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How to Write a News Article
Last Updated: October 31, 2023 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 2,290,362 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.
Planning Your Article
- 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?
- 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.  X Research source
- If you’ve ever heard the term “burying the lead”, that is in reference to the structure of your article.  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.
- 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.
- 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 .
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.  X Research source
- 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.
- 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 1 Not Helpful 0
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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
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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