Typically writing good news articles used to involve spending many years as a junior reporter and slowly gaining experience through trial and error, with articles being thrown back by the editor until they achieved the standard that was required. However there are certain tips that can be used if you are planning to write news articles, be it for a website or for a more traditional paper based publication. Unfortunately many journalists nowadays are becoming experts at searching Google to copy and paste articles together which have little or no original content, however with a bit of planning and a small amount of time it is possible to create something that is informative and new i.e. a news report.
Do some research.
So you have found out something has happened. Do some research on it. Has the event happened before? What was the outcome? Who are the people involved? Is there any information on what they have done in the past? Who are the experts in the subject? Who might be concerned or have an opinion? What is the context in which the event has happened? After this stage you will have the skeleton of your news report and possibly a lot of the article itself.
Think of angles.
There isn’t really a news story that can’t be viewed from different viewpoints. Someone’s freedom fighter is another’s terrorist. Was it an invasion or liberation? Be aware of this at the outset and try to be as factual as possible when gathering the facts for the article. A neutral viewpoint at this stage will help gather information. When you are writing the article think of the wording you are using and the target audience and what they would like to read.
Think of questions to ask.
The stock questions of who, what, where, when and why should become second nature. However think of some questions to get further information for your news story. How long did it take for the emergency services to arrive? Why do you think it happened? Also think of questions where the person will have to give an answer other than yes or no. These never make good quotes for a story, which leads us onto the next section.