Basic Newswriting Tips

From Prof. Ksiazek‘s visit on W 09/21/11 (and the annotated pdf of his example from yahoo news.):

Audience analysis

  • Who is your audience?
  • What sources of information can I use to better understand my audience?
  • What is their prior knowledge of my topic?
  • How can I make the story accessible to a wide audience?

Story structure: The “Inverted Pyramid”

Getting started: Writing the “lead” and “nut graph”

  • 5 W’s and H – Who, What, Where, When, Why and How
  • So What? (The “hook”)
  • Tips for writing leads:
    1. Be brief
    2. Don’t bury the lead
    3. Use active voice
      • “Researchers conducted experiments…” (Active)
      • “Experiments were conducted by researchers…” (Passive)
    4. Use subject-verb-object format
    5. Balance breadth and specificity
    6. Avoid jargon, unnecessary words, and “it”


And his annotated pdf of his example from yahoo news.

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