7 Things I’ve Learnt From Writing A News Story

Writing a news story, is it as stressful as it seems?

As far as stereotypes go, journalists don’t have the best job going. They work in a very high pressured environment, with an extremely fast turn around for their work. In the public eye, they are seen as invasive and annoying.

I briefly stepped into the shoes of a journalist and wrote a story for a university assignment.

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Here are 7 valuable things that I learnt…

1) Reply rate of emails you send may be disheartening

People won’t always want to be interviewed so you have to be prepared to get rejected.

2) Backwards storytelling — an inverted pyramid structure

Forget everything you were taught in primary school about writing a story, news stories are the opposite. There’s no need to build suspense; give away the full story immediately and don’t jump around the point. Ditch the flowery vocabulary and kill as many words as possible.

3) Timeliness

As soon as you come up with a news story idea the time bomb starts ticking, and it ticks fast! You have to write the story before it’s too late or else it won’t be relevant or newsworthy.

4) Confidence is key

Being a journalist you have to be able to speak to anyone and everyone. It can be nerve-wracking, to begin with, but the more you do it, the easier it will get. I like to write a loose script for a phone call and have one in my head before conversations.

5) Legal and ethical issues

When writing a story you have to make sure you are abiding by the law and considering any ethical issues so that you don’t run into any trouble. You can get sued for serval reasons such as, defamation or invading someone’s privacy.

The IPSO regulates most UK magazines and newspapers and their code of practice underlines the rules and regulations that you must follow when writing a news story.

6) Research is time-consuming

Everything you write must be true, so it is important to check all of your sources and make sure that you’re not contributing to the spread of fake news. It may take a while but it is vital. Save the time to do thorough research, check your sources are credible and examine all your facts.

7) Audience knowledge and purpose of the story

You have to know the audience that you’re writing for and make sure the story is something of interest to them. Just because you find it interesting, doesn’t necessarily mean the readership of the newspaper will.

Also, make sure that your story has clear aims and objectives, and check up on what you’re writing to make sure you’re not getting off-topic.

Now it’s your turn!

Grab a coffee and open your laptop to see if writing is for you. Follow the below link for advice on how to write your first story.

30% perfectly poised, 30% journalism aficionado, 40% stellar writer, 100% modest. Grab a drink and join me exploring all things #sportsjournalism.