Readers turn to newspapers to gain clear, concise and unbiased information. Because of this, there is a certain formula for writing newspaper reports that yields a highly readable text. Space is valuable in a newspaper, and because of the format it is imperative that you include all the relevant details in as few words as possible. Read on to learn some tips on writing newspaper reports.
Write an attention-getting lead, or first paragraph. Start off with one or two lines that will set the tone of the piece. Grab the readers' interest quickly and then move along into the facts.
Identify whom the story is about. Define the major players in the story. For example, if you are covering a court case, identify the defendant, the plaintiff, the judge, the attorneys and any key witnesses.
Discuss what the story is about. Move into the details of what is at stake. For the above example, you would want to discuss which dispute gave rise to the suit.
Locate where the story is relevant. This can mean where the events occurred, where the individuals in the story or from or which communities are effected. For example, with the lawsuit, the case may be heard in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania's capital, but may be about an issue that concerns the residents of Pittsburgh, Penn.
Indicate the temporal importance of the story. This can mean when an event is scheduled or how long an event will affect normal life. For the lawsuit, discuss when the hearings will take place. For a story on road construction, note when certain roads will be closed.
Highlight why the story is of interest. Up the ante by discussing the implications of the story. For example, what precedents will be set if the lawsuit concludes a certain way? Or, if you are writing about a pivotal sports match, what will the team go on to next if they win?
Relate how certain events may happen. After bringing up any possible outcomes of the story as it develops, discuss how these results may come about. For example, in a criminal case, you may want to note which key pieces of evidences need to emerge in order to convict the defendant.
The construction that places the most important information at the top of the story and works downward toward the details is called the inverted pyramid. To entice readers, make sure you have an angle to put the story into context. Consider how the players represent the average citizen or discuss possible risks or implications of certain outcomes. Include quotes to add color and character to your story.
Stay objective. Even if you feel strongly about a topic, avoid interjecting your prejudices and opinions. Your impartiality will grant you authority for future pieces. Double-check all facts. Negligence is a poor excuse for committing libel.