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News-writing tips

Writing News Tips | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's book

The number of independent news outlets is rapidly growing. Their popularity is continuously rising. Which means that there’s a career to be made for aspiring writers in writing news articles.

Considering how quickly any type of information can be shared today, it is vital for every aspiring journalist to know how to write compelling and captivating news articles. To become a professional journalist, however, you have to relentlessly train your news writing skills as much as you can. But mastering this type of writing is not an easy task, especially if you are only starting.

To assist you in this arduous task, here are seven news-writing tips.

1.  Choosing the right topic

In today’s era of rapid information spreading, it should be easy enough to find a worthwhile topic to write a news article about.

Except, it isn’t.

Many of the topics will turn out to be dead ends, either because they need more research than you have time for, or because they have already been covered by someone else.

Choosing the right topic is the vital first step in accumulating the necessary experience in news-writing.

2. Choosing trustworthy sources

In today’s era of fake news, it is even more important for skilled journalists or newsfeed writers to be impartial. Always check your sources and refrain from publishing anything that’s not verified by at least two trustworthy sources. The ability to define how genuine a source of information is will be immensely helpful to you in becoming a full-fledged journalist.

3. Interview everyone involved

If possible, interview everyone involved in a situation you’re writing about. By interviewing witnesses, you can recreate a realistic picture of the specific event or situation and receive a lot of firsthand information about it. However, be sure to critically analyze each testimony that you’ve managed to get to ensure that you have all your facts straight. It’s not unusual for witnesses to contradict each other and a large part of being a journalist involves teasing out the truth from all the competing narratives.

4. Structure your article

Make sure that your article has an easy-to-understand, logical structure. This way, you will be able to make your article more reader-friendly and easier to understand by the general public. In addition, you have to remember that each person’s literacy level is drastically different and each age group has its own vocabulary. Did you know that the average reading ability in the US is that of a 13-year-old?

5. See the bigger picture

Events don’t just happen. They’re part of a larger narrative. When writing your article, don’t limit it to the reciting of facts and testimonies that you’ve managed to gather on your own. Research everything and everyone who is relevant to the situation. Gathering as much information as possible will help you see the bigger picture behind the events. Most readers are looking for someone to help them make sense of the event, not someone to simply describe it to them.

6. Plan your structure before writing

When you plan the structure of your article before starting to write, you will end up with a cleaner, more professional end result. Since the text of your article will have a clear structure, it will be more appealing to the general public because everybody will be able to understand its contents with relative ease (remember what we said above about people’s average reading ability?)

7. Read your article aloud and proofread

After you finish writing your article, read it aloud once, and proofread it at least one more time. Once you’re done, check it one last time on Grammarly or any other proofreading tool of your choice. This will help you correct all errors before presenting your work to its readers. Moreover, you will be able to assess the text of your article as well as its overall tone and quality.

Happy (news article) writing!