How to Write a Newspaper Article
If you want to make a mark in the newspaper world, it is vital to understand what people want to read. Here are some tips and useful steps that will help create great content along the way.
Steps for Writing a Top Newspaper Article
Step 1: Research Your Topic
In the news business, it is essential to have your topic researched well. This is the way to make sure that the article seems credible. It is important to answer the “5 Ws.” These include who is involved, what is happening, where it is happening, why it is happening, when it is happening, and how it is happening. By addressing these issues, a writer will cover all aspects of a newspaper article.
Step 2: Compile the Facts
While planning what you will write in your article, you will need to sort through all of the facts. You will need to select the items that are valuable to your story. Some of your facts may be interesting but may not add value to your article. Finally, some facts are not important to what you are trying to say.
Step 3: Create an Outline
Before you begin your actual writing, it is advised to create a structured outline so that you know what to say and how to say it. This will provide a guide so that you know where everything will fit into your story. It will make your job easier and will make things flow nicely. The first sentence of your article should always create your lead topic and draw an audience. Never “bury your lead” by placing it at the end of your story. Stating your topic early explains to readers what is in the article and hooks them so that they keep reading.
Step 4: Find a Unique Angle
Keep your audience in mind as you compile your information. Your audience should direct the tone of your piece. Finding an angle is important as well. This expresses your true voice. If you are writing about a popular subject, try to uncover a different angle than other writers. This will intrigue the crowd. If you have personal expertise that adds to your story, it will give you an edge with readers.
Step 5: Interview Subjects
News depends on the experiences of others. Interviewing people will give you a source for your topic. While conducting an interview, you should reach out by phone or email and should identify yourself as a reporter. Always keep your mind open and remain objective. You must record essential details and listen to everything that your subject is discussing.
How to Blend Analysis and Narrative Within Your Article
An experienced journalist understands the best ways to tell a story in a pleasing manner but with total facts and knowledge. It is not always easy to remain objective, but it is necessary when creating an article for a newspaper. Here is a formula list that should be followed.
- Awareness. Before writing any story, a reporter must comprehend what is involved. Many times, the story that you intend to tell may require extra research. Also, the topic may be complex. As the author, you may have a unique perspective or opinion that should be explained or proven to your audience.
- Map Your Thoughts. Be aware that there are two sides to every story. Although you may have a certain bias towards one side, it is essential to keep your readers in mind and to present the story in its entirety so that the audience can form personal opinions. Instead of speaking with an expert who agrees solely with your point of view, make sure to balance this with another expert who is on the other side of the issue.
- Evaluate Your Information. Never take another person’s word as total truth. As a writer or a news reporter, it is essential to check all facts and present your story in a style that allows the reader to form his or her own conclusions. In this manner, your article will not be based on opinion or hearsay.
- Be Transparent. Since newspaper articles do not include footnotes or bibliographies, it is essential to provide readers with the sources of your data. This will give a better insight into how you formed your conclusions. Instead of relying on anonymous sources, try to site trusted platforms and recognized organizations as your main sources of information.
How Journalists Choose Interesting Article Topics
There are many stories that a reporter can choose to include in a newspaper.
However, there are ways that a successful writer comes up with interesting topics. Here are some ways to create content that draws an audience.
- Always Ask Questions. Brainstorm various topics. Ask other people how they feel about these ideas. If your questions seem interesting to the masses, it may be a sign that you will draw attention with your article.
- Keep Track of Major Events. Holidays are always a time to create a special article about various topics. If you write about a particular industry, consider writing about large conferences or meetings that have a bearing on others. Finally, if there is an upcoming product launch that is a part of your niche, make sure to cover the event in your publication. The same can be said about an upcoming visit from an important person or a similar event that is relevant to your community.
- Assemble Great Contacts. A journalist is nothing without his or her list of contacts. If you need content in a pinch, it may be wise to reach out to someone on your list and to uncover the latest news in a particular industry. Also, if you are brainstorming thoughts, peruse your contacts for the perfect individual who can offer a good perspective and insight into your topic.
- Use All of Your Senses. It is essential to use your eyes and ears to think of a new story. You should be listening to podcasts, watching videos, perusing various social media platforms, and reading a variety of articles. By widening your perspective on different topics, you will get a true sense of other people’s points-of-view. Instead of writing from one standpoint, you will be able to discuss a topic intelligently and to debate important subjects in a fair manner.
10 Tips that Every Newspaper Writer Should Follow
- Use a Catchy Headline. The first thing that a reader sees is an article’s title or headline. If it is boring or unappealing, it gives the reader very little reason to continue with the article. Use exciting words. Ask a question that a person thinks is worth reading to find an answer as well.
- Important Information Goes at the Top. Many newspaper writers adhere to the “Inverted Pyramid” model. This places the most important information in the first paragraph. Sometimes, parts of stories get cut out of the newspaper to save space. Following this model, the most essential information is presented in the beginning, so key points are not deleted.
- Use Quotes. To add depth to your article, using someone else’s words to convey vital ideas is smart. However, it is essential to use a person’s exact words. Also, make sure to credit your source, to spell the person’s name correctly, and to keep his or her words in context.
- Be Succinct. A newspaper writer must get to the point from the start. It is vital to grab the audience’s attention immediately. There is no time for verbage. Most people do not read more than 250 words before they begin to skim the rest. Get your information out in the open quickly.
- Add Images. A picture helps a reader connect to the topic. It conveys a place, a person, or an item and supplements your article. It can say much more than any word on the page of the newspaper.
- Provide Answers. When a person reads an article in the newspaper, he or she is usually looking for a fast answer to a problem or quick information. Through solid reporting, a reader should feel as though he or she has a better grasp of the subject matter after finishing the article.
- Be Engaging and Thought Provoking. When your audience is engaged, your reader will hang on your every word. To engage people, you should provoke thoughts by asking questions. Anecdotes work as well. Stories help to clarify important points.
- Provide Actionable Content. Writing a newspaper article should display facts and deliver new content. However, inspiring your audience and offering actionable tips or advice is always welcome and will keep your readers returning for more.
- Be Accurate. There is no room for bending facts, especially in the newspaper world. When you report a story, always use accurate information. As previously stated, you must give credit to your sources as well.
- Proofread Before Submission. Proofreading is more than just looking for grammar or spelling errors. As you proofread your article, you should make sure that you followed your original outline and maintained a consistent style.
The above advice is meant to give you some ideas on how to create interesting and original content for a newspaper. Professional journalists practice many of the tips on a regular basis so that they offer valuable and unique information to readers. If you wish to write for a newspaper, following the provided steps will help to bring success.