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Don’t Do It! How To Improve Your News Writing
My first news story came back with red pen scribbled all over it. The editor told me to go away and start again. I blinked back the tears, held my tongue and rewrote the story. Over next few months of my career in journalism, my work was red-penned again and again, though slightly less each time. It wasn’t that I couldn’t write, but I hadn’t yet learned to write a news story. About six months in, I handed a story to the editor and waited for the inevitable rewriting advice. To my surprise, it came back to me with a grunt, but with no red marks on it. Iâ€™d finally learned how I should craft a news story. Here are 12 points which may improve your news writing.
1 The headline should say what the story is about and should be short. It usually encapsulates the information in the lead. If it doesn’t, start again.
Intro and structure
2 Remember the 6Ws.
3 Lead with the most important information.
4 Pay attention to structure. Make it logical, so that readers can follow events easily.
Style, tone and content
5 Make sure the style and content are appropriate for your target publication.
6 Keep sentences short, clear and simple wherever possible.
7 Avoid passive constructions — active sentences bring the news to life.
8 Check spelling of names you’re not sure about
9 Don’t editorialize — news should be about facts, not opinion.
10 Try to avoid repetition — one mention is usually enough for each fact.
11 Don’t believe the hype — are you being sceptical enough?
12 Proofread your work for inconsistencies in spelling, grammar and tenses