a guide on how to write a news story

a guide news storyWhen writing a story think about:


How many people are affected by the story?

Will it have an affect on their lives or pocketbooks?

Timeliness/ Immediacy

News is supposed to be new.

Get the story out there and quick (but make sure your info is correct)


The closer to home, the more newsworthy the story.


Names make news.

Does the story involve a well-known celebrity?


Something new, odd or surprising?


Bad news is often more newsworthy than good news.

Political battle or sports rivalry? Gold.


People respond to human interest stories that are inspiring.

Six sources we can use

Newsmakers: policemen, coaches, players

Spokesperson: PR specialists, media relations

Experts: professor, doctor

Official records: Police reports, case studies, court documents

Internet: Real reference websites, official websites (no Wikipedia)

Ordinary people: Witnesses

Do’s and Don’ts

DO familiarize yourself

DO follow the money

DO call sources back

DO write for your readers

DON’T get too cozy

DON’T get used

DON’T waste a source’s time

DON’T simply mimic

The lead of a story

A lead usually contains one idea.

Keep it short– don’t exceed 35 words

Don’t be afraid to use the enter key– break it up if you have to.

Leads are written in active voice– U2 performed hits from their most recent album…

Never say yesterday or today, use the day of the week– after a week use the date.


The next part of a story: Nut Graph

Identify the WHO if not addressed in the lead.

Give details of the event: time and/or place.

Begin answering WHY and HOW.

The MOST IMPORTANT INFORMATION is at the beginning of the story

Body of story

News graphs can be one sentence, but they should not be more than three to four sentences.

Short, punchy paragraphs are much easier to read.

Make sure to show what the future holds for the story, readers love to know what is coming next.

sign off



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