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How to Write a News Article

Last Updated: April 28, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Gerald Posner . Gerald Posner is an Author & Journalist based in Miami, Florida. With over 35 years of experience, he specializes in investigative journalism, nonfiction books, and editorials. He holds a law degree from UC College of the Law, San Francisco, and a BA in Political Science from the University of California-Berkeley. He’s the author of thirteen books, including several New York Times bestsellers, the winner of the Florida Book Award for General Nonfiction, and has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History. He was also shortlisted for the Best Business Book of 2020 by the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing. There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 2,401,492 times.

Writing a news article is different from writing other articles or informative pieces because news articles present information in a specific way. It's important to be able to convey all the relevant information in a limited word count and give the facts to your target audience concisely. Knowing how to write a news article can help a career in journalism , develop your writing skills and help you convey information clearly and concisely.

Things You Should Know

  • Outline your article with all the facts and interview quotes you’ve gathered. Decide what your point of view on the topic is before you start writing.
  • Your first sentence is the most important one—craft an attention-getter that clearly states the most important information.
  • Proofread for accurate information, consistent style and tone, and proper formatting.

Sample Articles

news paper article writing

Planning Your Article

Step 1 Research your topic.

  • If you’ve ever written a research paper you understand the work that goes into learning about your topic. The first phase of writing a news article or editorial is pretty similar.
  • Who - who was involved?
  • What - what happened?
  • Where - where did it happen?
  • Why - why did it happen?
  • When - when did it happen?
  • How - how did it happen?

Step 2 Compile all your facts.

  • 1) those that need to be included in the article.
  • 2) those that are interesting but not vital.
  • 3) those that are related but not important to the purpose of the article.
  • This fact list will help prevent you from leaving out any relevant information about the topic or story, and will also help you write a clean, succinct article.
  • Be as specific as possible when writing down all of these facts. You can always trim down unnecessary information later, but it’s easier to cut down than it is to have to beef up an article.
  • It’s okay at this point to have holes in your information – if you don’t have a pertinent fact, write down the question and highlight it so you won’t forget to find it out
  • Now that you have your facts, if your editor has not already assigned the type of article, decide what kind of article you’re writing. Ask yourself whether this is an opinion article, an unbiased and straightforward relaying of information, or something in between. [2] X Research source

Step 3 Create an article outline.

  • If you’ve ever heard the term “burying the lead”, that is in reference to the structure of your article. [4] X Research source The “lead” is the first sentence of the article – the one you “lead” with. Not "burying the lead" simply means that you should not make your readers read several paragraphs before they get to the point of your article.
  • Whatever forum you’re writing for, be it print or for the web, a lot of readers don’t make it to the end of the article. When writing a news article, you should focus on giving your readers what they want as soon as possible.
  • Write above the fold. The fold comes from newspapers where there’s a crease because the page gets folded in half. If you look at a newspaper all the top stories are placed above the fold. The same goes for writing online. The virtual fold is the bottom of your screen before you have to scroll down. Put the best information at the top to engage your readers and encourage them to keep reading.

Step 4 Know your audience.

  • Ask yourself the “5 W's” again, but this time in relation to your audience.
  • Questions like what is the average age you are writing for, where is this audience, local or national, why is this audience reading your article, and what does your audience want out of your article will inform you on how to write.
  • Once you know who you are writing for you can format an outline that will get the best information to the right audience as quickly as possible.

Step 5 Find an angle.

  • Even if you are covering a popular story or topic that others are writing about, look for an angle that will make this one yours.
  • Do you have a personal experience that relates to your topic? Maybe you know someone who is an expert that you can interview .

Step 6 Interview people.

  • People usually like to talk about personal experiences, especially if it will be featured somewhere, like your news article. Reach out through a phone call, email, or even social media and ask someone if you can interview them.
  • When you do interview people you need to follow a few rules: identify yourself as a reporter. Keep an open mind . Stay objective. While you are encouraged to ask questions and listen to anecdotes, you are not there to judge.
  • Record and write down important information from the interview, and be transparent with what you are doing and why you are doing this interview.

Writing Your News Article

Step 1 Start with the lead.

  • Your lead should be one sentence and should simply, but completely, state the topic of the article.
  • Remember when you had to write essays for school? Your lead is like your thesis statement.
  • Let your readers know what your news article is about, why it’s important, and what the rest of the article will contain.

Step 2 Give all the important details.

  • These details are important, because they are the focal point of the article that fully informs the reader.
  • If you are writing an opinion piece , this is where you will state what your opinion is as well.

Step 3 Follow up main facts with additional information.

  • This additional information helps round out the article and can help you transition to new points as you move along.
  • If you have an opinion, this is where you will identify the opposing views and the people who hold them.
  • A good news article will outline facts and information. A great news article will allow readers to engage on an emotional level.
  • To engage your readers, you should provide enough information that anyone reading your news article can make an informed opinion, even if it contrasts with yours.
  • This also applies to a news article where you the author don’t state your opinion but present it as an unbiased piece of information. Your readers should still be able to learn enough about your topic to form an opinion.

Step 4 Conclude your article.

  • Make sure your news article is complete and finished by giving it a good concluding sentence. This is often a restatement of the leading statement (thesis) or a statement indicating potential future developments relating to the article topic.
  • Read other news articles for ideas on how to best accomplish this. Or, watch news stations or shows. See how a news anchor will wrap up a story and sign off, then try to emulate that.

Proofing Your Article

Step 1 Check facts before publishing.

  • Be sure to double check all the facts in your news article before you submit it, including names, dates, and contact information or addresses. Writing accurately is one of the best ways to establish yourself as a competent news article writer.

Step 2 Ensure you have followed your outline and have been consistent with style.

  • If your news article is meant to convey direct facts, not the opinions of its writer, ensure you’ve kept your writing unbiased and objective. Avoid any language that is overly positive or negative or statements that could be construed as support or criticism.
  • If your article is meant to be more in the style of interpretive journalism then check to make sure that you have given deep enough explanations of the larger story and offered multiple viewpoints throughout.

Step 3 Follow the AP Style for formatting and citing sources.

  • When quoting someone, write down exactly what was said inside quotations and immediately cite the reference with the person’s proper title. Formal titles should be capitalized and appear before a person’s name. Ex: “Mayor John Smith”.
  • Always write out numbers one through nine, but use numerals for numbers 10 and up.
  • When writing a news article, be sure to only include one space after a period, not two. [12] X Research source

Step 4 Have your editor read your article.

  • You shouldn’t submit any news article for publication without first letting someone take a look at it. An extra pair of eyes can double check your facts and the information to ensure that what you have written is accurate.
  • If you are writing a news article for school or your own personal website, then have a friend take a look at it and give you notes. Sometimes you may get notes that you want to defend or don’t agree with it. But these should be listened to. Remember, with so many news articles getting published every minute you need to ensure that your widest possible audience can easily digest the information you have provided.

Expert Q&A

Gerald Posner

  • Start with research and ask the “5. Asking these questions will help you create an outline and a narrative to your article. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
  • Interview people, and remember to be polite and honest about what you are writing. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
  • Put the most important information at the beginning of your article. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0

news paper article writing

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Expert Interview

news paper article writing

Thanks for reading our article! If you'd like to learn more about writing an article, check out our in-depth interview with Gerald Posner .

  • ↑ https://libguides.mit.edu/select-topic
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.gmu.edu/writing-resources/different-genres/news-writing-fundamentals
  • ↑ https://libguides.southernct.edu/journalism/howtowrite
  • ↑ https://spcollege.libguides.com/c.php?g=254319&p=1695313
  • ↑ https://extension.missouri.edu/publications/cm360
  • ↑ https://mediahelpingmedia.org/basics/how-to-find-and-develop-important-news-angles/
  • ↑ https://www.northwestern.edu/brand/editorial-guidelines/newswriting-guidelines/
  • ↑ https://tacomacc.libguides.com/c.php?g=599051&p=4147190
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/subject_specific_writing/journalism_and_journalistic_writing/ap_style.html
  • ↑ https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/punctuation/space-after-period
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/editing-and-proofreading/

About This Article

Gerald Posner

To write a news article, open with a strong leading sentence that states what the article is about and why it’s important. Try to answer the questions who, what, where, when, and why as early in the article as possible. Once you’ve given the reader the most important facts, you can include any additional information to help round out the article, such as opposing views or contact information. Finish with a strong concluding sentence, such as an invitation to learn more or a statement indicating future developments. For tips on researching your article, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How to Write a News Article: A Step-by-Step Guide

Writing a news article may seem like a daunting task, but with the right approach and a clear understanding of the process, you can craft a compelling and informative piece that engages readers and delivers the news effectively. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the essential elements of writing a news article, from gathering information to structuring your article for maximum impact.

Understanding the Basics of News Writing

Before you begin writing your news article, it’s important to understand the basic principles of news writing. News articles are meant to provide readers with factual information about current events, trends, or issues. They should be concise, clear, and objective, presenting the facts in a straightforward manner without bias or opinion.

Gathering Information

The first step in writing a news article is gathering information. This involves researching the topic, conducting interviews with relevant sources, and collecting data and facts to support your article. Make sure to verify the accuracy of your information and cross-check sources to ensure that your article is reliable and trustworthy.

Crafting a Strong Headline

The headline is the first thing readers will see when they come across your article, so it’s important to make it attention-grabbing and informative. A good headline should summarize the main point of your article in a clear and concise manner, enticing readers to click and read further.

Writing the Lead

The lead, or opening paragraph, is where you hook your readers and draw them into the rest of your article. It should provide a brief summary of the most important information in your article, answering the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the story. The lead should be compelling and engaging, setting the tone for the rest of the article.

Organizing the Body

The body of your news article should provide more detailed information and context about the topic. Organize the body of your article in a logical and coherent manner, presenting the information in a clear and structured format. Use paragraphs to break up the text and make it easier for readers to follow along.

Including Quotes and Attribution

Quotes from relevant sources can add depth and credibility to your news article. When including quotes, make sure to attribute them to the source and provide context for why the quote is relevant to the story. Use quotation marks to set off the quote from the rest of the text.

Adding Context and Background Information

In addition to providing the facts of the story, it’s important to include context and background information to help readers understand the significance of the news. This can include historical context, relevant statistics, or expert analysis that adds depth and insight to the story.

Checking for Accuracy and Fact-Checking

Before publishing your news article, it’s crucial to double-check your facts and ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date. Fact-checking is an essential part of the news writing process, as errors or inaccuracies can damage your credibility as a writer.

Editing and Proofreading

Once you’ve written your news article, take the time to edit and proofread it carefully. Look for spelling and grammar errors, awkward phrasing, and inconsistencies in the tone or style of the article. Consider asking a colleague or editor to review your article for feedback and suggestions for improvement.

Q: How long should a news article be?

A: News articles can vary in length depending on the topic and publication. In general, news articles are typically between 300-800 words, but this can vary depending on the complexity of the story.

Q: How do I choose a news topic to write about?

A: When choosing a news topic to write about, consider current events, trends, or issues that are relevant and interesting to your audience. Look for stories that are newsworthy and have a unique angle or perspective.

Q: Can I include my opinion in a news article?

A: News articles should be objective and impartial, presenting the facts without bias or opinion. Avoid inserting your personal opinions or commentary into the article, as this can compromise the credibility of your reporting.

Q: How can I make my news article more engaging?

A: To make your news article more engaging, focus on writing a strong headline and lead that grab readers’ attention. Use quotes, anecdotes, and descriptive language to bring the story to life and keep readers interested.

Q: How can I improve my news writing skills?

A: Improving your news writing skills takes practice and dedication. Read news articles from reputable sources to study different writing styles and techniques. Practice writing regularly and seek feedback from editors or colleagues to help you refine your skills.

Writing a news article is a challenging but rewarding endeavor that requires careful research, attention to detail, and strong writing skills. By following this step-by-step guide, you can learn how to craft compelling and informative news articles that engage readers and deliver the news effectively.

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Throughout his career, Ara has made significant contributions to various publications and online platforms, covering an eclectic range of topics spanning from technology and business to arts and entertainment. His writing style is characterized by its clarity, wit, and ability to connect with diverse audiences.

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news paper article writing

Master the Essentials of News Writing: A Comprehensive Beginner’s Guide

  • Published: November 28, 2023
  • By: Yellowbrick

In today’s digital age, where information spreads at lightning speed, the demand for well-written news articles is higher than ever. Whether you aspire to be a journalist, a content writer or simply want to improve your writing skills, understanding the basics of news writing is crucial. In this comprehensive beginner’s guide, we will delve into the fundamental principles of news writing, providing you with valuable insights and practical tips to help you craft compelling and informative news articles.

1. Understand the News Writing Structure

News writing follows a specific structure known as the inverted pyramid. This means that the most important information is presented at the beginning of the article, followed by supporting details in descending order of importance. This structure allows readers to quickly grasp the key points of the story, even if they only read the first few paragraphs.

2. Grab the Reader’s Attention with a Strong Headline

A captivating headline is essential to grab the reader’s attention and entice them to click and read the full article. It should be concise, informative, and engaging, giving readers a glimpse of what to expect. Avoid clickbait tactics and strive for accuracy and authenticity in your headlines.

3. Write a Compelling Lead

The lead, also known as the lede, is the opening paragraph of a news article. It should summarize the most important aspects of the story and entice the reader to continue reading. A strong lead is concise, engaging, and answers the key questions of who, what, when, where, why, and how.

4. Stick to the Facts

News writing is based on facts, not opinions. It is crucial to present accurate information and verify your sources. Double-check names, dates, and statistics to ensure the credibility of your article. Avoid biased language and present multiple perspectives when appropriate.

5. Use Clear and Concise Language

News articles should be written in a clear and concise manner. Avoid jargon, technical terms, and complex sentences that may confuse the reader. Use simple, everyday language that is easily understood by a wide audience.

6. Maintain Objectivity

Objectivity is a cornerstone of news writing. Present the facts without bias or personal opinions. Remain neutral and avoid inserting your own views into the article. Let the readers draw their own conclusions based on the information you provide.

7. Write for the Web

In the digital age, news articles are primarily consumed online. When writing for the web, consider the importance of search engine optimization (SEO). Incorporate relevant keywords naturally throughout your article to improve its visibility in search engine results. Additionally, use subheadings, bullet points, and short paragraphs to make your article scannable and easily digestible.

8. Fact-Check and Edit

Before publishing your news article, take the time to fact-check your information and edit for clarity, grammar, and spelling errors. Ensure that your article adheres to the publication’s style guide and follows proper journalistic ethics.

9. Develop Your News Writing Skills

Becoming a skilled news writer takes practice. Read articles from reputable news sources to familiarize yourself with different writing styles and techniques. Consider taking a news writing course, such as the one offered by Yellowbrick, to further enhance your skills and gain valuable insights from industry professionals.

10. Stay Informed and Adapt

The world of news writing is constantly evolving. Stay informed about current events, emerging trends, and changes in the industry. Adapt your writing style to suit different platforms and audiences. Embrace new technologies and storytelling techniques to engage and captivate your readers.

By mastering the essentials of news writing, you will be equipped with the skills needed to excel in the fast-paced and dynamic field of journalism. Practice regularly, seek feedback, and never stop learning. Whether you aim to work for prestigious news organizations like NYU or forge your own path, the power of effective news writing will open doors and help you make a lasting impact in the world of media and communication.

Key Takeaways:

  • Understanding the structure of news writing, such as the inverted pyramid, is essential for presenting information effectively.
  • Crafting strong headlines and leads helps grab readers’ attention and entices them to continue reading.
  • Maintaining objectivity and sticking to the facts are crucial aspects of news writing.
  • Using clear and concise language ensures that your articles are easily understood by a wide audience.
  • Writing for the web requires incorporating SEO techniques and making your content scannable.
  • Fact-checking, editing, and following journalistic ethics are important steps before publishing your news articles.
  • Developing your news writing skills through reading, practice, and additional courses like the one offered by Yellowbrick can enhance your abilities.
  • Staying informed, adapting to changes, and embracing new technologies are necessary to thrive in the evolving field of news writing.

To further enhance your news writing skills and gain valuable insights from industry professionals, consider enrolling in the NYU | Modern Journalism online course and certificate program offered by Yellowbrick. This program provides a comprehensive curriculum that covers various aspects of modern journalism, including news writing, storytelling techniques, and digital media strategies. By investing in your education and continuously honing your skills, you can position yourself for success in the dynamic world of news writing.

Enter your email to learn more and get a full course catalog!

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How To Write a News Article (+4 Tools, Examples & Template)

news paper article writing

By Dmytro Spilka

Nov 6, 2019

How To Write a News Article

By the late 1400s, the printing press had been perfected, and Germany began publishing pamphlets containing news content. Realising the power of printed news, several papers in London became popularised in the years following 1621.

Almost 400 years later, the transition from print to online has had a profound impact on the way we consume news and subsequently, how we create it. You’ve probably already noticed that the morning paper covers the news that was instantaneously delivered to your mobile device the night before.

The nature of online news reporting allows journalists to simultaneously watch an event unfold and update their readers in real-time. Both print and online news articles aim to discuss current or recent news in local happenings, politics, business, trade, technology and entertainment.

Typically, a news article on any topic and at any level will contain 5 vital components for success . This is what separates news-article writing from other forms of writing.

1. Headline

These 5-12 words should deliver the gist of the whole news. In most cases, it’s important not to play with words or to be too cryptic. A news article headline should be clear and succinct and tell the reader what the article is about. Should they find the topic interesting, they will probably read the article.

Headline

Whilst headlines should be clear and matter-of-fact, they should also be attention-grabbing and compelling. According to some sources, eight out of ten people will read headline copy and only two will continue to read the rest of the article (Campaign). So, if 80% of people are unlikely to ever make it past the headline, there is plenty of room to spend extra time in crafting the perfect headline for your news article.

This BBC headline definitely makes people give it a second look. At first glance, you probably noticed the words “Goat” and “Ronald Reagan” and wondered what on earth has brought this farm animal and 80s U.S. president to exist within the same sentence- let alone the same headline . Closer inspection lets the reader know that the article is about goats’ helping to save the Presidential library in the California fires. Most would want to know how, so they read on.

Byline

Put simply, this string of words tells people who wrote the article and is usually prefaced by the word ‘by’. This component really depends on the company you write for. Whilst most magazines and newspapers use bylines to identify journalists, some don’t. The Economist, for example, maintains a historical tradition where bylines are omitted and journalists remain anonymous. In such cases, the news article reflects the publication as a whole.

3. Lead paragraph

This is the section to get straight down to the facts and there is no time for introductions. A lead paragraph must be constructed to attract attention and maintain it. To do this, the basic news points and facts should be relayed without digressing into detail or explanation. Those are forthcoming in the next section of the article.

Included in the lead are what journalists refer to as the 5 Ws: Who, what, when, where and why. To some extent, by simply stating each W, some form of lead is automatically formed. For example; “ An off duty nurse and paramedic used a makeshift tourniquet to save the life of British tourist whose foot was bitten off by a shark in Australia on Tuesday”.

  • Who – an off duty nurse and paramedic and a British tourist
  • What – built a makeshift tourniquet
  • When – Tuesday 29th October 2019 (article published Wednesday 30th October 2019)
  • Where – Australia
  • Why – to save the life of the British tourist

This should conclude your lead paragraph and have your readers engaged and interested to learn more about the news. Resist the temptation to include additional details about the event as they have no place here. Structure is everything and you wouldn’t want to mess up the flow of the overall piece.

4. Explanation/discussion

A good place to start when writing the paragraph that follows your lead is to jump into the shoes of your readers and think about what they might want to know next. What are the factors that seem obscure, or most fascinating and is there scope to delve into more explanatory detail to put it into the wider context?

To do this well, the writer must have access to the answers to these questions.

Expanding on the details of your 5 Ws is all about providing in-depth coverage on all the important aspects of your news. Here, you should reflect on your first-hand information. Add relevant background information that explores the wider context. In other words, consider whether this story has implications on anything else.

Quote

Include supporting evidence in this section. This can take the form of quotations from people involved or opinions of industry experts. Referring to credible sources in your news article will add value to the information you publish and help to validate your news.

Ensure that the use of your quotations add value and are informative. There is little use in providing a quote that doesn’t shed light on new information. If the point has been made clear in your lead paragraph – there is no need to repeat it here.

For example, “An off duty nurse saved the life of a British tourist’, said Police Chief John Adams.” This quote tells the reader what they already know as this is the information stated in the lead.

Rather, “It was a long way back to shore and if he continued to bleed that much all the way back I’m not sure he’d have made it” – said Emma Andersson, off duty nurse.’ The inclusion of this quote gives a deeper insight into the severity of the incident and adds value to the article.

5. Additional information

This space is reserved for information of less relevance. For example, if the news article is too long, get the main points down in the preceding paragraphs and then make a note of the trivial details. This part can also include information about similar events or facts that somewhat relate to the news story.

What makes a news article so powerful

The ultimate aim of a news article is to relay information in a specific way that is entertaining, informative, easily digestible and factual . For a news article to be effective, it should incorporate a range of writing strategies to help it along. It should be:

Active not passive

Writing in the active tense creates a more personal link between the copy and the reader. It’s more conversational and has been found to engage the audience more. It also requires fewer words, so shorter and snappier sentences can be formed.

For example “A British tourist’s life was saved by an off duty nurse” is longer and less colloquial than “An off duty nurse saved a British tourists’ life”. The latter is easily understood, more conversational and reads well.

Positive, not negative

Whilst it is true that certain publications might use language to swing the sentiment of their copy, news should give the reader the information they need to inform their own opinion . The best way to do this is to avoid being both negative or positive. A neutral tone reads well and draws attention to key issues.

It’s often more effective if your news article describes something that is actually happening rather than something that’s not. For example, rather than stating that “the government has decided not to introduce the planned tuition funding for university students this academic year” a more palatable account of the event would be “the government has abandoned plans to fund university tuition this academic year”.

Quote accurately

We now know that the use of quotations belongs in your explanatory paragraph. They validate what you’ve said and inject emotion and sentiment to your copy. But what makes a good quote? And how and when are they useful?

Writers should be able to differentiate between effective and ineffective quotes. They should also appreciate that a poorly selected quote placed in an inappropriate paragraph has the power to kill the article.

Consider who you are quoting. Is their opinion of interest to your readers? Quotes that are too long can grind on your reader’s attention. Especially if they are from bureaucrats, local politicians or generally just boring people with nothing significant to say. Rather, the shorter and snappier the quote, the better. Bald facts, personal experiences or professional opinions can add character and depth to the facts you’ve already laid out.

Direct quotes provide actuality. And Actuality provides your article with validation. Speeches and reports are a great source of quotes by people that matter to your story. Often such reports and transcripts can be long and tiresome documents. Great journalistic skill is to be able to find a usable quote and shorten it to make it more comprehensible. Second to this skill is to know precisely when the actual words used by a person should be quoted in full.

Remember, people ‘say’ things when they speak. They don’t “exclaim, interject, assert or opine”. Therefore, always use the word “said” when attributing a quote. For example, “three arrests were made on the scene” said PC Plum.

Sound use of adjectives

The golden rule here is that adjectives should not raise questions in the reader’s mind, rather they should answer them. Naturally, an adjective raises further questions. For example:

  • ‘Tall’ – how tall?
  • ‘Delightful’ – according to whom?
  • ‘Massive’ – relative to what?

Unless followed by further information, adjectives can be subjective. However, this isn’t always bad. If they contribute to the relevance of the story, keep them. Just be sure to ponder each one as to whether they raise more questions in the reader’s mind.

Lastly, it’s always better to approach news-style writing directly and specifically. Use words like ‘gold, glitter, silver,’ instead of ‘bright and sparkly’. Being specific isn’t dull or boring. It allows readers’ to follow the article with a more accurate understanding of the news. Vagueness does not.

No Jargon or abbreviations

Those working in an organisation or specific industry will often take for granted the fact they’re surrounded by jargon. It’s a convenient and efficient way to communicate with those who also understand it. These terms become somewhat of a secret language that acts to exclude those on the outside. This must be assumed at all times when writing news. There’s no telling whether an article on a new medical breakthrough will be read solely by medical practitioners and scientists. In fact, it almost certainly won’t be.

If readers feel lost in your article or have to look elsewhere for explanations and definitions of acronyms and abbreviations, it’s unlikely they’ll return. The rule here is to avoid them or explain them.

Be cautious with puns and cliches

Over and over you hear them and rarely do they evoke any positive response; cliches have no place in your news article. Yet, as for puns, lots of headline writers find these neat little linguistic phrases irresistible.

The problem is, they can be just as exclusive as unrecognisable jargon. References to the past that are well received by readers over 55 years old, means risking a large portion of readers being left out.

Is there a tasteful and refined way to use puns, cliches or metaphors ? Yes, but one always bears the risk of some readers not understanding and abandoning the article altogether. Take the following example:

The Sun’s headline “Super Caley go ballistic, Celtic are atrocious” echoing Liverpool’s earlier “Super Cally goes ballistic, QPR atrocious”.

In all fairness, both are great puns and will have had most readers humming the Mary Poppins anthem all afternoon. But to fully appreciate this play on words, it helps to know that ‘Cally’  is the former footballer, Ian Callaghan and ‘Caley’ is the team Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

Those with no interest or knowledge of football would have been immediately excluded from this article. However, given the fact that the article was clearly aimed at football enthusiasts or at least, fans, the aim was never to produce an all-inclusive article in the first place.

Write in plain English (make it easily digestible)

Articles written in plain English are easy to digest. This is especially important what discussing complex or technological news. Most readers won’t have the time to decipher cryptic or overly elaborate writing styles whilst keeping up with the news story being told.

Clear and unambiguous language, without technical or complex terms, should be used throughout. As the amount of news we consume each day has increased with the internet, mobile devices and push notifications, it is important to keep things simple. We now have the pleasure and task of retaining more news than ever before. This is easier to do when the news we consume is clear, succinct and written in plain English.

Be timely and up to date

News gets old fast. Today’s news is tomorrow’s history. So, timeliness in the news industry is imperative to its success. Similarly to freshly baked goods – news should be served fresh. Once it’s old and stale, nobody’s interested in it. Don’t, however, take the risk of serving it before it’s ready.

There is great skill attached to being a timely journalist. Capabilities must range from gathering research in good time, to writing content at speed and editing accurately under pressure. There are a few things you can do to help stay on top of the latest affairs and find time to write.

First, a conscious effort to stay up to date with news on all levels is necessary. That is international affairs, governmental, regional and local levels. You should have a solid awareness of ongoing issues and debates across all mediums. For example, If there’ve been developments on ongoing peace treaties, you should be able to pick up the news story as it is – without the need to revise the entire story.

It’s likely that you’ll be under the pressure of several tight deadlines. Don’t just keep them in mind, write them down. Keeping a content calendar is an effective way to organise your time and make sure you’re hitting all deadlines accordingly. Whether it’s your phone calendar or an actual deadline diary, a visual representation of time can help you distribute tasks and stick to a schedule.

Always be available when a press release comes your way. If you’re not there to cover the story, someone else will. Organise a backup just in case you’re unavailable to make sure all necessary information reaches you in emergency situations. Having such a plan in place can save time when it comes to researching and writing news articles. The writing process becomes easier when all the material is at hand.

Make it entertaining

A good news article will entertain its readers. To do so, the article should contain some human interest. In general, it’s been found that people are interested in the lives of other people. An article that appeals to the voyeuristic part of human nature is immediately entertaining.

For example, a flood in an empty building doesn’t have nearly as much human interest as a flood in a building full of people and belongings. Sad, but true. Simply because we identify with each other, we are interested in reading about each other too.

If your story has an interesting or relatable person at the heart of it, it should fuel your article . Tug at the emotional strings of your readers and make a connection between them and your story. Look hard enough, and you’ll find human interest everywhere. Writing a business article about a new project manager with a passion for bringing tropical fruit flavours to toothpaste? There’s human interest here. We all use toothpaste – whilst some will be onboard with this idea, others will scoff and remain faithful to their dependable mint flavoured paste.

Prepare to tap into your inner literary comic. If the story you’re working on is funny, don’t hold back. Just as most journalists enjoy working on a story that hits their ‘quirky button’, most readers will be more inclined to read a story that plays on their humour strings.

Fact check everything

‘Fake news’ has become a familiar term, especially for journalists. Unverified facts and misleading claims have blurred the line between journalism and other content creation. It’s now more important than ever to fact check everything .

A good PR tip is to avoid a reputation disaster rather than repair one. You do not want to fall into the category of fake news. This might drive away potential returning readers and significantly reduce readership.

Using statistics, figures and facts are a great way to add validity and actuality to your article. They lend themselves to originality and make your article more credible when used correctly. Without checking the authenticity of these facts, you risk delivering an article that is grounded in fiction.

News article writing tools

To hit the nail on the head and deliver a news article that is well researched, well written and well-received; take advantage of some online writing tools to help you along the way.

1. Grammarly

Grammarly

This free and comprehensive writing tool is practically everything you need to craft grammatically correct and error-free copy. Not only does it check your spelling and grammar, but punctuation too. Grammarly uses context-specific algorithms that work across different platforms to help make your content flow seamlessly throughout.

2. Headline Analyzer

CoSchedule

Analyse your headlines for free and determine the Emotional Marketing Value score (EMV score).  Headline analyzer analyses and scores your headlines based on the total number of EMV words it has. Headline Analyzer also tells you which emotion your headline most impacts, so you know whether you’re on the right track from the get-go. So, along with your score, you’ll find out which emotion your headline piques at, be it intellectual, empathetic or spiritual.

Writing for the web requires a distinctive set of skills than those required for print. The way readers use the online space and in particular, the search engines have changed the way they consume news. Ultimately, out of the millions of web pages, readers should be able to find yours.

Be mindful of the words you use in your article. Search engines assume that content that contains words or phrases that have or are likely to be searched by researchers, is more relevant content. As such, it bumps it up to higher-ranking positions.

You can easily find out which precise words have been in popular searches and which phrases you should incorporate into your article. Use Ahrefs Keywords Explorer tool to explore seed keywords, industry keywords, and generate keyword ideas.

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer

You can also use Ahrefs Content Explorer to search for any keyword and get popular content that drives traffic.

Content Explorer

4. Discussion forums

Moz Q&A

Online communities and discussion forums are a great source for journalists to broaden their network and keep up-to-date with the latest media news. Find useful tips and the latest news in the following groups:

  • Journalists on Facebook, contains more than 1.3 million fans and over 9,000 journalists. It’s one of the most established journalism communities online. You’ll find inspiration and a place to find and discuss breaking news.
  • LinkedIn for Journalists is a highly active community featuring a section dedicated to advice and discussion points for journalists. Take advantage of monthly free webinars that cover how to generate story leads, build sources and engage audiences.
  • /r/journalism on Reddit, opens the door to nearly 10,000 members, posting questions, advice, interesting news stories and professional opinions on recent and breaking news. Not only is it a source of news stories, but also a place to find an extremely diverse mix of opinions and story angles.

A structural combination of the essential components of a news article , as noted in the first section of this post, will put you in the right direction. Once you have your framework – made up of a working headline, lead, preliminary explanation and additional notes – you can begin to pack it with all the elements that bring a news article to life.

Turn to Ahrefs and online communities for inspiration and make use of writing and editing tools like Grammarly for the entire process. This will save you time editing (crucial in the news media world) and improve the quality of your article to get it to the top of those SERPs.

Remember, there’s always a human interest, you just have to find it. It’s this element that will determine the level of engagement your article stimulates. Just keep in mind, most people are either interested in how a news story will affect their own lives or how another person’s life is being affected.

By the end of the process, you should have a news article that is in good shape and ready to entertain, educate, inspire or inform your readers. The last thing to do but certainly no less crucial is to fact check everything. A sub-editor can be handy when it comes to catching typos and picking up grammatical errors, but fact-checking is primarily down to the writer.

News Article FAQ

[sc_fs_multi_faq headline-0=”h3″ question-0=”How long should a news article headline be?” answer-0=”Headlines that are between 5-12 words (up to 65 characters) are generally more effective.” image-0=”” headline-1=”h3″ question-1=”How long should a news article be?” answer-1=”The word count is unlimited. It all depends on the nature of your news article. However, as a general rule, Google needs at least 300 words of content to grasp the context of the page.” image-1=”” headline-2=”h3″ question-2=”How to cite a news article?” answer-2=”Generally, you would need to add the name of the source, the name of the author and a hyperlink to the original source.” image-2=”” headline-3=”h3″ question-3=”How to fact check a claim, statement or statistics?” answer-3=”The claim, statement or statistics must be verifiable by a credible source. Context plays a massive role in fact-checking, hence, simply taking citing figures may not qualify as proper fact-checking.” image-3=”” count=”4″ html=”true” css_class=””]

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15 News Writing Rules for Beginning Journalism Students

The goal is to provide information clearly in common language

  • Writing Essays
  • Writing Research Papers
  • English Grammar
  • M.S., Journalism, Columbia University
  • B.A., Journalism, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Gathering information for a news article is vitally important, of course, but so is writing the story. The best information, put together in an overly intricate construction using SAT words and dense writing, can be difficult to digest for readers looking for a quick news fix.

There are rules for news writing that result in a clear, direct presentation, providing information efficiently and accessibly to a variety of readers. Some of these rules conflict with what you might have learned in English Lit.

Here's a list of 15 rules for beginning news writers, based on the problems that crop most frequently:

Tips for News Writing

  • Generally speaking, the lede , or introduction to the story, should be a single sentence of 35 to 45 words that summarizes the main points of the story, not a seven-sentence monstrosity that looks like it's out of a Jane Austen novel.
  • The lede should summarize the story from start to finish. So if you're writing about a fire that destroyed a building and left 18 people homeless, that must be in the lede. Writing something like "A fire started in a building last night" doesn't have enough vital information.
  • Paragraphs in news stories should generally be no more than one or two sentences each, not the seven or eight sentences you probably wrote for freshman English. Short paragraphs are easier to cut when editors are working on a tight deadline, and they look less imposing on the page.
  • Sentences should be kept relatively short, and whenever possible use the subject-verb-object formula. Backward constructions are harder to read.
  • Always cut unnecessary words. For example, "Firefighters arrived at the blaze and were able to put it out within about 30 minutes" can be shortened to "Firefighters doused the blaze in 30 minutes."
  • Don't use complicated-sounding words when simpler ones will do. A laceration is a cut; a contusion is a bruise; an abrasion is a scrape. A news story should be understandable to everyone.
  • Don't use the first-person "I" in news stories. 
  • In Associated Press style, punctuation almost always goes inside quotation marks. Example: "We arrested the suspect," Detective John Jones said. (Note the placement of the comma.)
  • News stories are generally written in the past tense.
  • Avoid the use of too many adjectives. There's no need to write "the white-hot blaze" or "the brutal murder." We know fire is hot and that killing someone is generally pretty brutal. Those adjectives are unnecessary.
  • Don't use phrases such as "thankfully, everyone escaped the fire unhurt." Obviously, it's good that people weren't hurt. Your readers can figure that out for themselves.
  • Never inject your opinions into a hard-news story. Save your thoughts for a review or editorial.
  • When you first refer to someone in a story, use the full name and job title if applicable. On all subsequent references, use just the last name. So it would be "Lt. Jane Jones" when you first mention her in your story, but after that, it would simply be "Jones." The only exception is if two people with the same last name are in your story, in which case you could use their full names. Reporters generally don't use honorifics such as "Mr." or "Mrs." in AP style. (A notable exception is The New York Times .)
  • Don't repeat information.
  • Don't summarize the story at the end by repeating what's already been said. Try to find information for the conclusion that advances the story. 
  • Avoid the Common Mistakes That Beginning Reporters Make
  • Constructing News Stories with the Inverted Pyramid
  • Learn to Write News Stories
  • 10 News Writing Exercises for Journalism Students
  • How Reporters Can Write Great Follow-up News Stories
  • Six Tips for Writing News Stories That Will Grab a Reader
  • Writing News Stories for the Web
  • 5 Key Ingredients for Great Feature Stories
  • How to Avoid Burying the Lede of Your News Story
  • 10 Important Steps for Producing a Quality News Story
  • How Feature Writers Use Delayed Ledes
  • The Secret to Writing Great Headlines for Your News Stories
  • Learning to Edit News Stories Quickly
  • Sportswriter Resources: Writing the Short Game Story
  • How to Write Feature Stories
  • Writing a Compelling, Informative News Lede

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How to Write a News Article: Article Format/Narrative

  • What Is News?
  • How to Interview
  • The Intro or Lede
  • Article Format/Narrative
  • How To Write A Review
  • Writing News Style
  • Naming Sources
  • Revising/Proofreading
  • Photos/Graphics
  • The Future of News?

Article Formats

While some writers feel inhibited following a standard format, these forms help organize information so the reader can easily understand the topic even if they're just skimming the paper or website. They also help entice the reader to read further.

The Inverted Pyramid - First developed and widely used during the Civil War, the inverted pyramid is best suited for hard news stories. The article begins with the lede and presents information in order of descending importance. The most important information comes first, followed by less important details.

  • Pros and Cons of the Inverted Pyramid
  • The Inverted Pyramid Structure

The Hourglass - builds on the inverted pyramid and combines a narrative. It delivers breaking news and tells a story. The first 4-6 paragraphs contain a summary lede and answer the most pressing questions. Then a transitional phrase cites the source of the upcoming story - "Police say the incident occurred after closing last night." The article concludes with the chronological story.

  • The Hourglass: Serving the News, Serving the Reader
  • The Hourglass - Narratives  

The Nut Graph - developed by the Wall Street Journal in the 1940s, it includes an anecdotal lede that gets the reader's attention, followed by a paragraph that provides larger context for the story and moves the article in that direction. This form lets the reporter explore larger issues behind an incident. For example, a nutgraph article might begin with the story of a fire, then move into a discussion of budget cuts that lead to delays in fighting the fire.

  • The Nut Graf, Part I
  • Keys to Creating an Effective Nut Graph
  • More on the Nut Graph

The Narrative - has a beginning, middle, and end just like a story. One famous example, Truman Capote's In Cold Blood , was actually published as a novel. But for most news articles, narratives should be short and to the point and used only where telling a personal story helps to convey the point of the article. The New Yorker is noted for using narrative form.

  • Narrative Journalism
  • 10 hurdles to narrative journalism
  • Articles about Narrative Journalism
  • The Future of Narrative Journalism
  • Why Narrative Matters

The Five Boxes Story - combines the forms listed above. Useful when you have a lot of data to sort through. Box 1 contains the lede, Box 2 contains the nutgraph, Box 3 tells the story begun in Box 1, Box 4 contains supplemental details such as statistics or expert opinions, and Box 5 contains the "kicker" or the quote, image, or comment that ends the story on a strong note.

  • Five Boxes to Build a Story Fast
  • A Writing Guide: The Four Boxes

SPC's 5-Box Form

  • Article Critique Form

More on Format

  • 11 Types of Articles to Write for Magazines
  • How to Write Book Review
  • LQTQTQ Construction
  • News Writing
  • Prewriting Questions for Book, Movie, or Play Reviews
  • Requirements and Structure of a Review
  • Reviving the Feature Story
  • Writing Sports Profiles
  • << Previous: The Intro or Lede
  • Next: How To Write A Review >>
  • Last Updated: Oct 23, 2023 11:28 AM
  • URL: https://spcollege.libguides.com/news

How to Write an Article for a Newspaper: A Step-by-Step Guide

By: Author Paul Jenkins

Posted on June 15, 2023

Categories Writing

Newspaper articles are essential to journalism, providing readers with the latest news and information on various topics. Writing a newspaper article is not like writing any other informative article. It requires a specific format, style, and tone of voice.

If you are interested in writing a newspaper article, this article will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to write an article for a newspaper.

Understanding Newspaper Articles:

Before you start writing a newspaper article, it is essential to understand the basic structure of a newspaper article. A newspaper article has a headline, byline, lead paragraph, body, and conclusion. Each section of a newspaper article serves a specific purpose, and knowing how to write each section effectively is essential. In addition, it is essential to understand the difference between a news article and an opinion piece, as they require different writing styles.

Preparing to Write:

Once you understand the structure and purpose of a newspaper article, it is time to prepare to write. This involves researching the topic, gathering information, and interviewing sources. It is essential to have at least two to three primary sources for your article and to contact them as far in advance as possible. This will make arranging interviews with them easier.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the basic structure of a newspaper article is essential before writing one.
  • Preparation is key when writing a newspaper article, including researching the topic and gathering information.
  • Writing a newspaper article requires a specific format, style, and tone of voice; knowing the difference between a news article and an opinion piece is essential.

Understanding Newspaper Articles

Definition of newspaper articles.

Newspaper articles are written pieces of information reporting current events or issues. They are published in newspapers and are meant to inform readers about what is happening in the world around them.

The purpose of a newspaper article is to provide factual information in an objective and unbiased manner.

Newspaper articles are typically organized in a specific format, with a headline, a lead paragraph, and the body of the article. The headline is a short, attention-grabbing statement summarizing the article’s main point.

The lead paragraph, or lede, is the article’s opening paragraph, which provides the most important information and sets the tone for the rest of the article.

Types of Newspaper Articles

There are several newspaper articles, each with its purpose and style. Some common types of newspaper articles include:

  • News articles: These articles report on current events and are meant to inform readers about what is happening around them. News articles are typically written in a straightforward, objective style.
  • Feature articles: These articles are longer and more in-depth than news articles. They focus on a specific topic or issue and provide more background information and analysis. Feature articles are often written in a more narrative style and may include quotes from experts or people involved in the story.
  • Opinion articles express the author’s opinion on a specific topic or issue. Columnists or editorial writers often write opinion articles to provide a perspective on the news.
  • Reviews: These articles critically evaluate a book, movie, or other cultural product. Reviews are often written by critics and are meant to inform readers about the quality of the product.

In conclusion, understanding the different types of newspaper articles and their purpose is essential for writing a good article. By following a newspaper article’s basic structure and style, writers can effectively inform and engage readers with their stories.

Preparing to Write

Before starting to write a news article, one needs to prepare themselves. This section will cover the three essential sub-sections of preparing to write: researching the topic, identifying the target audience, and outlining the article.

Researching the Topic

The first step in preparing to write a news article is researching the topic. Journalists must gather information from primary and secondary sources to write a credible, well-structured article.

Primary sources are documents or objects created during the event or by someone with direct knowledge, such as interviews, letters, or audio recordings. Secondary sources analyze, interpret, or comment on primary sources, such as books, articles, and reviews.

When researching the topic, it is essential to identify the main points and background information. Journalists must present facts and avoid expressing personal opinions. They should also cite their sources and verify the accuracy of the information.

Identifying the Target Audience

The next step is identifying the target audience. Journalists need to know who their readers are to write an article that is relevant and interesting to them. They should consider the reader’s age, gender, education level, and interests.

For example, if the target audience is teenagers, the article should use simple words, short sentences, and examples that are relevant to their lives. If the target audience is professionals, the article should use technical terms and provide relevant details to their field.

Outlining the Article

The final step is outlining the article. The outline should include a headline, a lead paragraph, and subheadings. The headline should be catchy and summarize the article’s main point. The lead paragraph should provide background information and answer the story’s 5Ws and 1H (who, what, when, where, why, and how).

Subheadings should be used to break up the article into sections and make it easier to read. Each section should have a topic sentence that summarizes the section’s main point. Journalists should use complete sentences and avoid using jargon or technical terms that the reader may not understand.

In conclusion, preparing a news article is essential to writing a well-structured and credible article. Journalists should research the topic, identify the target audience, and outline the article to make it relevant and interesting to their readers.

Writing the Article

Crafting a news article for a newspaper requires a structured approach that ensures the article is informative, engaging, and easy to read. Writing involves crafting a lead paragraph, developing the body, and writing the conclusion.

Crafting the Lead Paragraph

The lead paragraph is the most critical part of a news story. It should grab the reader’s attention and summarize the article’s main points. A good lead paragraph should be concise, engaging, and informative. It should answer the questions of who, what, when, where, why, and how.

Journalists should start with a topic sentence summarizing the article’s main point to craft a good lead paragraph. They should then provide background information, using secondary sources to support their claims. The lead paragraph should be written in short, complete sentences that are easy to understand.

Developing the Body

The body of a news article should provide details, examples, and personal opinions that support the article’s main point. Journalists should use English effectively, choosing strong verbs and avoiding passive voice. They should also use citations to support their claims and avoid plagiarism.

To develop the body of a news article, journalists should start with a clear topic sentence that introduces the paragraph’s main point. They should then provide details and examples that support the topic sentence. Journalists should use short sentences and avoid using complex words that may confuse the reader.

Writing the Conclusion

The conclusion of a news article should summarize the article’s main points and provide a personal opinion or call to action. Journalists should use the conclusion to tie together the article’s main points and give the reader a clear understanding of the topic.

Journalists should start with a topic sentence summarizing the article’s main points to write a good conclusion. They should then provide a personal opinion or call to action that encourages the reader to take action or further research the topic. The conclusion should be written in short, complete sentences that are easy to understand.

In conclusion, writing a news article for a newspaper requires a structured approach that ensures the article is informative, engaging, and easy to read. Journalists can create articles that inform and engage readers by crafting a lead paragraph, developing the body, and writing the conclusion.

Polishing the Article

Editing and revising.

After completing the article’s first draft, editing and revising it to make it more polished is essential. Editing involves checking the article for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. The writer should also ensure that the article flows smoothly and that the sentences are clear and concise.

On the other hand, revising involves changing the article’s content. The writer should evaluate the article’s structure and organization and ensure it is easy to read and understand. They should also remove any repetitive or irrelevant information and focus on the essential points.

Fact-Checking and Citations

Fact-checking is an essential part of writing an article for a newspaper. The writer should ensure that all the information in the article is accurate and factual. They should also verify the sources of information to ensure that they are reliable and trustworthy.

Citations are also crucial in article writing. The writer should give credit to their sources of information by citing them appropriately. This adds credibility to the article and helps readers find the sources to read more about the topic.

When citing sources, the writer should follow the guidelines provided by the newspaper or publication. They should also use the correct citation style, such as APA or MLA.

In conclusion, polishing an article involves editing, revising, fact-checking, and citing sources. By following these steps, the writer can ensure that their article is well-written, accurate, and credible.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you grab the reader’s attention in the first paragraph of a newspaper article.

The first paragraph of a news article is crucial because it sets the tone for the entire piece and determines whether the reader will continue reading.

To grab the reader’s attention, start with a strong lead summarizing the most important information engagingly. Use vivid language and descriptive details to create a sense of urgency and intrigue.

What are the essential elements of a news story?

A news story should include the five W’s: who, what, when, where, and why. It should also answer the H question: how. In addition, a news story should be objective, accurate, and timely. It should provide context and background information to help readers understand the significance of the events being reported.

How do you write a compelling headline for a newspaper article?

A good headline should be concise, informative, and attention-grabbing. It should accurately reflect the article’s content and entice the reader to want to learn more. Use active verbs and strong language to create a sense of urgency and importance. Avoid using puns or wordplay that might confuse or distract the reader.

What are some tips for conducting effective research for a newspaper article?

To conduct effective research for a news article, start by identifying reliable sources of information. These might include government websites, academic journals, and interviews with experts or eyewitnesses.

Be sure to fact-check all information and verify the credibility of your sources. Organize your notes and keep track of your sources to make it easier to write the article later.

How do you structure the body of a newspaper article?

The body of a newspaper article should be organized in a logical and easy-to-follow way. Start with the most important information and work down to the details.

Use short paragraphs and subheadings to break up the text and make it easier to read. Include quotes from sources to provide additional perspectives and insights.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when writing a newspaper article?

Some common mistakes to avoid when writing a news article include using biased language, making assumptions, and including irrelevant or inaccurate information. It’s important to remain objective and stick to the facts.

Avoid sensationalizing the story or injecting your opinions or biases into the article. Finally, proofread your work carefully for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors.

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How to Write a News Story

Newspaper article outline, how to write a news story in 15 steps.

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The Purdue Owl : Journalism and Journalistic Writing: Introduction

From Scholastic: Writing a newspaper article

Article outline

I. Lead sentence

Grab and hook your reader right away.

II. Introduction

Which facts and figures will ground your story? You have to tell your readers where and when this story is happening.

III. Opening quotation 

What will give the reader a sense of the people involved and what they are thinking?

IV. Main body

What is at the heart of your story?

V. Closing quotation

Find something that sums the article up in a few words.

VI. Conclusion  (optional—the closing quote may do the job)

The following is an excerpt from The Elements of News Writing by James W. Kershner (Pearson, 2009).  This book is available for checkout at Buley Library (Call number PN 4775 .K37 2009, on the 3rd floor)

1.       Select a newsworthy story. Your goal is to give a timely account of a recent, interesting, and significant event or development.

2.       Think about your goals and objectives in writing the story. What will the readers want and need to know about the subject? How can you best tell the story?

3.       Find out who can provide the most accurate information about the subject and how to contact that person. Find out what other sources you can use to obtain relevant information.

4.       Do your homework. Do research so that you have a basic understanding of the situation before interviewing anyone about it. Check clips of stories already written on the subject.

5.       Prepare a list of questions to ask about the story.

6.       Arrange to get the needed information. This may mean scheduling an interview or locating the appropriate people to interview.

7.       Interview the source and take notes. Ask your prepared questions, plus other questions that come up in the course of the conversation. Ask the source to suggest other sources. Ask if you may call the source back for further questions later.

8.       Interview second and third sources, ask follow-up questions, and do further research until you have a understanding of the story.

9.       Ask yourself, “What’s the story?” and “What’s the point?” Be sure you have a clear focus in your mind before you start writing. Rough out a lead in your head.

10.   Make a written outline or plan of your story.

11.   Write your first draft following your plan, but changing it as necessary.

12.   Read through your first draft looking for content problems, holes, or weak spots, and revise it as necessary. Delete extra words, sentences, and paragraphs. Make every word count.

13.   Read your second draft aloud, listening for problems in logic or syntax.

14.   Copyedit your story, checking carefully for spelling, punctuation, grammar, and style problems.

15.   Deliver your finished story to the editor before deadline.

Kershner, J.W. (2009). The Elements of News Writing. Boston, MA: Pearson Education.

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Newspaper Article

Newspaper Article Conventions :

Newspaper articles are focused on sharing the essential points of a given topic with a wide readership.  Newspaper articles typically follow a standard format: they address the 5Ws (who, what, where, when, and why).  The article will then go into greater detail and provide the key ideas and information that the general readership should know.  There is often a focus on speaking to witnesses or getting an interview with people who are closely related to the subject of the article; as such, you will often find a lot of quotations being used to qualify and quantify claims and data being presented.  

La Rose, L. (2017, June 7). From Gander to Broadway: The journey of ‘Come From Away’. The Canadian Press. Retrieved from https://globalnews.ca/news/3509415/from-gander-to-broadway-the-journey-of-come-from-away/

Article: From Gander to Broadway: The journey of ‘Come From Away’

By Lauren La Rose

As a theatre producer in Toronto [ where ], Michael Rubinoff [ who ] was always on the lookout for stories that would translate into musicals [ why ]. He found unexpected inspiration in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks [ when & what ].

The remote East Coast town of Gander, N.L., saw its population double in size as it provided refuge to 6,579 passengers and crew members from 38 planes after U.S. airspace was closed. Reports about the hospitality shown by the people in Gander and surrounding communities immediately struck a chord.

“As I learned more about the stories out there, (in) Newfoundland the way they tell stories are through music. Music is so much a part of their DNA and who they are. I really believed there was a compelling story and a compelling reason to musical-ize it.”

Image of a crowded stage, full of excited people. In the centre, a couple kiss.

Rubinoff’s idea would eventually lead to the unlikely success story “Come From Away,” the feel-good musical that’s up for seven Tony Awards on Sunday, including best musical.

But finding the writers to tell the story was a challenge.

“I went to a number of people who didn’t share my enthusiasm, I think because of the subject matter and the backdrop of that day, people didn’t see how this was possible. I’m so grateful my paths crossed with David Hein and Irene Sankoff.”

Rubinoff was sold on the husband-and-wife duo after seeing their acclaimed show “My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding,” based on real-life events in Hein’s life.

Rubinoff sent a Facebook message to the couple and met them for dinner a few weeks later, where he told them about wanting to find someone to write the musical about the events in Gander. They were on-board.

Rubinoff was in the midst of taking up his role as associate dean of visual and performing arts at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ont., which would ultimately serve as a key stop in the musical’s storybook journey from Newfoundland and Labrador to Broadway.

One of Rubinoff’s strategic objectives at the school was to launch the Canadian Music Theatre Project (CMTP) and he committed to Sankoff and Hein that the Gander musical would be among the first shows Sheridan would produce.

Rubinoff also wrote a letter in support of a Canada Council grant to get the couple to Gander for the 10th anniversary of 9/11, where they got to experience the warm welcome Newfoundlanders had extended to the stranded passengers and crew in 2001.

“We would check in every couple of days and they would say, ‘Oh, we just moved out the hotel -someone gave us their house and said take care of the cats,”‘ he recalled. “They were being the recipients of this outpouring of kindness and they came back with stacks and stacks and stacks of interviews and materials and stories, and set about this challenge of how to tell 9,000 stories of the locals and 7,000 stories of the people that showed up on 38 planes.”

The working title of the show was originally “Gander,” but after Sankoff and Hein returned from their time there they felt the moniker wasn’t the right fit.

“They didn’t want to call it ‘Gander’ because there were a number of communities involved. Lewisporte, Appleton, Norris Arm, Gambo, Glenwood, they all played a very significant role,” Rubinoff said.

In the spring of 2012, Rubinoff paired the duo with a cast of Sheridan students and brought in a director and musical director. The goal was to produce 45 minutes of the show in five weeks.

“I usually like to come in at the rehearsal at the end of the first week … and I’ll never forget hearing the opening number ‘Welcome to the Rock’ and that refrain: ‘I’m an islander, I’m an islander,’ and (thinking) ‘Wow! This is grabbing my heart in the same way the story did initially.”‘

Rubinoff decided to house the initial performances of the show in the rehearsal hall to lower expectations for the fledgling musical.

“I think on the first night, I put out 35 chairs. On the second night, 45. And then 60. And on the next night, 75 – and we could not fit any more people in this room,” he recalled.

Although it’s now a 100-minute show with no intermission, Zeyl recalled the emotional wallop delivered at the end of Act 1 during the musical’s early days.

“We had no idea what we were getting into; we just knew the title of the show, basically, and we all left just crying at the end of just the first act,” Zeyl recalled. “I remember speaking to the writers and just gushing about it and (saying) ‘Just please, please, please continue what you’re doing…. We knew it was going somewhere. I don’t think anyone (could) say, ‘This will have seven Tony nominations.’ Obviously, it was beautiful work.”

Rubinoff encouraged Sankoff and Hein to keep working on “Come From Away,” which was programmed as a developmental production at Sheridan in early 2013.

The show was then submitted for consideration to the Festival of New Musicals, organized by the New York-based National Alliance for Musical Theatre. It was the same festival where Canadian musical “The Drowsy Chaperone” also found its commercial producers. “The Drowsy Chaperone” went on to pick up 13 Tony nominations, including a nod for best musical, and won five awards including best book of a musical and best original score.

“Come From Away” was among eight shows that made the cut. In October 2013, a 45-minute showcase was staged for an invite-only crowd of producers, regional theatres and academic institutions that create new musicals.

“People just reacted so emotionally,” said Rubinoff. “I think there were people who felt ‘I don’t know what this is, I don’t know if I want to see this, I don’t know if I’m ready to see this’ – and there was again just an outpouring of gratitude.”

Sankoff and Hein opted to partner with Tony-winning Junkyard Dog Productions as lead producers on “Come From Away.” Their behind-the-scenes team – including Tony-nominated director Christopher Ashley – began to take shape.

The musical would eventually be staged in La Jolla, Calif., Seattle, Washington, D.C. and Toronto before its current award-winning run on Broadway. But Rubinoff still sees a slice of Sheridan on whichever stage “Come From Away” is playing.

“When I do see the show, I do think of our students, I do think of those moments, the creation, the genesis. It’s really beautiful to see that.”

© 2017 The Canadian Press

Newspaper Article Copyright © 2023 by Sheridan College. All Rights Reserved.

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news paper article writing

If you have a class filled with newshounds eager to write their own front-page stories about classroom events or the latest happenings in the cafeteria, Scholastic Teachables has you covered with ready-to-go resources for your young journalists.

These 5 resources will help students in grades 3–5 learn about the newswriting process and how to add descriptive elements that will engage readers. Not only will they learn how to write a news article, students will also learn important content-area vocabulary that gives new meaning to words like  dummy ,  bleeds , and  widow . Before you know it, your classroom will be a busy newsroom filled with young reporters looking to break the next big story!

1.     Newspaper Writing: Narrative Learning Center

This  narrative learning center  specifically designed for newspaper writing helps students report facts and write a compelling news story that will engage their readers. The printable includes an introductory lesson, student directions, model writing samples, graphic organizers, differentiation tips, and an assessment rubric.

2.     Newspaper Article: Leveled Graphic Organizers

This lesson with  tiered graphic organizers  will help your cub reporters and front-page newshounds learn the basics of news writing. Students will write a news article that opens with a lead, includes who, what, when, where, and why, and presents details in the body of the story.

3.     Newspaper Jargon: Grade 4 Vocabulary

To be true news writers, students need to know the industry jargon. This  vocabulary packet  teaches students what words like  bleeds ,  dummy , and  stringer  commonly mean in newsrooms.

4.     The Daily News: Language Arts Bulletin Board

This  bulletin board  resource not only turns your classroom into a newsroom, it also helps students develop the speaking, listening, writing, and reading skills they need to run it effectively. 

5.     Plenty of Plastic: Grade 5 Opinion Writing Lesson

Every respected newspaper has a robust editorial section. This  writing lesson  helps create persuasive opinion writers by encouraging students to take a written stance for or against plastic bags.

Scholastic Teachables helps teachers like you build the next generation of journalists and newshounds. Even better, these teaching materials are ready to go, saving you time when you need it most during the school year. The printables are free to subscribers of Scholastic Teachables or are available for individual purchase.  Log in or subscribe today  for teaching tools to help your students write news articles that can make a difference in your classroom, school, and community!

  • Accessibility Statement
  • Introduction, Awards, and Recognitions
  • Table of Contents with Critical Media Literacy Connections
  • Updates & Latest Additions
  • Learning Pathway: Racial Justice and Black Lives Matter
  • Learning Pathway: Influential Women and Women's History/Herstory
  • Learning Pathway: Student Rights in School and Society
  • Learning Pathway: Elections 2024, 2022, & 2020
  • Learning Pathway: Current Events
  • Learning Pathway: Critical Media Literacy
  • Teacher-Designed Learning Plans
  • Topic 1. The Philosophical Foundations of the United States Political System
  • 1.1. The Government of Ancient Athens
  • 1.2. The Government of the Roman Republic
  • 1.3. Enlightenment Thinkers and Democratic Government
  • 1.4. British Influences on American Government
  • 1.5. Native American Influences on U.S. Government
  • Topic 2. The Development of the United States Government
  • 2.1. The Revolutionary Era and the Declaration of Independence
  • 2.2. The Articles of Confederation
  • 2.3. The Constitutional Convention
  • 2.4. Debates between Federalists and Anti-Federalists
  • 2.5. Articles of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights
  • Topic 3. Institutions of United States Government
  • 3.1. Branches of the Government and the Separation of Powers
  • 3.2. Checks and Balances Between the Branches of Government
  • 3.3. The Roles of the Congress, the President, and the Courts
  • 3.4. Elections and Nominations
  • 3.5. The Role of Political Parties
  • Topic 4. The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizens
  • 4.1. Becoming a Citizen
  • 4.2. Rights and Responsibilities of Citizens and Non-Citizens
  • 4.3. Civic, Political, and Private Life
  • 4.4. Fundamental Principles and Values of American Political and Civic Life
  • 4.5. Voting and Citizen Participation in the Political Process
  • 4.6. Election Information
  • 4.7. Leadership and the Qualities of Political Leaders
  • 4.8. Cooperation Between Individuals and Elected Leaders
  • 4.9. Public Service as a Career
  • 4.10. Liberty in Conflict with Equality or Authority
  • 4.11. Political Courage and Those Who Affirmed or Denied Democratic Ideals
  • 4.12. The Role of Political Protest
  • 4.13. Public and Private Interest Groups, PACs, and Labor Unions
  • Topic 5. The Constitution, Amendments, and Supreme Court Decisions
  • 5.1. The Necessary and Proper Clause
  • 5.2. Amendments to the Constitution
  • 5.3. Constitutional Issues Related to the Civil War, Federal Power, and Individual Civil Rights
  • 5.4. Civil Rights and Equal Protection for Race, Gender, and Disability
  • 5.5. Marbury v. Madison and the Principle of Judicial Review
  • 5.6. Significant Supreme Court Decisions
  • Topic 6. The Structure of Massachusetts State and Local Government
  • 6.1. Functions of State and National Government
  • 6.2. United States and Massachusetts Constitutions
  • 6.3. Enumerated and Implied Powers
  • 6.4. Core Documents: The Protection of Individual Rights
  • 6.5. 10th Amendment to the Constitution
  • 6.6. Additional Provisions of the Massachusetts Constitution
  • 6.7. Responsibilities of Federal, State and Local Government
  • 6.8. Leadership Structure of the Massachusetts Government
  • 6.9. Tax-Supported Facilities and Services
  • 6.10. Components of Local Government
  • Topic 7. Freedom of the Press and News/Media Literacy
  • 7.1. Freedom of the Press
  • 7.2. Competing Information in a Free Press
  • 7.3. Writing the News: Different Formats and Their Functions
  • 7.4. Digital News and Social Media
  • 7.5. Evaluating Print and Online Media
  • 7.6. Analyzing Editorials, Editorial Cartoons, or Op-Ed Commentaries
  • Index of Terms
  • Translations

Writing the News: Different Formats and Their Functions

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news paper article writing

Standard 7.3: Writing the News: Different Formats and Their Functions

Explain the different functions of news articles, editorials, editorial cartoons, and “op-ed” commentaries. (Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for History and Social Studies) [8.T7.3]

Launch_of_Apollo

FOCUS QUESTION: What are the Functions of Different Types of Newspaper Writing?

News articles report what is happening as clearly and objectively as possible, without bias or opinion. In reporting the news, the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics demands that reporters: 

  • Seek truth and report it
  • Minimize harm
  • Act independently
  • Be accountable and transparent

Editorials, Editorial Cartoons, and Op-Ed Commentaries are forums where writers may freely express their viewpoints and advocate for desired changes and specific courses of action. In this way, these are forms of persuasive writing. Topic 4/Standard 6 in this book has more about the uses of persuasion, propaganda, and language in political settings. 

Photographs can be both efforts to objectively present the news and at the same time become ways to influence how viewers understand people and events.

Press Conferences are opportunities for individuals and representatives of organizations to answer questions from the press and present their perspectives on issues and events.

Sports Writing  is an integral part of the media, but the experiences for women and men sports journalists are dramatically different.

Reading and Writing the News in our Bookcase for Young Writers has material on the history of newspapers, picture books about newspapers, and digital resources for reading and writing the news.

As students learn about these different forms of news writing, they can compose their own stories and commentaries about local and national matters of importance to them

Modules for This Standard Include:

  • MEDIA LITERACY CONNECTIONS: News Photographs & Newspaper Design
  • TEACHER-DESIGNED LEARNING PLAN: Composing Broadsides
  • UNCOVER: Pioneering Women Cartoonists and Animators: Jackie Ormes, Dale Messick and More
  • MEDIA LITERACY CONNECTIONS: How Reporters Report Events

1. INVESTIGATE: News Articles, Editorials, Editorial cartoons, Op-Ed Commentaries, Photographs, Press Conferences, and Sports Writing

Reporters of the news  are obligated to maintain journalistic integrity at all times. They are not supposed to take sides or show bias in written or verbal reporting. They are expected to apply those principles as they write news articles, editorials, editorial cartoons, Op-Ed commentaries, take news photographs, and participate in press conferences.

You can find resources for Reading and Writing the News in Chapter 6 of our Bookcase for Young Writers.

News Articles and the Inverted Pyramid

News articles follow an Inverted Pyramid format. The lead, or main points of the article—the who, what, when, where, why and how of a story—are placed at the top or beginning of the article.  Additional information follows the lead and less important, but still relevant information, comes after that. The lead information gets the most words since many people read the lead and then skim the rest of the article.

7_3pyramid.jpeg

Editorials are written by the editors of a newspaper or media outlet to express the opinion of that organization about a topic. Horace Greeley is credited with starting the “Editorial Page” at his New York Tribune newspaper in the 1840s, and so began the practice of separating unbiased news from clearly stated opinions as part of news writing ( A Short History of Opinion Writing , Stony Brook University).

Editorial or Political Cartoons

Editorial cartoons (also known as political cartoons) are visual images drawn to express opinions about people, events, and policies. They make use of satire and parody to communicate ideas and evoke emotional responses from readers.

There are differences between a cartoon and a comic. A “cartoon usually consists of a single drawing, often accompanied by a line of text, either in the form of a caption underneath the drawing, or a speech bubble.” A comic, by contrast, “comprises a series of drawings, often in boxes, or as we like to call them, ‘panels,’ which form a narrative” (Finck, 2019, p. 27).

Boss_Tweed

An exhibit from the Library of Congress noted how political or editorial cartoons are “no laughing matter.”  They are “pictures with a point” ( It's No Laughing Matter: Political Cartoons/Pictures with a Point , Library of Congress).  Washington Post cartoonist Ann Telnaes stated: “The job of the editorial cartoonist is to expose the hypocrisies and abuses of power by politicians and powerful institutions in our society” ( Editorial Cartooning, Then and Now , Medium.com, August 7, 2017).

Benjamin Franklin published the first political cartoon, “Join, or Die” in the Pennsylvania Gazette, May 9, 1754. Thomas Nast used cartoons to expose corruption, greed, and injustice in Gilded Age American society in the late 19th century. Launched in 1970 and still being drawn today in newspapers and online, Doonesbury by Gary Trudeau provides political satire and social commentary in a comic strip format. In 1975, Doonesbury was the first politically-themed daily comic strip to win a Pulitzer Prize. Editorial and political cartoons are widely viewed online, especially in the form of Internet memes that offer commentary and amusement to digital age readers.

Commentators including Communication professor Jennifer Grygiel contend that memes are the new form of political cartoons . Do you think that this is an accurate claim? Compare the history of political cartoons outlined above with your own knowledge of memes to support your argument. What are the different perspectives?

Op-Ed Commentaries

Op-Ed Commentaries (Op-Ed means "opposite the editorial page") are written essays of around 700 words found on, or opposite, the editorial page of newspapers and other news publications. They are opportunities for politicians, experts, and ordinary citizens to express their views on issues of importance.

Unlike news articles, which are intended to report the news in an objective and unbiased way, Op-Ed commentaries are opinion pieces. Writers express their ideas and viewpoints, and their names are clearly identified so everyone knows who is the author of each essay. The goal of opinion writing, declared editors at The New York Times for Kids , "is to challenge readers to think about things differently" (The Opinion Issue, December 31, 2023, p. 2).

The modern Op-Ed page began in 1970 when the New York Times newspaper asked writers from outside the field of journalism to contribute essays on a range of topics ( The Op-Ed Page's Back Pages , Slate , September 27, 2010). Since then, Op-Ed pages have become a forum for a wide expression of perspectives and viewpoints.

News Photographs

Photographs are a fundamental part of newspapers today. We would be taken back and much confused to view a newspaper page without photographs and other images including charts, graphs, sketches, and advertisements, rendered in black and white or color. Look at the front page and then the interior pages of a major daily newspaper (in print or online) and note how many photographs are connected to the stories of the day.

The first photograph published in a US newspaper was on March 4, 1880. Prior to then, sketch artists created visual representations of news events. The New York Illustrated News began the practice of regularly featuring photographs in the newspaper in 1919 (Library of Congress: An Illustrated Guide/Prints and Photographs ).

From that time, photography has changed how people receive the news from newspapers. The 1930s to the 1970s have been called a "golden age" of photojournalism . Publications like the New York Daily News, Life, and Sports Illustrated achieved enormous circulations. Women became leaders in the photojournalist field: Margaret Bourke -White was a war reporter; Frances Benjamin Johnson took photos all over the United States; Dorothea Lange documented the Great Depression; the site Trailblazers of Light tells the hidden histories of the pioneering women of photojournalism. Also check out  "What Is The Role of a War Correspondent?" later in this topic.

For an engaging student writing about photographs idea, check out A Year of Picture Prompts: Over 160 Images to Inspire Writing from the New York Times.

Press Conferences

A press conference is a meeting where news reporters get to ask public figures and political leaders (including the President of the United States) questions about major topics and issues. In theory, press conferences are opportunities for everyone in the country to learn important information because reporters ask tough questions and political leaders answer them openly and honestly. In fact, as Harold Holzer (2020) points out in the study of The Presidents vs. The Press , there has always been from the nation's founding "unavoidable tensions between chief executives and the journalists who cover them."

President George W. Bush responds to questions during his final press conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House

The first Presidential press conference was held by Woodrow Wilson in 1913. Calvin Coolidge averaged about 74 press conferences annually during his Presidency, although these were informal, off-the-record conversations and reporters could not use the information without the President's permission.

Every President since has met with the press in this conference format, although the meetings continued to be "off the record" (Presidents could not be quoted directly) until the Eisenhower Presidency. In March 1933, Eleanor Roosevelt was the first First Lady to hold a formal press conference. President Eisenhower held the first televised press conference on January 19, 1955.

John F. Kennedy transformed the Presidential Press Conference into a media event; you can watch the video of Kennedy's first televised press conference here .

Franklin D. Roosevelt held the most press conferences (881; twice a week during the New Deal and World War II); Richard Nixon the fewest (39) (quoted from Presidential Press Conferences , The American Presidency Project).

Donald Trump changed the news conference format dramatically, often turning meetings with the press into political campaign-style attacks on reporters, "fake news," and political opponents. He regularly answered only the questions he wanted to answer while walking from the White House to a waiting helicopter; this "chopper talk" -- in Stephen Colbert's satirical term, since it does not have a formal question and answer format -- enabled the President to tightly control the information he wanted to convey to the public ( Politico , August 28, 2019).

Presidents are not the only ones who participate in press conferences. Public officials at every level of government are expected to answer questions from the news media. Corporate executives, sports figures and many other news makers also hold press conferences. All of these gatherings are essential to providing free and open information to every member of a democratic society, but only when reporters ask meaningful questions and public officials answer them in meaningful ways.

Sports Writing/Sports Journalism

Sports writing is the field of journalism that focuses on sports, athletes, professional and amateur leagues, and other sports-related issues ( Sports Writing as a Form of Creative Nonfiction ). Sports writing in the U.S. began in the 1820s, with coverage of horse racing and boxing included in specialized sports magazines. As newspapers expanded in the 19th century, the so-called “penny press,” editors and readers began demanding sports content. In 1895, William Randolph Hearst introduced the first separate sports section in his newspaper, The New York Journal  ( History of Sports Journalism: Part 1 ).

Throughout the 20th century, sports writing emerged as a central part of print newspapers and magazines (the famous magazine Sports Illustrated began in 1954). Reporters and columnists followed professional teams, often traveling with them from city to city, writing game stories and human interest pieces about players and their achievements.

Earl Warren, the former Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, is reported to have said that he always read the sports pages of the newspaper first because “the sport section records people’s accomplishments; the front page has nothing but man’s failures.” Warren’s comment speaks to the compelling place that sports have in American culture, daily life, and media. Millions of people follow high school sports, college teams, and professional leagues in print and online media. 

Importantly, as the blogger SportsMediaGuy points out, Earl Warren’s quote can be read as if the sports and sports pages were an escape room where only positive things happen and the inequalities and inequities of society never intrude. Nothing can be further from everyday reality. Sports mirror society as a whole, and issues of class, race, gender, economics, and health are present on playing fields, in locker rooms, and throughout sports arenas.

The history of women sportswriters is a striking example of how the inequalities of society manifest themselves in sports media. Women have been writing about sports for a long time, however, not many people know the history. Sadie Kneller Miller was the first known woman to cover sports when she reported on the Baltimore Orioles in the 1890s, but "with stigma still attached to women in sports, Miller bylined her articles using only her initials, S.K.M., to conceal her gender" ( Archives of Maryland - Sadie Kneller Miller, para. 3 ). 

Between 1905 and 1910, Ina Eloise Young began writing about baseball for the local Trinidad, Colorado newspaper before moving on to the Denver Post where she became a “sporting editor” in 1908, covering the town’s minor league team and the 1908 World Series ( Our Lady Reporter’: Introducing Women Baseball Writers, 1900-30 ). New Orleans-based Jill Jackson became one of the few female sports reporters on television and radio in the 1940s ( Jill Jackson: Pioneering in the Press Box ). Phyllis George, the 1971 Miss America pageant winner, joined CBS as a sportscaster on the television show The NFL Today in 1975.

The histories of women writing about sports revealed the tensions of sexism and gender discrimination. Many of the early female sports reporters encountered various levels of threatening and harmful treatment upon entering the locker room. Some were physically assaulted. Others were sexually abused or challenged by the players in sexually inappropriate ways ( Women in Sports Journalism , p.iv).

You can read more in Lady in the Locker Room by Susan Fornoff who spent the majority of the 1980s covering the Oakland Athletics baseball team and listen to a 2021 podcast in which Julie DiCaro discusses her new book, Sidelined: Sports, Culture and Being a Woman in America .

Women today continue to face widespread gender discrimination in what is still a male-dominated sports media. In 2019, 14% of all sports reporters are women and women’s sports only account for about 4% of sports media.

Media Literacy Connections: News Photographs & Newspaper Design

Photographs in print newspapers and online news sites convey powerful messages to readers and viewers, but they are not to be viewed uncritically.

Every photo represents a moment frozen in time. What happened before and after the photo was taken? What else was happening outside the view of the camera? Why did the photographer take the photo from a certain angle and perspective? Why did a newspaper editor choose to publish one image and not another?

The meaning of a news photograph depends on multiple levels of context as well as how each of us interpret its meaning. 

The following activities will provide you with an opportunity to act as a critical viewer of newspaper photographs and as a member of a newspaper design team who must decide what photographs to incorporate in a class newspaper.

  • Activity 1: Analyze Newspaper Photographs
  • Activity 2: Design a Class Newspaper with Photos and Images

news paper article writing

Suggested Learning Activities

  • What differences to you see in the topics and sports that women reporters and columnists cover and write about?
  • What differences to you see in their roles and the roles of male reporters?
  • Compose a Broadside About a Historical or Contemporary Issue  
  • A broadside is a strongly worded informational poster that spreads criticisms of people or policies impacting a group or community. It contains statements attacking a political opponent or political idea, usually displayed on single large sheets of paper, one side only, and is designed to have an immediate emotional impact on readers .   

Broadside that says workers and women; women are wage earners. They must help support the family. In shops and factories. We can help these conditions? Giving women the vote.

Teacher-Designed Learning Plan: Composing Broadsides

History teacher Erich Leaper has students construct broadsides as a learning activity when teaching Op-Ed Commentaries. During colonial times, proponents of the American Revolution posted broadsides expressing their opposition to British colonial acts and policies. Broadsides were the social media and Op-Ed commentaries of the time. 

Steps to follow: 

  • Begin by asking students to list actions or activities that are likely to upset you.
  • Students in groups select one of five options: the Tea Act, Sugar Act, Stamp Act, Intolerable Acts, Quartering Act, and the Townshend Act.
  • The teacher writes a broadside as a model for the students. Erich wrote his about the Sugar Act, entitling it "Wah! They Can't Take Away My Candy!"
  • Researching and analyzing one of the acts, each group writes and draws a broadside expressing opposition to and outrage about the unfairness of the law.
  • 1) An engaging title (like "Taxing Tea? Not for Me!" or "Call Them What They Are-- Intolerable " or "Stamp Out Injustice"
  • 2) Summary of its claim in kid-friendly language;
  • 3) A thesis statement of the group's viewpoint; and
  • 4) At least 3 statements of outrage or opposition.
  • Groups display their broadside posters around the classroom or in a virtual gallery.
  • In their groups, students view all of the other broadsides and discuss how they would rate the Acts on an oppressiveness scale —ranging from most oppressive to least oppressive to the colonists.  
  • The assessment for the activity happens as each student chooses the top three most oppressive acts and explain her/his choices in writing.

Resources for writing colonial broadsides:

  • Colonial Broadsides: A Student Created Play , Edsitement (NEH.gov)
  • Printed Broadsides in the British American Colonies, 1700-1760 , National Humanities Center 
  • Broadsides and Their Music in Colonial America , Colonial Society of Massachusetts 

Online Resources for Newspapers

  • Writing a Newspaper Article , Scholastic (grades 3-8) 
  • Newspaper Article Format , Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation
  • A Good Lead Is Everything--Here's How to Write One , NPR Training
  • Writing an Editorial , Alan Weintraut, Annandale (Virginia) High School
  • Guidelines for Editorials , Santa Barbara City College
  • Analyzing Political Cartoons (French Revolution Example) | Social Studies Samurai
  • Chappatte stated: "Political cartoons were born with democracy, and they are challenged when freedom is challenged.”
  • Suprani stated: "Dictators Hate Cartoons."
  • Editorial Cartoons: An Introduction , The Ohio State University Department of History
  • Editorial Cartoons: An Introduction , Teaching Tolerance Magazine
  • Cartoon America , Library of Congress
  • The Evolution of Political Cartoons through a Changing Media Landscape
  • The First 150 Years of the American Political Cartoon , Historical Society of Pennsylvania
  • Cartoons for the Classroom , Association of American Editorial Cartoonists
  • It's No Laughing Matter:  Political Cartoons/Pictures with a Point , Library of Congress
  • People of color were largely excluded from the photographic record.

2. UNCOVER : Pioneering Women Cartoonists and Animators: Jackie Ormes, Dale Messick, and More

The pioneering work of women cartoonists and animators is part of the overlooked and largely unknown history of technology and media in the mid-20th century.

Zelda “Jackie” Ormes is considered to be the first African American woman cartoonist. In comic strips that ran in Black-owned newspapers across the country in the 1940s and 1950s, she created memorable independent women characters, including Torchy Brown and Patty-Jo ‘n’ Ginger. Her characters were intelligent, forceful women and their stories addressed salient issues of racism and discrimination in African American life. In 1947, a Patty-Jo doll was the first African American doll based on a comic character; there was also a popular Torchy Brown doll.

Google honored Jackie Ormes with a Google Doodle slideshow  and short biography on September 1, 2020.

Jackie_Ormes

Dale Messick , a pioneering female cartoonist, debuted the comic strip, Brenda Starr, Reporter on June 30, 1940. The comic ran for more than 60 years in hundreds of newspapers nationwide. Throughout its history, the creative team for the comic strip were all women, including the writers and artists who continued the strip after Messick retired in 1980. Based on the character, style, and beauty of Hollywood actress Rita Haywood, Brenda Starr was determined and empowered, lived a life of adventure and intrigue, and always got the news story she was investigating.

Joye Hummel was the first woman hired to write Wonder Woman comics - she wrote every episode between 1945 and 1947, but the writing credit went to "Charles Moulton," a pen name for William Moulton Marston , the inventor of the lie-detector test and the creator and first writer of the comic series. Hummel passed away in 2021 at age 97. A whole series of women (including birth-control pioneer Margaret Sanger's niece) were responsible for the development of the comic, noted historian Jill Lepore in her book, The Secret History of Wonder Woman (2015), which documented the evolution of the character from a strong feminist into a more male-like superhero.

Women also contributed immensely to cartoon animation and the development of animated films. Lillian Friedman Astor , who animated characters including Betty Boop and Popeye, is considered the first American woman studio animator -- all of her animation work was uncredited.

Watch an interview featuring Lillian Friedman Astor below. Retta Scott who worked on the movie Bambi  and later produced Fantasia and Dumbo , was the first woman to receive screen credit as an animator on a Disney film.

To learn more, check out 7 Women Who Shaped Animated Films (and Childhoods) , Medium (August 8, 2019).

news paper article writing

Suggested Learning Activity

Assess the Historical Impact of Jackie Ormes, Dale Messick and Other Women Cartoonists and Animators

  • Jackie Ormes to Enter Will Eisner Comic Hall of Fame , Comic Book Legal Defense Fund 
  • The Woman Whose 1940s Comics Starred Chic, Socially Aware Black Women ,VICE
  • Farewell Brenda Starr: 70-Year-Old Reporter Faces Her Final Deadline , The Washington Post (December 9, 2010)
  • She Changed the Comics: Pre-Code and Golden Age , Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
  • Brenda Starr, Reporter , America Comes Alive!

State Your View:   Why is it difficult for women to enter and succeed in professions where there are mostly men?

  • FYI: The Animation Guild, the union for animation artists, writers and technicians, has reported that only 25% of its members are women .

3. ENGAGE: How Are War Correspondents and War Photographers Essential to a Free Press?

War Correspondents  and War Photographers have one of the most important and most dangerous roles in the news media. They travel to war zones, often right into the middle of actual fighting, to tell the rest of us what is happening to soldiers and civilians. Without their written reports and dramatic photos, the public would not know the extent of military activities or the severity of humanitarian crises. 

Typing in the War

War correspondence has a fascinating history. The Roman general Julius Caesar was the first war correspondent. His short, engagingly written accounts of military victories made him a national hero and propelled his rise to power (Welch, 1998). As a young man in the years between 1895 and 1900, Winston Churchill reported on wars in Cuba, India, the Sudan, and South Africa (Read, 2015).

Thomas Morris Chester,  the only Black war correspondent for a major newspaper at the time of the Civil War, reported on the activities of African American troops during the final year of the war in Virginia for the Philadelphia Press ( Blackett , 1991). He had been a recruiter for the 54th Massachusetts regiment - the first unit of African American soldiers in the North during the Civil War.

Women Reporting on War

Women war correspondents and photographers have played essential roles documenting 20th century wars.

America's first female war correspondent was Nellie Bly who covered World War I from the front lines for five years for the New York Evening Journal .

Peggy Hull Deuell was the first American woman war correspondent accredited by the U.S. government. Between 1916 and the end of World War II, she sent dispatches from battlefields in Mexico, Europe and Asia.

For 28 years, Martha Gellhorn covered fighting in the Spanish Civil War, World War II, Vietnam, the Middle East and Central America.

Combat photojournalist  Dickey Chapelle was the first American female war photographer killed in action in World War II.

Catherine Leroy was the only non-military photographer to make a combat jump into Vietnam with the Sky Soldiers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. You can read more about Catherine Leroy, Frances Fitzgerald, and Kate Webb during the Vietnam War in the book You Don't Belong Here: How Three Women Rewrote the Story of War by Elizabeth Becker (Public Affairs, 2021).

Lee Miller went from being a magazine cover model in the 1920s to a famous woman photographer with her own studio to an embedded war photographer with the U.S. military during World War II. Her story is told in the 2023 feature film Lee staring Kate Winslet.

At the end of August, 1939, British journalist Clare Hollingworth was the first to report the German invasion of Poland that began World War II, what has been called "probably the greatest scoop of modern times" (as cited in Fox, 2017 , para. 6). It was her first week on the job (Garrett, 2016). In her book The Correspondents , reporter Judith Mackrell (2021) profiles the experiences of six women writers on the front lines during World War II: Martha Gellhorn, Clare Hollingworth, Lee Miller, Helen Kirkpatrick, Virginia Cowles, and Sigrid Schultz. These women faced the dangers of war and the bias of sexism, often having to hitchhike to the battlefield to get the story in defiance of rules against women in combat zones. You can go here to learn more about the pioneering women of photojournalism (CNN, March 8, 2023).

Danger and Death

War correspondents and photojournalists face and sometimes met death. Ernie Pyle , who won a Pulitzer Prize for his stories about ordinary soldiers during World War II, was killed by Japanese machine-gun fire in 1945. Marie Colvin , who covered wars in Chechnya, Sri Lanka, and the Middle East was killed by the Syrian government shelling in 2012. When asked why she covered wars, Marie Colvin said, “what I write about is humanity in extremis, pushed the unendurable, and that it is important to tell people what really happens in wars—declared and undeclared” (quoted in Schleier, 2018, para. 8 ). 

How did the lives and deaths of these two reporters and their commitment to informing others about war reflect the role and importance of a free press in a democratic society?

Media Literacy Connections: How Reporters Report Events

Print and television news reporters make multiple decisions about how they report the events they are covering, including who to interview, which perspective to present, which camera angles to use for capturing footage, and which audio to record. These decisions structure how viewers think about the causes and consequences of events.

Hong Kong protest Admiralty Centre

In one notable historical example, historian Rick Perlstein (2020) described how, during the beginning of the Iran Hostage Crisis in 1979, ABC News vaulted to the top of the TV news show ratings with its late night broadcasts of " America Held Hostage: The Crisis in Iran"  (the show that would soon be renamed  Nightline ). The network focused on showing images of a burning American flag, embassy employees in blindfolds, Uncle Sam hanged in effigy, and increasingly more people watched the broadcast. Perlstein (2020) noted, "the images slotted effortlessly into the long-gathering narrative of American malaise, humiliation, and failed leadership" (p. 649) - themes Ronald Reagan would capitalize on during his successful 1980 Presidential campaign.

In the following activities, you will examine reporters' differences in coverage of the 2016 Hong Kong Protests and then you will act as a reporter and create or remix the news. 

  • Activity 1: Evaluate How Reporters Covered the 2016 Hong Kong Protests
  • Activity 2: Report an Event From a Different Perspective
  • Describe the life of Marie Colvin, Ernie Pyle, Dickey Chapelle or another war journalist or photographer and highlight their time spent covering war (see the online resources section below for related information). 
  • How do the lives and jobs of modern war correspondents compare and contrast to those in different historical time periods (i.e. American Revolution, the World War II, Vietnam War).
  • Design a Public Service Announcement (PSA) video or podcast to convince politicians to provide war correspondents with mental health care support and services once they return from reporting in a war zone.
  • Report on the Legal and Policy Frameworks Guiding the United States' Use of Military Force and Related National Security Operations (2018)
  • What do you and people in general know about these engagements?  How are war correspondents covering these wars?

Online Resources for War Correspondents and Photojournalists

  • War Correspondents Official Site on Amazon
  • PODCAST: The Failings of War Photography , Anastasia Taylor-Lind
  • BOOK: In Extremis: The Life and Death of War Correspondent Marie Colvin . Lindsey Hilsum (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019)
  • A New Biography of Marie Colvin, Eyewitness to War , NPR (November 4, 2018)
  • Dickey Chapelle Biography
  • The Brilliant Photos of the First American Female War Photographer Killed in Action
  • Inside the Daring Life of a Forgotten Female War Photographer , National Geographic
  • 6 Female Journalists of the World War II Era, Literary Ladies Guide
  • Edith Wharton: War Correspondent , EDSITEment 
  • CNN's Interactive "Free Press: What's at Stake" -  Media Martyrs: Among Those Who Died While Working as Journalists in the Past 15 Years
  • Marguerite Higgins Hits Red Beach - She was the only woman who received a Pulitzer Prize for covering the Korean War in 1951.
  • BOOK: The Women Who Wrote the War . Nancy Caldwell Sorel. New York: Arcade, 1999.
  • Ernie Pyle: Wartime Columns , Indiana University 
  • Obituary: Ernie Pyle is Killed on Ie Island; Foe Fired When All Seemed Safe , The New York Times (April 19, 1945)

Standard 7.3 Conclusion

INVESTIGATE looked at news articles, editorials, political cartoons, Op-Ed commentaries, news photographs, and press conferences as formats where writers and artists report the news and also present their opinions and perspectives on events.   ENGAGE explored the roles of war correspondents, using the historical experiences of Marie Colvin (writing 1979 to 2012) and Ernie Pyle (writing 1925 to 1945) as examples. UNCOVER told the stories of two important feminist comic strips drawn by pioneering women cartoonists, Jackie Ormes (writing 1930 to 1956) and Dale Messick (writing 1940 to 1980).

This content is provided to you freely by EdTech Books.

Access it online or download it at https://edtechbooks.org/democracy/writing_the_news .

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Why writing by hand beats typing for thinking and learning

Jonathan Lambert

A close-up of a woman's hand writing in a notebook.

If you're like many digitally savvy Americans, it has likely been a while since you've spent much time writing by hand.

The laborious process of tracing out our thoughts, letter by letter, on the page is becoming a relic of the past in our screen-dominated world, where text messages and thumb-typed grocery lists have replaced handwritten letters and sticky notes. Electronic keyboards offer obvious efficiency benefits that have undoubtedly boosted our productivity — imagine having to write all your emails longhand.

To keep up, many schools are introducing computers as early as preschool, meaning some kids may learn the basics of typing before writing by hand.

But giving up this slower, more tactile way of expressing ourselves may come at a significant cost, according to a growing body of research that's uncovering the surprising cognitive benefits of taking pen to paper, or even stylus to iPad — for both children and adults.

Is this some kind of joke? A school facing shortages starts teaching standup comedy

In kids, studies show that tracing out ABCs, as opposed to typing them, leads to better and longer-lasting recognition and understanding of letters. Writing by hand also improves memory and recall of words, laying down the foundations of literacy and learning. In adults, taking notes by hand during a lecture, instead of typing, can lead to better conceptual understanding of material.

"There's actually some very important things going on during the embodied experience of writing by hand," says Ramesh Balasubramaniam , a neuroscientist at the University of California, Merced. "It has important cognitive benefits."

While those benefits have long been recognized by some (for instance, many authors, including Jennifer Egan and Neil Gaiman , draft their stories by hand to stoke creativity), scientists have only recently started investigating why writing by hand has these effects.

A slew of recent brain imaging research suggests handwriting's power stems from the relative complexity of the process and how it forces different brain systems to work together to reproduce the shapes of letters in our heads onto the page.

Your brain on handwriting

Both handwriting and typing involve moving our hands and fingers to create words on a page. But handwriting, it turns out, requires a lot more fine-tuned coordination between the motor and visual systems. This seems to more deeply engage the brain in ways that support learning.

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Feeling artsy here's how making art helps your brain.

"Handwriting is probably among the most complex motor skills that the brain is capable of," says Marieke Longcamp , a cognitive neuroscientist at Aix-Marseille Université.

Gripping a pen nimbly enough to write is a complicated task, as it requires your brain to continuously monitor the pressure that each finger exerts on the pen. Then, your motor system has to delicately modify that pressure to re-create each letter of the words in your head on the page.

"Your fingers have to each do something different to produce a recognizable letter," says Sophia Vinci-Booher , an educational neuroscientist at Vanderbilt University. Adding to the complexity, your visual system must continuously process that letter as it's formed. With each stroke, your brain compares the unfolding script with mental models of the letters and words, making adjustments to fingers in real time to create the letters' shapes, says Vinci-Booher.

That's not true for typing.

To type "tap" your fingers don't have to trace out the form of the letters — they just make three relatively simple and uniform movements. In comparison, it takes a lot more brainpower, as well as cross-talk between brain areas, to write than type.

Recent brain imaging studies bolster this idea. A study published in January found that when students write by hand, brain areas involved in motor and visual information processing " sync up " with areas crucial to memory formation, firing at frequencies associated with learning.

"We don't see that [synchronized activity] in typewriting at all," says Audrey van der Meer , a psychologist and study co-author at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. She suggests that writing by hand is a neurobiologically richer process and that this richness may confer some cognitive benefits.

Other experts agree. "There seems to be something fundamental about engaging your body to produce these shapes," says Robert Wiley , a cognitive psychologist at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. "It lets you make associations between your body and what you're seeing and hearing," he says, which might give the mind more footholds for accessing a given concept or idea.

Those extra footholds are especially important for learning in kids, but they may give adults a leg up too. Wiley and others worry that ditching handwriting for typing could have serious consequences for how we all learn and think.

What might be lost as handwriting wanes

The clearest consequence of screens and keyboards replacing pen and paper might be on kids' ability to learn the building blocks of literacy — letters.

"Letter recognition in early childhood is actually one of the best predictors of later reading and math attainment," says Vinci-Booher. Her work suggests the process of learning to write letters by hand is crucial for learning to read them.

"When kids write letters, they're just messy," she says. As kids practice writing "A," each iteration is different, and that variability helps solidify their conceptual understanding of the letter.

Research suggests kids learn to recognize letters better when seeing variable handwritten examples, compared with uniform typed examples.

This helps develop areas of the brain used during reading in older children and adults, Vinci-Booher found.

"This could be one of the ways that early experiences actually translate to long-term life outcomes," she says. "These visually demanding, fine motor actions bake in neural communication patterns that are really important for learning later on."

Ditching handwriting instruction could mean that those skills don't get developed as well, which could impair kids' ability to learn down the road.

"If young children are not receiving any handwriting training, which is very good brain stimulation, then their brains simply won't reach their full potential," says van der Meer. "It's scary to think of the potential consequences."

Many states are trying to avoid these risks by mandating cursive instruction. This year, California started requiring elementary school students to learn cursive , and similar bills are moving through state legislatures in several states, including Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina and Wisconsin. (So far, evidence suggests that it's the writing by hand that matters, not whether it's print or cursive.)

Slowing down and processing information

For adults, one of the main benefits of writing by hand is that it simply forces us to slow down.

During a meeting or lecture, it's possible to type what you're hearing verbatim. But often, "you're not actually processing that information — you're just typing in the blind," says van der Meer. "If you take notes by hand, you can't write everything down," she says.

The relative slowness of the medium forces you to process the information, writing key words or phrases and using drawing or arrows to work through ideas, she says. "You make the information your own," she says, which helps it stick in the brain.

Such connections and integration are still possible when typing, but they need to be made more intentionally. And sometimes, efficiency wins out. "When you're writing a long essay, it's obviously much more practical to use a keyboard," says van der Meer.

Still, given our long history of using our hands to mark meaning in the world, some scientists worry about the more diffuse consequences of offloading our thinking to computers.

"We're foisting a lot of our knowledge, extending our cognition, to other devices, so it's only natural that we've started using these other agents to do our writing for us," says Balasubramaniam.

It's possible that this might free up our minds to do other kinds of hard thinking, he says. Or we might be sacrificing a fundamental process that's crucial for the kinds of immersive cognitive experiences that enable us to learn and think at our full potential.

Balasubramaniam stresses, however, that we don't have to ditch digital tools to harness the power of handwriting. So far, research suggests that scribbling with a stylus on a screen activates the same brain pathways as etching ink on paper. It's the movement that counts, he says, not its final form.

Jonathan Lambert is a Washington, D.C.-based freelance journalist who covers science, health and policy.

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  • Published: 08 May 2024

Accurate structure prediction of biomolecular interactions with AlphaFold 3

  • Josh Abramson   ORCID: orcid.org/0009-0000-3496-6952 1   na1 ,
  • Jonas Adler   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-9928-3407 1   na1 ,
  • Jack Dunger 1   na1 ,
  • Richard Evans   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-4675-8469 1   na1 ,
  • Tim Green   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-3227-1505 1   na1 ,
  • Alexander Pritzel   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-4233-9040 1   na1 ,
  • Olaf Ronneberger   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-4266-1515 1   na1 ,
  • Lindsay Willmore   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-4314-0778 1   na1 ,
  • Andrew J. Ballard   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-4956-5304 1 ,
  • Joshua Bambrick   ORCID: orcid.org/0009-0003-3908-0722 2 ,
  • Sebastian W. Bodenstein 1 ,
  • David A. Evans 1 ,
  • Chia-Chun Hung   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-5264-9165 2 ,
  • Michael O’Neill 1 ,
  • David Reiman   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-1605-7197 1 ,
  • Kathryn Tunyasuvunakool   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-8594-1074 1 ,
  • Zachary Wu   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-2429-9812 1 ,
  • Akvilė Žemgulytė 1 ,
  • Eirini Arvaniti 3 ,
  • Charles Beattie   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-1840-054X 3 ,
  • Ottavia Bertolli   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-8578-3216 3 ,
  • Alex Bridgland 3 ,
  • Alexey Cherepanov   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-5227-0622 4 ,
  • Miles Congreve 4 ,
  • Alexander I. Cowen-Rivers 3 ,
  • Andrew Cowie   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-4491-1434 3 ,
  • Michael Figurnov   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-1386-8741 3 ,
  • Fabian B. Fuchs 3 ,
  • Hannah Gladman 3 ,
  • Rishub Jain 3 ,
  • Yousuf A. Khan   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-0201-2796 3 ,
  • Caroline M. R. Low 4 ,
  • Kuba Perlin 3 ,
  • Anna Potapenko 3 ,
  • Pascal Savy 4 ,
  • Sukhdeep Singh 3 ,
  • Adrian Stecula   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-6914-6743 4 ,
  • Ashok Thillaisundaram 3 ,
  • Catherine Tong   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-7570-4801 4 ,
  • Sergei Yakneen   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-7827-9839 4 ,
  • Ellen D. Zhong   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-6345-1907 3 ,
  • Michal Zielinski 3 ,
  • Augustin Žídek   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-0748-9684 3 ,
  • Victor Bapst 1   na2 ,
  • Pushmeet Kohli   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-7466-7997 1   na2 ,
  • Max Jaderberg   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-9033-2695 2   na2 ,
  • Demis Hassabis   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-2812-9917 1 , 2   na2 &
  • John M. Jumper   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-6169-6580 1   na2  

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We are providing an unedited version of this manuscript to give early access to its findings. Before final publication, the manuscript will undergo further editing. Please note there may be errors present which affect the content, and all legal disclaimers apply.

  • Drug discovery
  • Machine learning
  • Protein structure predictions
  • Structural biology

The introduction of AlphaFold 2 1 has spurred a revolution in modelling the structure of proteins and their interactions, enabling a huge range of applications in protein modelling and design 2–6 . In this paper, we describe our AlphaFold 3 model with a substantially updated diffusion-based architecture, which is capable of joint structure prediction of complexes including proteins, nucleic acids, small molecules, ions, and modified residues. The new AlphaFold model demonstrates significantly improved accuracy over many previous specialised tools: far greater accuracy on protein-ligand interactions than state of the art docking tools, much higher accuracy on protein-nucleic acid interactions than nucleic-acid-specific predictors, and significantly higher antibody-antigen prediction accuracy than AlphaFold-Multimer v2.3 7,8 . Together these results show that high accuracy modelling across biomolecular space is possible within a single unified deep learning framework.

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Author information.

These authors contributed equally: Josh Abramson, Jonas Adler, Jack Dunger, Richard Evans, Tim Green, Alexander Pritzel, Olaf Ronneberger, Lindsay Willmore

These authors jointly supervised this work: Victor Bapst, Pushmeet Kohli, Max Jaderberg, Demis Hassabis, John M. Jumper

Authors and Affiliations

Core Contributor, Google DeepMind, London, UK

Josh Abramson, Jonas Adler, Jack Dunger, Richard Evans, Tim Green, Alexander Pritzel, Olaf Ronneberger, Lindsay Willmore, Andrew J. Ballard, Sebastian W. Bodenstein, David A. Evans, Michael O’Neill, David Reiman, Kathryn Tunyasuvunakool, Zachary Wu, Akvilė Žemgulytė, Victor Bapst, Pushmeet Kohli, Demis Hassabis & John M. Jumper

Core Contributor, Isomorphic Labs, London, UK

Joshua Bambrick, Chia-Chun Hung, Max Jaderberg & Demis Hassabis

Google DeepMind, London, UK

Eirini Arvaniti, Charles Beattie, Ottavia Bertolli, Alex Bridgland, Alexander I. Cowen-Rivers, Andrew Cowie, Michael Figurnov, Fabian B. Fuchs, Hannah Gladman, Rishub Jain, Yousuf A. Khan, Kuba Perlin, Anna Potapenko, Sukhdeep Singh, Ashok Thillaisundaram, Ellen D. Zhong, Michal Zielinski & Augustin Žídek

Isomorphic Labs, London, UK

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news paper article writing

She left the CIA in frustration. Now her spy novel is racking up awards.

I.S. Berry scored rave reviews and awards for her literary debut, “The Peacock and the Sparrow,” a novel mined from her time at the CIA.

news paper article writing

She felt each boom like an electric jolt as she was trying to sleep in her Alexandria, Va., apartment.

It was August 2006, and Ilana Berry was then a 30-year-old Central Intelligence Agency case officer. Outside, construction crews were beginning work on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, knocking down the old expanse to make way for a new six-lane roadway.

But each rumble threw Berry off the steady anchors of time and place, hurling her back to her last year stationed in war-rocked Baghdad. There, she had spent sleepless nights alone in a trailer as insurgent mortars and rockets screamed into the Green Zone, the central area of the Iraqi capital where the American military, diplomatic and intelligence staffs were housed.

“I remember waking up and having the worst panic attack of my life,” she recalled. “I called my parents to say that we are all under attack.”

To cope, Berry began tracking when the crews would do demolitions and set an alarm for herself to stay awake. She began writing, caging the emotional fallout of her time in Iraq into the tidy frames of sentences. That writing would kick off a sequence of events that would pit her against the agency’s bureaucracy and end in her resignation.

But it would also start her second act as a celebrated, award-winning novelist — one that would be eventually be invited back to the CIA.

Berry applied to join the CIA while attending law school at the University of Virginia, believing it would combine her interests in international relations and intelligence work with her sense of patriotic mission.

Raised outside D.C., she was a 1994 graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. She spent time in the Balkans after graduating from Haverford College, an experience that led to a position as an intelligence analyst with the Defense Department. “I loved the work of intel, and I wanted to make it my career,” Berry said. “So the CIA is the place to go, right?”

After being accepted, she trained at Camp Peary near Williamsburg, Va., known as “The Farm.” Much of that training was about logistics — how to conduct surveillance, how to know if you are being surveilled. But the more in-depth psychological elements made Berry wonder if she was in the right place.

“Your whole training is basically how to find people’s vulnerabilities,” Berry said. “What are their motivations? Is it flattery or vanity or revenge, or do they hate their boss? That was never an easy fit for me.”

But Berry graduated with high marks and volunteered to be stationed in Iraq for a year-long assignment. She arrived in 2004 as doubts were beginning to stain America’s initial reasoning for toppling Saddam Hussein’s regime. Among the CIA team, there was a growing realization that there were no weapons of mass destruction in the country — the main justification for the U.S.-led coalition’s invasion.

Berry found that the CIA trailers didn’t have the armored protections or safety protocols in place like their military counterparts. But when she advised CIA headquarters about the danger, she was ignored, she said.

“We weren’t taking the precautions that we should have been,” Berry said. “And it was clear we knew we weren’t.”

One specific incident left Berry with doubts about the CIA’s mission. She got a tip from an Iraqi informant about a possible suspect involved in the 2003 truck bombing of the U.N. Baghdad headquarters that left 22 people dead, including the commissioner for human rights at the time. Berry’s tip led to the suspect being taken into custody, but he claimed he was not involved. Still, he was carted off to a detention facility. Berry later heard from other officers that they were unsure of his guilt, and she worries he may have been wrongfully pulled into the maze of America’s post-9/11 detention system.

In response to Berry’s allegations about her time in Iraq, a CIA agency spokesperson did not address specific complaints or allegations but said the agency “is absolutely committed to fostering a safe, respectful, and equitable workplace environment for all our employees, and we have taken significant steps to ensure that, including strengthening the Agency’s handling of issues when they arise.”

The living conditions. The murky mission. All that seemed to Berry to fuel rampant alcoholism at the CIA station. “Baghdad really screwed me up,” she said.

Her tour done but still living with the emotional aftershocks in Virginia, Berry kept writing. “My goal was never to publish my account of Baghdad,” she said. “It was to make sense of what happened.”

She had volunteered to go next to Afghanistan and was enrolled in Farsi-language classes. During that time, Berry volunteered to the agency that she had been writing about her experience.

According to agency regulation, all current and former CIA employees must submit any writing they plan on releasing to the CIA’s Publication Classification Review Board, which determines whether a potential book or screenplay or writing contains classified information. After the agency learned Berry was working on a memoir, she submitted the manuscript.

When her writing came back, it was covered in redactions that Berry felt made little sense. “They redacted my height and weight,” she said. “They redacted the color of the sky. These are clearly things that are not classified.”

Berry felt the pushback was all due to the unflattering light the account showed the agency. Her complaints in Iraq had already begun to hurt her prospects at the CIA. Her follow-up assignment in Afghanistan was pulled. She channeled her frustration into an appeal over her manuscript.

“I fought every single redaction, if for no other reason than to stick it to them that this was wrong,” she said.

Mark Zaid, a D.C. attorney who regularly represents CIA officers and helped Berry with her appeal, said he believes the board’s difficult responses were tied to the protective stance the agency assumed at the time. “There is a deep-seated paranoia and ignorance among security officers,” he said. “Their internal processes are geared for damage control, no matter whether there is damage or not.” Zaid later hired Berry into his law firm as an of counsel attorney.

In response to questions about Berry’s past conflicts with the review board, an agency spokesperson said the “CIA does not comment on details regarding specific prepublication reviews.” The spokesperson added that “the Board is open to authors’ requests to reconsider content they believe is unclassified.”

Eventually, the review board agreed with most of Berry’s appeal and removed most of the redactions from her manuscript.

By then, she had already resigned from agency, frustrated with the fight and her experiences in Iraq. She was married and a new mother. Though she had won the right to publish her account, she no longer wanted her own story — and the trauma and personal doubt she had put in writing — out there.

Write what you know

Despite her clash with agency, piling the mixed feelings about her time as a spy into a memoir reminded Berry how much she enjoyed writing. As she launched herself into a new career as an attorney and later followed her husband to Bahrain in 2012, Berry kept at it. Now it was fiction, but Berry found all her sentences echoed back to her time in Iraq.

The pages that would eventually become “The Peacock and the Sparrow,” a novel featuring a weary CIA officer caught in the turbines of Middle Eastern political change, include themes mined straight from Berry’s time at the agency. Its first lines plunge a reader into the morally ambiguous head space Berry learned in her training. “It was the ability to please that you learned as a spy: smoking a cigarette, offering compliments you didn’t mean, falling down drunk from having accepted too many vodkas,” Berry writes.

The novel’s CIA protagonist, Shane Collins, faces the same indifference from higher-ups that Berry said she saw in Iraq. She funneled the same problematic behavior she witnessed — the drinking, the war-zone infidelities — into her main character. The gnawing doubts about the guilt of the bombing suspect also popped up as a plot point.

Perhaps the most surprising element in her new work as a novelist was how easy it was to submit the manuscript to the review board. They demanded no significant redactions.

“Time had passed, and I had built up a good relationship with the board,” Berry said.

Berry’s debut novel, “The Peacock and the Sparrow,” was released by Atria Books in May 2023 under the pen name I.S. Berry. The book was feted by both the New Yorker and NPR on their annual lists of the best books of the year. This month, the novel also won the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Allan Poe Award for best first novel by an American novelist, a significant industry award whose past recipients include Viet Thanh Nguyen and Tana French.

Even with that acclaim, Berry was still surprised when the CIA invited her to speak with Invisible Ink, a group of agency employees who are also writers.

“I was not exactly a poster child for the place,” Berry said. “But they assured me they valued authenticity over filtered plaudits, which were words I never thought I’d hear.”

Last September, Berry was sitting in her car in the ocean of parking spaces sprawling outside CIA headquarters in Langley, Va. Even with her invitation, she felt “nervous as hell,” she said. “I did feel like it was a family reunion where I was estranged from my family.”

But Berry then met her agency contact, a member of Invisible Ink, who had asked her to come and speak. She was taken into a conference room where she spoke to about a dozen current agency staff members to discuss writing, publishing and working with the agency’s review board.

As she was leaving, Berry was asked to film a video about the career paths of officers after the agency. She agreed.

“This was such a formative part of my life,” she said. “They are people who have had that same singular experience as me.” Going back to the CIA, Berry said, “felt like I had rebuilt this broken bridge.”

In the meantime, she’s working away on a new novel. It’s another spy tale.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Berry visited Invisible Ink last February. It was last September. The article has been corrected.

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Guest Essay

I Don’t Write Like Alice Munro, but I Want to Live Like Her

A blurry photo of a woman, the author Alice Munro, smiling.

By Sheila Heti

Ms. Heti is the author of the novels “Pure Colour,” “How Should a Person Be?” and, most recently, “Alphabetical Diaries.”

It is common to say “I was heartbroken to hear” that so-and-so died, but I really do feel heartbroken having learned about Alice Munro, who died on Monday.

As a writer, she modeled, in her life and art, that one must work with emotional sincerity and precision and concentration and depth — not on every kind of writing but on only one kind, the kind closest to one’s heart.

She has long been a North Star for many writers and was someone I have always felt guided by. We are very different writers, but I have kept her in mind, daily and for decades, as an example to follow (but failed to follow to the extent that she demonstrated it): that a fiction writer isn’t someone for hire.

A fiction writer isn’t someone who can write anything — movies, articles, obits! She isn’t a person in service to the magazines, to the newspapers, to the publishers or even to her audience. She doesn’t have to speak on the political issues of the day or on matters of importance to the culture right now but ought first and most to attend seriously to her task, which is her only task, writing the particular thing she was most suited to write.

Ms. Munro only ever wrote short stories — not novels, though she must have been pressured to. She died in a small town not too far from where she was born, choosing to remain close to the sort of people she grew up with, whom she remained ever curious about. Depth is wherever one stands, she showed us, convincingly.

Fiction writers are people, supposedly, who have things to say; they must, because they are so good with words. So people are always asking them: Can you say something about this or about this? But the art of hearing the voice of a fictional person or sensing a fictional world or working for years on some unfathomable creation is, in fact, the opposite of saying something with the opinionated and knowledgeable part of one’s mind. It is rather the humble craft of putting your opinions and ego aside and letting something be said through you.

Ms. Munro held to this division and never let the vanity that can come with being good with words persuade her to put her words just everywhere, in every possible way. Here was the best example in the world — in Canada, my own land — of someone who seemed to abide by classical artistic values in her choices as a person and in her choices on the page. I felt quietly reassured knowing that a hundred kilometers down the road was Alice Munro.

She was also an example of how a writer should be in public: modest, unpretentious, funny, generous and kind. I learned the lesson of generosity from her early. When I was 20 and was just starting to publish short stories, I sent her a fan letter. I don’t remember what my letter said. After a few months, I received a handwritten thank-you note from her in the mail. The fact that she replied at all and did so with such care taught me a lot about grace and consideration and has remained as a warmth within me since that day.

She will always remain for me, and for many others, a model of that grave yet joyous dedication to art — a dedication that inevitably informs the most important choices the artist makes about how to support that life. Probably Ms. Munro would laugh at this; no one knows the compromises another makes, especially when that person is as private as she was and transforms her trials into fiction. Yet whatever the truth of her daily existence, she still shines as a symbol of artistic purity and care.

I am grateful for all she gave to the world and for all the sacrifices she must have made to give it. I’m sorry to be here defying her example, but she was just too loved, and these words just came. Thank you, Alice Munro.

Sheila Heti is the author of the novels “Pure Colour,” “How Should a Person Be?” and, most recently, “Alphabetical Diaries.”

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I prompted AI to summarize Google's 45-page book about how to write the best AI prompts. Here are the key takeaways.

  • Google  handed out free guides on how to write successful AI prompts for Gemini at Google I/O.
  • The booklet covers best practices for Google Workspace and gives examples for various professions.
  • Some tips include drafting 21-word prompts that include persona, task, context, and format.

Insider Today

Google handed out booklets about how to write successful AI prompts at its big summer developer conference, Google I / O .

But you're still in luck even if you weren't one of the developers or press in attendance — Google has a free PDF version available for download on its website.

The guide breaks down how to best write AI prompts for Gemini for the company's Google Workspace apps, which include Gmail, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Meet, and Google Slides.

But there are some great takeaways in general for writing AI prompts.

It lists some helpful tips, like how the most successful AI prompts average around 21 words, and users should refrain from making them too long or too short. The guide also went over the four key points to hit in every prompt to receive the most useful responses.

The guide showcases how different roles can use Gemini to improve productivity. For example, an HR manager might use Gemini to create a script for an onboarding presentation, while a sales representative may use it to create an elevator pitch for a client.

Related stories

While the digital version is only 45 pages long, we uploaded the booklet to Google's Gemini to see the biggest takeaways (yes, we prompted AI to summarize a book about AI prompts).

Here's what it said in response.

Gemini for Google Workspace: A Guide for Busy Professionals

This guide is a comprehensive resource for anyone who wants to learn more about using Gemini for Google Workspace to improve their productivity and creativity. It covers a variety of use cases for different roles (Recruiter, HR Manager, Marketing Manager, Project Manager, Sales Manager) and provides specific prompts and examples to help them leverage Gemini's capabilities.

Key Takeaways

  • Gemini for Google Workspace integrates with various Google Workspace apps (Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Meet) to assist with tasks like writing, organizing, summarizing information, creating visuals, and more.
  • Effective prompts for Gemini should include Persona (who you are), Task (what you want to achieve), Context (background information), and Format (desired output style).
  • Gemini can be used across various departments to improve productivity and streamline workflows.

Additional Tips

  • Level Up Your Prompt Writing: The guide offers additional tips to help you improve your prompt writing skills. These include breaking down complex tasks into smaller prompts, using constraints to generate specific results, and tailoring your prompts to the desired tone and audience.
  • Stay Up-to-Date: The guide recommends checking workspace.google.com and workspace.google.com/blog for the latest information on Gemini for Google Workspace.

Overall, this guide is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to learn more about using Gemini for Google Workspace to enhance their work within the Google ecosystem.

On February 28, Axel Springer, Business Insider's parent company, joined 31 other media groups and filed a $2.3 billion suit against Google in Dutch court, alleging losses suffered due to the company's advertising practices.

Watch: AI expert explains how to incorporate generative AI into your business strategy

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  1. How to Write a News Article: 14 Steps (with Pictures)

    Let your readers know what your news article is about, why it's important, and what the rest of the article will contain. 2. Give all the important details. The next important step to writing news articles is including all the relevant facts and details that relate to your lead statement.

  2. How to Write a News Article & Publish in 9 Simple Steps

    Never take anything for granted if you want to make it as a news writer. 2. Outline the Main Point of Your Article. Once you have the relevant details you need, you should start outlining the main point of your article. Sum up the entire piece in one sentence before you move on to outlining the whole piece.

  3. How to Write an Effective News Article

    The article should not contain your opinions. Detail any events in chronological order. Use the active voice —not passive voice —when possible, and write in clear, short, direct sentences. In a news article, you should use the inverted pyramid format—putting the most critical information in the early paragraphs and following with ...

  4. How to Write a Newspaper Article: A Step-by-Step Guide

    Once you have gathered all the necessary information, it's time to start writing your newspaper article. Here are some tips to help you craft a compelling and engaging piece: 1. Start with a strong lead: Your lead should grab the reader's attention and provide a clear summary of the main point of the story.

  5. How to Write a News Article: A Step-by-Step Guide

    News articles are meant to provide readers with factual information about current events, trends, or issues. They should be concise, clear, and objective, presenting the facts in a straightforward manner without bias or opinion. Gathering Information. The first step in writing a news article is gathering information.

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    1. Stay consistent with news values. The first thing you should do before starting a piece of news writing is consider how the topic fits in with the 6 key news values. These values help journalists determine how newsworthy a story is, as well as which information should be included in the lede and article as a whole.

  7. The Writing Center

    Good news writing begins with good, accurate reporting. Journalists perform a public service for citizens by presenting truthful facts in honest, straight-forward articles. News Values. Journalists commonly use six values to determine how newsworthy a story or elements of a story are. Knowing the news values can help a journalist make many ...

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  9. Master the Essentials of News Writing: A Beginner's Guide

    News articles should be written in a clear and concise manner. Avoid jargon, technical terms, and complex sentences that may confuse the reader. Use simple, everyday language that is easily understood by a wide audience. 6. Maintain Objectivity. Objectivity is a cornerstone of news writing.

  10. How To Write a News Article (+4 Tools, Examples & Template)

    Both print and online news articles aim to discuss current or recent news in local happenings, politics, business, trade, technology and entertainment. Typically, a news article on any topic and at any level will contain 5 vital components for success. This is what separates news-article writing from other forms of writing. 1. Headline

  11. 15 News Writing Rules for Beginning Journalism Students

    Don't use the first-person "I" in news stories. In Associated Press style, punctuation almost always goes inside quotation marks. Example: "We arrested the suspect," Detective John Jones said. (Note the placement of the comma.) News stories are generally written in the past tense. Avoid the use of too many adjectives.

  12. The Anatomy Of A News Article

    News writing is the most common form of journalistic writing. News articles make up the bulk of newspapers and online news organizations. But what actually makes a news article a news article? 1 ...

  13. LibGuides: How to Write a News Article: Writing News Style

    The reporter tries to include all sides and leave out his or her personal views or opinions, never using the word "I.". He or she tries to write so that one side or another doesn't get more coverage and reports only verified information. However, sometimes "just the facts" doesn't tell the whole story. A good reporter cares about ...

  14. LibGuides: How to Write a News Article: Article Format/Narrative

    The article begins with the lede and presents information in order of descending importance. The most important information comes first, followed by less important details. The Hourglass - builds on the inverted pyramid and combines a narrative. It delivers breaking news and tells a story. The first 4-6 paragraphs contain a summary lede and ...

  15. How to Write an Article for a Newspaper: A Step-by-Step Guide

    The final step is outlining the article. The outline should include a headline, a lead paragraph, and subheadings. The headline should be catchy and summarize the article's main point. The lead paragraph should provide background information and answer the story's 5Ws and 1H (who, what, when, where, why, and how).

  16. How to Write a News Story

    How to Write a News Story in 15 Steps The following is an excerpt from The Elements of News Writing by James W. Kershner (Pearson, 2009). This book is available for checkout at Buley Library (Call number PN 4775 .K37 2009, on the 3rd floor)

  17. Newspaper Article

    Newspaper articles are focused on sharing the essential points of a given topic with a wide readership. Newspaper articles typically follow a standard format: they address the 5Ws (who, what, where, when, and why). The article will then go into greater detail and provide the key ideas and information that the general readership should know.

  18. Writing a newspaper and newspaper features

    How to write a news article. Whether it's local, national or international, writing articles on important events is a useful skill to learn. Where to begin when you're writing the news article?

  19. How to Write a Newspaper Article for Grades 3-5

    2. Newspaper Article: Leveled Graphic Organizers. This lesson with tiered graphic organizers will help your cub reporters and front-page newshounds learn the basics of news writing. Students will write a news article that opens with a lead, includes who, what, when, where, and why, and presents details in the body of the story. 3.

  20. Writing the News: Different Formats and Their Functions

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  21. Writing non-fiction

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  22. Why writing by hand beats typing for thinking and learning

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  23. Accurate structure prediction of biomolecular interactions with

    The introduction of AlphaFold 21 has spurred a revolution in modelling the structure of proteins and their interactions, enabling a huge range of applications in protein modelling and design2-6 ...

  24. I.S. Berry left the CIA in frustration. Now her novel is racking up

    Now her spy novel is racking up awards. I.S. Berry scored rave reviews and awards for her literary debut, "The Peacock and the Sparrow," a novel mined from her time at the CIA. Ilana Berry in ...

  25. I Don't Write Like Alice Munro, but I Want to Live Like Her

    What Alice Munro Would Never Do. Ms. Heti is the author of the novels "Pure Colour," "How Should a Person Be?" and, most recently, "Alphabetical Diaries.". It is common to say "I was ...

  26. I Asked AI to Sum up Google's Guide to Writing the Best AI Prompts

    I prompted AI to summarize Google's 45-page book about how to write the best AI prompts. Here are the key takeaways. The booklet covers best practices for Google Workspace and gives examples for ...