Media Awareness Network , The Johns Hopkins University, or Media College.

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One Response to Tips for Making a Story Interesting

  1. Anna M. says:

    These news elements are crucial to reporting a good story. I have watched the news and wondered why I choose to label some stories as important and others as not so important. It basically comes down to if the reporter makes it relevant to me and makes me want to care.

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