How to Write a Newspaper Article
An experienced journalist writes an article for a newspaper in less than half an hour, a beginner spends a whole day on this. To write an article for a newspaper, you need to have a special talent, you need to learn how to write newspaper articles and follow the five steps that help to write a professional newspaper article.
To write an article for a newspaper, you need to know a lot of information that will help you do it. If you are a journalist, then the article written by you must be reliable and verified in several sources. Well, if you just want to send your thoughts on some occasion, or write a literary text, then our article will help you here, in which we will tell you in detail what you need to know in order to write a quality article for newspapers.
Topic for the article
First of all, you need to choose the topic of the story about which you want to write an article for the newspaper. It is very important that when choosing a topic, you write about it, and not be distracted by philosophical reflections on the meaning of life and the width of the cosmos. Also, this topic must be relevant and interesting for an impressive number of readers. Here it would be useful to mention that the format for a news article is a point of no small importance. In total, there are five most common formats, which we will consider in more detail.
- The first and fairly common format is the voicing of a problem that is quite important in society, as well as methods for solving it. The main thing is to describe several ways in which it can be solved. Thus, you will raise your credibility in the eyes of the reader.
- The second format of the newspaper writings is a description of the subject, as well as detailed instructions for its operation. However, it is important to find a truly unique item, since it would be somewhat unreasonable to describe how a fork or hammer is used, and readers will probably decide that you are mocking them.
- The third format is articles that can be called “question-answer”. They most often voice the most burning questions of the public, explain the reason for their occurrence, and then give very voluminous and detailed answers to these questions. By the way, now you are reading an article of exactly this format.
- The fourth format is writing the news. This format of the article allows the expression of one’s own thoughts on the topic of cinema, music, programs, and in general everything that may be of interest to people. The main thing is not to offend anyone’s interests, and also do not express yourself harshly or rudely about what you are reviewing, as this may turn some of the readers against you.
And the last, fifth format is recommendations. You can write a list of recommendations about this or that, tell readers how to do what you do best, and also teach something.
The formats listed above are the most popular for the general public, this information will help you write an interesting article for the media. You need to start writing just such articles, then many readers will regard you as a comprehensively developed expert. Accordingly, each of your new articles will attract new readers.
Writing an article for a newspaper starts with finding an idea. An experienced journalist does not look for ideas purposefully, he, as it may seem from the outside, begins his working day with a familiar ritual – he reads the news of news agencies, analyzes letters, press releases and requests received by email, studies publications of fellow competitors, out of the corner of his eye watches world and city news (often simultaneously on several channels). Despite the external passivity, his brain is actively working and catches any deviations from the usual course of things. You can take inspiration from a few samples or examples of newspaper articles of well-known writers.
If something always happened according to one scenario, and today the scenario has changed, then something happened that influenced the development of events in this way. What happened is not obvious and not noticeable at first glance, but it changed the usual course of things, and this is a great idea for an article.
Pay attention to style, headings, expert comments. It is necessary to understand what you can write an article about in a newspaper, how information is presented so that the texts are accepted for publication. It is profitable to write on topics that do not have a permanent author in the editorial office of the publishing house.
How to choose an article title?
A good choice of title for your article can give you a better chance of more people reading your text. Remember that the title should be directly related to the text and briefly describe its content. But it should not reveal all the content in full, leave the readers to do it themselves. Try to make the title of the article intriguing, so that when reading it, you would rather open the text and read how it all ended there. Also, the title should correspond to the chosen methodology: if you are writing an article in the “question-answer” format, your title must contain the word “How”.
The same is true for other formats. Next, you should outline for yourself a rough plan, following which it will be easier for you to write an article for the magazine. Having chosen a certain topic, you should already have at least a rough plan in mind. You need to know what you will write a news paper, how to start it and how to end it. Also try to make sure that the thought does not “float” from one topic to another, as this confuses the reader and he can quickly get bored reading such a text.
When an article idea is found, the writer tests it, looking for confirmation from various sources. We need to make sure that this is not a “leak” or “stuffing” of false information by persons interested in misinforming the public and journalists. As a rule, to test an idea, you need to get three confirmations from unrelated sources that you can trust.
Having received confirmation of the found idea, you need to take a deep breath and stop for a second.
It’s good if you have an editor, because right now is the time to discuss the idea that has arisen with him. If you do not have an editor and you work alone, then you need to become your own editor. Put your sketches aside and do something else. After an hour or two, return to your idea and quickly take a critical look at it.
Analysis of the facts and drawing up a plan
Before you start drafting an essay outline, ask yourself the question: “What will be the quintessence of the article, what will it really be about”? Write down your answer in one sentence – it will help you as a guide when writing a draft and editing it, so as not to go astray.
Now that you have a canvas, sort the facts into important and unimportant.
Arrange important facts in a logical sequence, which as a result will become the outline of the article. Remember that the outline of the article may change slightly in the process of writing a draft and preparing the article.
If, when working on articles, you have to radically change the plan of the article, then it is worth taking a step back to collecting facts and once again discussing with the editor the vector of work on articles. Remember that a strong structure is the key to a successful article.
When drawing up an article plan, make sure that all related facts are grouped in one paragraph of the plan, and not scattered throughout the article – this will make it difficult to understand and analyze them.
Similarly, work with the details – they should help the reader see the big picture, and not distract him from the story.
Writing a draft
Copy your plan into paper and start “painting” each item of the plan.
That is why I myself always draw up the most detailed plan of the article – such a plan gives me the opportunity to write an article quickly, I do not experience difficulties with the logic of the story, the right words are always present in my head and I do not have a “blank slate disease”, as I begin to write from an empty document, but from a draft where the article plan was copied.
If you are short of facts as you write your article, then get them from sources you trust, but do not forget to check the information used.
If a large logical gap arises in the process of writing – the narrative hangs in the air and you yourself do not understand where to go next – consult with the editor. Perhaps it is worth going back a few steps, reviewing the facts collected and making adjustments to the outline of the article. You shouldn’t have questions that don’t have answers.
Do not mislead the reader, do not force him to do your job – otherwise, next time he will choose another publication and another journalist to get the necessary information.
When you finish writing a draft, put it aside for at least a quarter of an hour, if time permits. Go and have a cup of coffee, have a snack, and help a colleague write his article. This will help you “tear off” the draft you just wrote from yourself so that you can turn it into a great article a little later.
Edit the draft as much as time allows. Save each version so you can quickly return to it.
If time is very short, make sure your article is accurate, concise, and clear.
- One thought, one suggestion.
- Write in short sentences.
- Use verbs in the same tense.
- Avoid unnecessary details.
- Use terms only when necessary.
- Quote vivid statements.
- Give an overview of the event.
- Give analogies to complex events
- Answer all questions from readers.
- Confirm all facts used.
Before submitting, read the article aloud to check the links between paragraphs, to identify long and dissonant words and sentences that are too long. Make the final changes and submit the article for publication.
Having multiple columns provides a very versatile advertising grid, and newspapers have traditionally been in the business of selling ads. It also allows more stories to be displayed on the page at the same time (everything continues elsewhere). This is partly to get more headings for the reader, but also gives a lot more flexibility to the page layout team to get all the ads in line. When a newspaper is laid out, all the advertisements are placed first, and then the content wraps around them and, quite often, is edited to fit the available column length. The entire newspaper must have the same number of columns on each page. It is possible to reduce their number to one publication per page.
Lines of text in adjacent columns should be strictly opposite each other. An important requirement is the same number of lines in the columns, the last lines are aligned along one straight line. In addition, the removal of inter-column rulers makes it possible to more clearly highlight the most important materials of the issue, to more clearly distinguish between the main headings and sections of the newspaper. Then only delimiting and highlighting rulers are visible on the strip.
It is known that the human brain perceives information better when it sees not only text, but also an illustration or photograph attached to it. That is why, at present, various illustrations and all kinds of photographic genres in the newspaper are very often used.
A formatted photograph in a newspaper has several functions: informational, illustrative and design. The more functions of a photo work, the higher its value, otherwise, a photo is not needed.
The size of the selected illustrations should be a multiple of the H-th number of columns. It should be no more than half a page in size.
It should not be forgotten that due to the not very high quality of newsprint, small details in illustrations (especially small ones) may be distorted.
Tables and illustrations should preferably be placed between paragraphs.
Proper formatting of quotes
Start with the author’s last name. If there is a subscript for the report you wish to cite, the bibliographic reference must begin with the author’s last name. Put a comma after the last name, then add the author’s first name. End this part of the quote with a period. Enter the title of the article in quotation marks. After the author’s name, include the full title of the article, along with any subtitle.
Separate the title and subtitle (if any) with a semicolon. Use capital cases, capitalize nouns and verbs. Put a period after the end of the title, inside the citation. Print the name of the newspaper in italics. After the title of the article, indicate the newspaper in which it appeared. Even if you find the article online, use the name of the newspaper itself, not the name of the website. If the city is not included in the newspaper title, please include it in square brackets after the newspaper name. Place a comma after this part of the quote.
Write sincerely, from the heart, express your thoughts. A non-standard approach and your genuine interest guarantee you success. Study the excellent example of a newspaper article and gain experience. We hope that our tips will be useful for you!