Characteristics of News Stories
Writers for the mass media spend time on
--gathering information –eye witness, things you read, things others tell you
--packaging that information in acceptable forms, depending on who you are writing for, what
--Having the right information
—relevant facts of a story, proper identification of people involved
(including correctly spelled names and titles), times and dates, accurate direct quotes—
is vital to the
Having a mind for accuracy is so important! You are going for accuracy, clarity and precision
But that’s only part of it-just the beginning
Then you have to have Knowledge of the language AND Adherence to the rules of style
And at some point you have to stop gathering information and
. So How DO You Begin?—
you start by finding out what your story will be about.
Faced with a mass of information, facts, ideas, quotations, and so forth, the news writer must find a
central idea to help sort out what information stays and what can go.
And also this will help with
sorting out the order of the information.
Your story has to have unity—be about one topic or central idea
The central idea will usually be expressed in the lead –normally in the first paragraph, which sets the tone
and direction for the story.
If you have a good lead, this will help unify the piece.—then subsequent paragraphs should pick up on
various aspects of the story introduced in the lead. The lead tells the reader what the story is about but it
leads to some questions, which the rest of the story then addresses.
Writers approach stories in various ways, according to their personal styles, the time they have, the space
that will be dedicated to the piece, the information they have…the publication they are writing for, and
the readers …
Today we’ll talk about the basic news story structure—the inverted pyramid, which we will practice for
the next few weeks in class. This will help you as a PR writer to put together stories editors will be more
likely to pick up and run.