How to write an effective news report
In the Film "The Shipping
News" Kevin Spacey plays a rookie journalist.
In this scene he listens to advice from an experienced newspaper writer.
Old Man: "Finding the
centre of your story, the beating heart of it, that's what
makes a reporter.
You have to start by making up some headlines - short, punchy, dramatic headlines.
Now have a look out there. What d'you see over there?
Rookie: "Horizon Fills With Dark Clouds."
Old Man: "Imminent Storm Threatens Village."
Rookie: "But what if no storm comes?"
Old Man: "Village Spared From Deadly Storm."
In the exercise below collect the facts then create a headline that goes to the beating heart of the story.
1. Collect the facts in rough. Keep it short. Facts only.
Answer the questions:
2. Now write a headline.
This should attract the reader's attention and summarise the main points of the story in not more than six words.
Go for the beating heart of the story.
3. Write the first paragraph.
This should expand the headline, giving the most important facts in not more than 30 words.
|A MAN who had been drinking at The Red Lion Inn was found dead next morning lying by the towpath which borders Camchester's market place|
4. Now write the rest of the story. Give more detail.
You might have a paragraph for each of the questions above (see 1)
5. The later paragraphs may give opinion, but make clear what is fact and what is opinion.
The last few paragraphs may be cut short by the sub-editor if space is short, so make sure your really important news is at the top.
| Mr Marshall's garage business
had experienced financial difficulties since he was fined for
careless driving following an incident in which he collided with
a bus in Broadwood Road.
A friend said he had been "very depressed."
* Now write your own article using these ideas.
* Find examples of real newspaper articles which answer the questions in the check list of questions in 1. and 4. above.
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