How to Write a Newspaper Article
Writing a newspaper article is different from writing an essay or a report.
- A news article is fresh – dealing with an event that has recently occurred.
- It describes the events objectively, using photos, verbal descriptions, eyewitness accounts and statements from those involved.
- The writer/journalist refers to what others say, but does not share his own opinion.
- The writer/journalist starts with the important or sensational news first and then adds elements of decreasing importance.
However, it is easy to write a news article if you cover a simple chain of events that no-one disputes. You just refer to what, when, where, who, how and why. Can you spot these various pieces of information below?
A 17 year-old girl broke her arm playing handball Monday evening at 8 P.M. The incident occurred as she collided with a fellow player heading back to defend her goal. This was the final match of the Billham handball cup.
- (WHO) A 17 year-old girl
- (WHAT) broke her arm
- (HOW) playing handball
- (WHEN) Monday evening at 8 P.M The incident occurred as
- (WHY) she collided with a fellow player heading back to defend her goal. This was the final match of the
- (WHERE) Billham handball cup.
Having said that it is easy to write a news article, we have to add that it will all depend on what you cover. Drawing a line is not difficult, painting a horse is. The complexity of various pieces of news to cover may vary just as much - from a small injury to an international conference about a disputed topic - like how to fight terrorism.
The challenge is to use words that precisely describe what took place, and to let various involved governments and organizations come with a statement to air their views and concerns. As a journalist, you are obliged to get an unbiased and nuanced coverage of the events. However, in some cases we don’t agree about what has actually happened, and there is a limit as to how many statements we can add to an article. Therefore, journalists are sometimes criticized for not covering an issue in a fair manner.
We will stick with simple news scenarios in the following, but nevertheless, keep in mind always to use a precise, objective language when you write news articles.
1 Write a newspaper article about the following incident: A car has slid off the road, leaving a boy in the backseat slightly injured. Make up the rest of the details and get a statement from a police officer at the scene.
2 Arrange a press conference where the headmaster of your school announces that the school will introduce school uniforms from next year on. (A teacher or a student has to play this part and prepare some facts on the matter - like type of uniform, pricing, disciplinary actions etc. The rest of the class are journalists and may ask questions.)
Following the press conference, all the students write a news article on the topic. Add pictures from the Internet, and format the text like in a real newspaper by using columns, bold text, large heading etc.
Before you arrange this press conference, you may want to discuss the topic of school uniforms in class.