How to Write a News Article

News is information about events that affect people, places and things. News articles can be about politics, war, business, crime or natural disasters. News articles should be factual and unbiased but also entertaining. They should be short and concise but provide an in-depth description of the event. News articles should also include a headline that is snappy and attracts attention. It should also include the five Ws of a story: who, what, where, when and why.

What makes something newsworthy varies from society to society. A man waking up, eating breakfast and going to work on a bus may not be newsworthy in one culture but it is likely to be newsworthy in another. However, what does make news is usually the impact of an event on the people involved or the amount of publicity that it receives.

Some of the most popular theories on what is newsworthy were put forward by Galtung and Ruge (1965). These are: impact, controversy, proximity, the involvement of a prominent person or the currency factor. Other factors such as a sense of urgency, the attractiveness of the subject, the degree to which it appeals to the public interest and the level of sensationalism are also considered to be important.

A person’s name and title should be used in the headline of a news article, as well as a full first and last name for the most important people involved in the story. If a full name is not available then the first initial should be used, as this can avoid confusion and jarring of tone in a story. It is also standard practice to include a photograph of the people involved in the article.

Research is essential when writing a news article. A good journalist will have a keen understanding of the timeline of an event and be able to source the five Ws of a story (who, what, where, when and why). They will also be able to build in a sense of drama to the story through quotes from sources and other media such as video footage.

A good news story will be a mix of hard and soft news. Hard news is the most important, such as political developments, wars, terrorist attacks and natural disasters. Soft news is less significant but still of interest to the audience, such as celebrity gossip or human interest stories. A good journalist will be able to strike a balance between the two and give the audience what they want. A free press is called the oxygen of democracy, as it enables citizens to hold their governments accountable for their actions. A free press can only thrive if it has an informed, engaged and critical citizenry. This can only happen if journalists are free to report on the news without fear of reprisals, prosecution or imprisonment. A free press is also necessary to maintain democracy and protect the freedoms of individuals. Without it, societies can become corrupt and oppressive.