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First Steps to Journalism

Page history last edited by Ms. Edwards 12 years, 4 months ago

The News Project

Choosing a Story 

Everyone has a story.



Writing from the heart --- Leonard Pitts







How do I chose a story?

Click here.


Inverted Pyramid -- Writing a news story or news brief:


Note: Use these sections for the GAP assignment.


News story writing style is different from an essay. It's like an inverted pyramid: all the main facts are first.




Lead; Lead Examples and Rules


Lead Rules in Brief:

  1. In the first thirty (30) words tell "what," "when," and "where."  --- first sentence
  2. In the first seven (7) words tell what happened (verb).
  3. Make what happened-the verb- an action verb.
  4. If there is a "who," --
    1. tell the who with a description if no one would recognize the name (no name)
    2. tell the name of the who if the name is recognizable by the readers
      1. who -- an elderly Bismarck man
      2. who is famous/recognized -- basketball star Michael Jordan
  5. Include "how" and "why" if short; otherwise tell it later in the story.
  6. If the facts are facts -- write them.  If the facts are disputable or questionable, cite the source.
    1. Ann Hat, spokesperson for Michael Jordan, said...



Tips on Writing the News Story:

  • Never use “I” or “we” in a hard news story.
  • Keep sentences short.
  • Write each paragraph as a single thought. A paragraph may be one sentence long.
  • Try not to start every sentence with the word The.
  • Be sure of your facts, the rule of thumb is when in doubt, leave it out.
  • Check the spellings of names and places.
  • Always use a person’s full name (Joe Smith) the first time you mention him or her. On the second reference you can write Mr. Smith or just Smith.
  • Use quotes in the story.
  • Be fair and don’t just tell one side of a story. Make an effort to present other views. [1]










How do I interview?




  1. http://www.newspapersineducation.ca/eng/level_7to9/lesson4/lesson4_eng.html

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