Students must read The Washington Post for about an hour each day and complete this reading before class, focusing on the front section and the Metro section. News stories should be analyzed for both the quality of writing and depth of reporting. We will discuss the content and structure of stories regularly in class. Chapters are assigned to supplement class lectures and writing assignments.
And now you have to write the story. You have pages in your notebook of facts, observations, quotes. You may have some agency copy, some material from other media.
The first thing to do is stop and think. Do not start writing until you have a plan. Read through all your notes, marking the most important pieces of information and the quotes you want to use. The information you have gathered will not have entered your notebook in order of importance.
This intensive workshop course stresses news reporting and writing techniques important in both print media and online news. Coverage of news events on and off-campus is supplemented by in-class deadline writing exercises. Chapters 7 to 15 cover the basic techniques of researching and presenting news while Chapters 16 to 24 cover basic reporting skills, which you must practise too. They lay the foundations for most reporting tasks you are likely to encounter as a journalist. If you are new to journalism, these news writing rules will serve as a foundation for your education as you begin to write your own articles. 15 Helpful News Writing Rules for Beginning Journalism Students.
You need to decide what is more important, what is less important, to establish a hierarchy of pieces of information. And this is where you must think about your audience. Not necessarily what interests you most, but what will interest them. It may not be the same thing, and this is where knowing, having a feeling for, understanding your audience is so important.
As you stare at the blank screen try to imagine the reader. It depends on the publication you are writing for, of course. You can assume more knowledge if you are writing for a specialist publication, or a specialist section of a newspaper.
A cricket report or commentary can assume knowledge of the rules of cricket; an article for a motoring magazine can assume the reader knows what a supercar is. But some specialist publications set out to educate - computer magazines are a good example - and while interest can be assumed, knowledge of how to use specific pieces of software cannot.
So understand the intentions of the publication you write for, or if you are a freelance you seek to sell to. The market sector in which the newspaper is located is also relevant to how you write. You will find longer sentences and paragraphs and sometimes longer words in the more serious newspapers selling relatively small numbers of copies than in mass-selling newspapers with circulations 10 times as big.
The reader of the Guardian will tend to be better educated and to have a larger vocabulary than the reader of the Sun. But do not, as a writer, show off your extensive vocabulary. It is never better, wherever you are writing, to prefer the less familiar word - "wordy" is always better than "prolix".
Nobody is impressed by the use of a word they do not understand or would not use in everyday speech. The danger of talking down to the audience - assuming vocabulary as well as knowledge - is that it insults readers, makes them feel inadequate.
And that turns them off and, worse, turns them away. They do not read on, and you have not communicated with them. The best writing for popular journalism is some of the best writing in journalism, and is hard to do.
It is readily understandable, instantly readable and, if it is done well, makes you want to read on. Space is always the most precious commodity in a newspaper. Long words and sentences take up more space. Self-indulgent writing pleases nobody except perhaps the writer. Stephen King, who has sold more novels than most, reflected on his craft in On Writing, and drew a similar message: This is like dressing up a household pet in evening clothes.
The pet is embarrassed and the person who committed this act of premeditated cuteness should be even more embarrassed. One of the greatest editors and journalists is Harold Evans, who has written one of the best books on journalistic writing, Essential English for Journalists, Editors and Writers.
He summed it up thus: We must be able to put it across.
Meaning must be unmistakable, and it must also be succinct. Readers have not the time and newspapers have not the space for elaborate reiteration. This imposes decisive requirements. In protecting the reader from incomprehension and boredom, the text editor has to insist on language which is specific, emphatic and concise.Below are a series of tips for keeping things simple and encouraging the reader to read it.
They are addressed at news writing, but most apply to all forms of journalistic writing. The intro. A video instructional series on writing and reporting for college and high school classrooms and adult learners; 15 half-hour video programs and coordinated books discuss and demonstrate focus sentences, transitions, and nut graphs as story development techniques.
5. Dealing With Sources Reveals the relationships among hard news writing. All these stories rely on the basic elements of news writing but do so in different styles. This exercise is good for giving a sense of the breadth of journalism, and .
News stories should be analyzed for both the quality of writing and depth of reporting. We will discuss the content and structure of stories regularly in class.
o “Writing and Reporting News: A Coaching Method,” 3 rd edition, by Carole Rich. This intensive workshop course stresses news reporting and writing techniques important in both print media and online news. Coverage of news events on and off-campus is supplemented by in-class deadline writing exercises.
9. Reporting techniques. Although electronic and digital news-gathering has long superseded film as the main means of originating news material, most of the reporting techniques have remained unchanged.