Writing Tips

  • An inverted pyramid story has a summary news lede that captures the essence of the story and covers key elements of five Ws and the H.
  • The following paragraphs supplement the lede.
  • Those paragraphs typically give information in order of declining importance.
  • Key background.
  • Supporting quotes.
  • Paragraphs are typically one or two simple sentences.
  • Ending can either be the least important of the information included (classic inverted pyramid), or – better – can can be a ‘kicker’ (martini glass version).
  • Ultimately, story covers all of the five Ws and the H.
  • SOME TIPS IN WRITING A NEWS STORY:
    • Always write in past tense; don’t shift tenses in a story.
    • Be aware of the words you choose. Avoid loaded words or those that are not supported by the facts.
    • In choosing words, be aware of how people typically use those words.
    • Never make assumptions. Write only that which is supported by the information available.
    • ALWAYS double check facts to ensure you got it right.
    • FOLLOW SUBJECT-VERB CADENCE: No more ‘’said officials” unless there is a dependent clause.

SOME TIPS IN WRITING A NEWS STORY:

  • ALWAYS run spelling and grammar checks to ensure your work is clean.
  • Don’t assume spell check is always right – it is not. For example, the name “Russell Hubbard” will sometimes offer up the “correct” spelling of “Russell Rhubarb.”
  • But don’t rely entirely on spell check. It often can’t distinguish between “from” and “form.”
  • ALWAYS check for proper use of AP Style. In this course, you will have no reason to deviate from AP Style.

SOME TIPS IN WRITING A NEWS STORY:

  • Always re-read your notes or the information provided to ensure you know what’s there.
  • THINK CRITICALLY! Always ask yourself: What information am I missing? Are there key facts not available to me?
  • Always ask yourself: Do the facts I have support my premise for the story?

SOME TIPS IN WRITING A NEWS STORY:

  • Don’t allow yourself to take anything further than what is supported by the information you have. ASSUME NOTHING.
  • Never allow your opinion into a story. If it isn’t supported by reporting and attributable, it does not belong.
  • Be careful to avoid creating an impression that does not fit with the facts.
  • ASK YOURSELF: Will the reader see this as I intend it, or could this be read in a way I do not intend?

SOME TIPS IN WRITING A NEWS STORY:

  • Once you’re done, set aside the item – for a couple of minutes or a couple of hours, depending on your deadline. Walk away.
  • Then review your notes/information.
  • Then re-read your story to see if it is as clear, precise and concise as it can be. Usually, you’ll find you can make it better.

SOME TIPS IN WRITING A NEWS STORY:

Good writing comes from rewriting.

 

WRAPPING UP A STORY

REVIEWING YOUR ASSIGNMENT

  • Facts are vital. Accuracy is everything.
  • Spelling must be correct.
  • Grammar cannot be compromised.
  • AP Style must be followed.
  • Words must be chosen carefully.
  • Writing must follow an inverted pyramid form of media writing.
  • You must be accurate, clear, concise and precise.
  • Avoid being repetitive, especially in a short item.

There isn’t one perfect way to do any story.

 But…

THERE ARE DEFINITE WRONG WAYS!

TENETS OF GOOD NEWS WRITING:

Accuracy.

Fairness.

Clarity.

Precision.

Brevity.

KEEP THESE TENETS IN MIND AND YOU’LL BE FINE.