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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 All we want are the facts, M’am. Just the facts. • are news stories and focus only on the facts, just like Sergeant Joe Friday in Dragnet.
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.
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 What’s the difference?
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 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 Feature vs. News
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.) Who
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? What
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”? Where
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? When
is the story newsworthy? • why should the reader care? • why is this story or event different from others like it? Why
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.