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Basic newswriting: Learn how to originate, research and write breaking-news stories

Syllabus for semester-long course on the fundamentals of covering and writing the news, including how identify a story, gather information efficiently and place it in a meaningful context.

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by The Journalist's Resource, The Journalist's Resource January 22, 2010

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This course introduces tomorrow’s journalists to the fundamentals of covering and writing news. Mastering these skills is no simple task. In an Internet age of instantaneous access, demand for high-quality accounts of fast-breaking news has never been greater. Nor has the temptation to cut corners and deliver something less.

To resist this temptation, reporters must acquire skills to identify a story and its essential elements, gather information efficiently, place it in a meaningful context, and write concise and compelling accounts, sometimes at breathtaking speed. The readings, discussions, exercises and assignments of this course are designed to help students acquire such skills and understand how to exercise them wisely.

Photo: Memorial to four slain Lakewood, Wash., police officers. The Seattle Times earned the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting for their coverage of the crime.

Course objective

To give students the background and skills needed to originate, research, focus and craft clear, compelling and contextual accounts of breaking news in a deadline environment.

Learning objectives

  • Build an understanding of the role news plays in American democracy.
  • Discuss basic journalistic principles such as accuracy, integrity and fairness.
  • Evaluate how practices such as rooting and stereotyping can undermine them.
  • Analyze what kinds of information make news and why.
  • Evaluate the elements of news by deconstructing award-winning stories.
  • Evaluate the sources and resources from which news content is drawn.
  • Analyze how information is attributed, quoted and paraphrased in news.
  • Gain competence in focusing a story’s dominant theme in a single sentence.
  • Introduce the structure, style and language of basic news writing.
  • Gain competence in building basic news stories, from lead through their close.
  • Gain confidence and competence in writing under deadline pressure.
  • Practice how to identify, background and contact appropriate sources.
  • Discuss and apply the skills needed to interview effectively.
  • Analyze data and how it is used and abused in news coverage.
  • Review basic math skills needed to evaluate and use statistics in news.
  • Report and write basic stories about news events on deadline.

Suggested reading

  • A standard textbook of the instructor’s choosing.
  • America ‘s Best Newspaper Writing , Roy Peter Clark and Christopher Scanlan, Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2006
  • The Elements of Journalism , Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel, Three Rivers Press, 2001.
  • Talk Straight, Listen Carefully: The Art of Interviewing , M.L. Stein and Susan E. Paterno, Iowa State University Press, 2001
  • Math Tools for Journalists , Kathleen Woodruff Wickham, Marion Street Press, Inc., 2002
  • On Writing Well: 30th Anniversary Edition , William Zinsser, Collins, 2006
  • Associated Press Stylebook 2009 , Associated Press, Basic Books, 2009

Weekly schedule and exercises (13-week course)

We encourage faculty to assign students to read on their own Kovach and Rosentiel’s The Elements of Journalism in its entirety during the early phase of the course. Only a few chapters of their book are explicitly assigned for the class sessions listed below.

The assumption for this syllabus is that the class meets twice weekly.

Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10 | Week 11 | Week 12 | Weeks 13/14

Week 1: Why journalism matters

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Class 1: The role of journalism in society

The word journalism elicits considerable confusion in contemporary American society. Citizens often confuse the role of reporting with that of advocacy. They mistake those who promote opinions or push their personal agendas on cable news or in the blogosphere for those who report. But reporters play a different role: that of gatherer of evidence, unbiased and unvarnished, placed in a context of past events that gives current events weight beyond the ways opinion leaders or propagandists might misinterpret or exploit them.

This session’s discussion will focus on the traditional role of journalism eloquently summarized by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel in The Elements of Journalism . The class will then examine whether they believe that the journalist’s role has changed or needs to change in today’s news environment. What is the reporter’s role in contemporary society? Is objectivity, sometimes called fairness, an antiquated concept or an essential one, as the authors argue, for maintaining a democratic society? How has the term been subverted? What are the reporter’s fundamental responsibilities? This discussion will touch on such fundamental issues as journalists’ obligation to the truth, their loyalty to the citizens who are their audience and the demands of their discipline to verify information, act independently, provide a forum for public discourse and seek not only competing viewpoints but carefully vetted facts that help establish which viewpoints are grounded in evidence.

Reading: Kovach and Rosenstiel, Chapter 1, and relevant pages of the course text

Assignments:

  • Students should compare the news reporting on a breaking political story in The Wall Street Journal , considered editorially conservative, and The New York Times , considered editorially liberal. They should write a two-page memo that considers the following questions: Do the stories emphasize the same information? Does either story appear to slant the news toward a particular perspective? How? Do the stories support the notion of fact-based journalism and unbiased reporting or do they appear to infuse opinion into news? Students should provide specific examples that support their conclusions.
  • Students should look for an example of reporting in any medium in which reporters appear have compromised the notion of fairness to intentionally or inadvertently espouse a point of view. What impact did the incorporation of such material have on the story? Did its inclusion have any effect on the reader’s perception of the story?

Class 2: Objectivity, fairness and contemporary confusion about both

In his book Discovering the News , Michael Schudson traced the roots of objectivity to the era following World War I and a desire by journalists to guard against the rapid growth of public relations practitioners intent on spinning the news. Objectivity was, and remains, an ideal, a method for guarding against spin and personal bias by examining all sides of a story and testing claims through a process of evidentiary verification. Practiced well, it attempts to find where something approaching truth lies in a sea of conflicting views. Today, objectivity often is mistaken for tit-for-tat journalism, in which the reporters only responsibility is to give equal weight to the conflicting views of different parties without regard for which, if any, are saying something approximating truth. This definition cedes the journalist’s responsibility to seek and verify evidence that informs the citizenry.

Focusing on the “Journalism of Verification” chapter in The Elements of Journalism , this class will review the evolution and transformation of concepts of objectivity and fairness and, using the homework assignment, consider how objectivity is being practiced and sometimes skewed in the contemporary new media.

Reading: Kovach and Rosenstiel, Chapter 4, and relevant pages of the course text.

Assignment: Students should evaluate stories on the front page and metro front of their daily newspaper. In a two-page memo, they should describe what elements of news judgment made the stories worthy of significant coverage and play. Finally, they should analyze whether, based on what else is in the paper, they believe the editors reached the right decision.

Week 2: Where news comes from

Class 1: News judgment

When editors sit down together to choose the top stories, they use experience and intuition. The beginner journalist, however, can acquire a sense of news judgment by evaluating news decisions through the filter of a variety of factors that influence news play. These factors range from traditional measures such as when the story took place and how close it was to the local readership area to more contemporary ones, such as the story’s educational value.

Using the assignment and the reading, students should evaluate what kinds of information make for interesting news stories and why.

In this session, instructors might consider discussing the layers of news from the simplest breaking news event to the purely enterprise investigative story.

Assignment: Students should read and deconstruct coverage of a major news event. One excellent source for quality examples is the site of the Pulitzer Prizes , which has a category for breaking news reporting. All students should read the same article (assigned by the instructor), and write a two- or three-page memo that describes how the story is organized, what information it contains and what sources of information it uses, both human and digital. Among the questions they should ask are:

  • Does the first (or lead) paragraph summarize the dominant point?
  • What specific information does the lead include?
  • What does it leave out?
  • How do the second and third paragraphs relate to the first paragraph and the information it contains? Do they give unrelated information, information that provides further details about what’s established in the lead paragraph or both?
  • Does the story at any time place the news into a broader context of similar events or past events? If so, when and how?
  • What information in the story is attributed , specifically tied to an individual or to documentary information from which it was taken? What information is not attributed? Where does the information appear in the sentence? Give examples of some of the ways the sources of information are identified? Give examples of the verbs of attribution that are chosen.
  • Where and how often in the story are people quoted, their exact words placed in quotation marks? What kind of information tends to be quoted — basic facts or more colorful commentary? What information that’s attributed is paraphrased , summing up what someone said but not in their exact words.
  • How is the story organized — by theme, by geography, by chronology (time) or by some other means?
  • What human sources are used in the story? Are some authorities? Are some experts? Are some ordinary people affected by the event? Who are some of the people in each category? What do they contribute to the story? Does the reporter (or reporters) rely on a single source or a wide range? Why do you think that’s the case?
  • What specific facts and details make the story more vivid to you? How do you think the reporter was able to gather those details?
  • What documents (paper or digital) are detailed in the story? Do they lend authority to the story? Why or why not?
  • Is any specific data (numbers, statistics) used in the story? What does it lend to the story? Would you be satisfied substituting words such as “many” or “few” for the specific numbers and statistics used? Why or why not?

Class 2: Deconstructing the story

By carefully deconstructing major news stories, students will begin to internalize some of the major principles of this course, from crafting and supporting the lead of a story to spreading a wide and authoritative net for information. This class will focus on the lessons of a Pulitzer Prize winner.

Reading: Clark/Scanlan, Pages 287-294

Assignment: Writers typically draft a focus statement after conceiving an idea and conducting preliminary research or reporting. This focus statement helps to set the direction of reporting and writing. Sometimes reporting dictates a change of direction. But the statement itself keeps the reporter from getting off course. Focus statements typically are 50 words or less and summarize the story’s central point. They work best when driven by a strong, active verb and written after preliminary reporting.

  • Students should write a focus statement that encapsulates the news of the Pulitzer Prize winning reporting the class critiqued.

Week 3: Finding the focus, building the lead

Class 1: News writing as a process

Student reporters often conceive of writing as something that begins only after all their reporting is finished. Such an approach often leaves gaps in information and leads the reporter to search broadly instead of with targeted depth. The best reporters begin thinking about story the minute they get an assignment. The approach they envision for telling the story informs their choice of whom they seek interviews with and what information they gather. This class will introduce students to writing as a process that begins with story concept and continues through initial research, focus, reporting, organizing and outlining, drafting and revising.

During this session, the class will review the focus statements written for homework in small breakout groups and then as a class. Professors are encouraged to draft and hand out a mock or real press release or hold a mock press conference from which students can draft a focus statement.

Reading: Zinsser, pages 1-45, Clark/Scanlan, pages 294-302, and relevant pages of the course text

Class 2: The language of news

Newswriting has its own sentence structure and syntax. Most sentences branch rightward, following a pattern of subject/active verb/object. Reporters choose simple, familiar words. They write spare, concise sentences. They try to make a single point in each. But journalistic writing is specific and concrete. While reporters generally avoid formal or fancy word choices and complex sentence structures, they do not write in generalities. They convey information. Each sentence builds on what came before. This class will center on the language of news, evaluating the language in selections from America’s Best Newspaper Writing , local newspapers or the Pulitzers.

Reading: Relevant pages of the course text

Assignment: Students should choose a traditional news lead they like and one they do not like from a local or national newspaper. In a one- or two-page memo, they should print the leads, summarize the stories and evaluate why they believe the leads were effective or not.

Week 4: Crafting the first sentence

Class 1: The lead

No sentence counts more than a story’s first sentence. In most direct news stories, it stands alone as the story’s lead. It must summarize the news, establish the storyline, convey specific information and do all this simply and succinctly. Readers confused or bored by the lead read no further. It takes practice to craft clear, concise and conversational leads. This week will be devoted to that practice.

Students should discuss the assigned leads in groups of three or four, with each group choosing one lead to read to the entire class. The class should then discuss the elements of effective leads (active voice; active verb; single, dominant theme; simple sentences) and write leads in practice exercises.

Assignment: Have students revise the leads they wrote in class and craft a second lead from fact patterns.

Class 2: The lead continued

Some leads snap or entice instead of summarize. When the news is neither urgent nor earnest, these can work well. Though this class will introduce students to other kinds of leads, instructors should continue to emphasize traditional leads, typically found atop breaking news stories.

Class time should largely be devoted to writing traditional news leads under a 15-minute deadline pressure. Students should then be encouraged to read their own leads aloud and critique classmates’ leads. At least one such exercise might focus on students writing a traditional lead and a less traditional lead from the same information.

Assignment: Students should find a political or international story that includes various types (direct and indirect) and levels (on-the-record, not for attribution and deep background) of attribution. They should write a one- or two-page memo describing and evaluating the attribution. Did the reporter make clear the affiliation of those who expressed opinions? Is information attributed to specific people by name? Are anonymous figures given the opportunity to criticize others by name? Is that fair?

Week 5: Establishing the credibility of news

Class 1: Attribution

All news is based on information, painstakingly gathered, verified and checked again. Even so, “truth” is an elusive concept. What reporters cobble together instead are facts and assertions drawn from interviews and documentary evidence.

To lend authority to this information and tell readers from where it comes, reporters attribute all information that is not established fact. It is neither necessary, for example, to attribute that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was first elected president in 1932 nor that he was elected four times. On the other hand, it would be necessary to attribute, at least indirectly, the claim that he was one of America’s best presidents. Why? Because that assertion is a matter of opinion.

In this session, students should learn about different levels of attribution, where attribution is best placed in a sentence, and why it can be crucial for the protection of the accused, the credibility of reporters and the authoritativeness of the story.

Assignment: Working from a fact pattern, students should write a lead that demands attribution.

Class 2: Quoting and paraphrasing

“Great quote,” ranks closely behind “great lead” in the pecking order of journalistic praise. Reporters listen for great quotes as intensely as piano tuners listen for the perfect pitch of middle C. But what makes a great quote? And when should reporters paraphrase instead?

This class should cover a range of issues surrounding the quoted word from what it is used to convey (color and emotion, not basic information) to how frequently quotes should be used and how long they should run on. Other issues include the use and abuse of partial quotes, when a quote is not a quote, and how to deal with rambling and ungrammatical subjects.

As an exercise, students might either interview the instructor or a classmate about an exciting personal experience. After their interviews, they should review their notes choose what they consider the three best quotes to include a story on the subject. They should then discuss why they chose them.

Assignment: After completing the reading, students should analyze a summary news story no more than 15 paragraphs long. In a two- or three-page memo, they should reprint the story and then evaluate whether the lead summarizes the news, whether the subsequent paragraphs elaborate on or “support” the lead, whether the story has a lead quote, whether it attributes effectively, whether it provides any context for the news and whether and how it incorporates secondary themes.

Week 6: The building blocks of basic stories

Class 1: Supporting the lead

Unlike stories told around a campfire or dinner table, news stories front load information. Such a structure delivers the most important information first and the least important last. If a news lead summarizes, the subsequent few paragraphs support or elaborate by providing details the lead may have merely suggested. So, for example, a story might lead with news that a 27-year-old unemployed chef has been arrested on charges of robbing the desk clerk of an upscale hotel near closing time. The second paragraph would “support” this lead with detail. It would name the arrested chef, identify the hotel and its address, elaborate on the charges and, perhaps, say exactly when the robbery took place and how. (It would not immediately name the desk clerk; too many specifics at once clutter the story.)

Wire service stories use a standard structure in building their stories. First comes the lead sentence. Then comes a sentence or two of lead support. Then comes a lead quote — spoken words that reinforce the story’s direction, emphasize the main theme and add color. During this class students should practice writing the lead through the lead quote on deadline. They should then read assignments aloud for critique by classmates and the professor.

Assignment: Using a fact pattern assigned by the instructor or taken from a text, students should write a story from the lead through the lead quote. They should determine whether the story needs context to support the lead and, if so, include it.

Class 2: When context matters

Sometimes a story’s importance rests on what came before. If one fancy restaurant closes its doors in the face of the faltering economy, it may warrant a few paragraphs mention. If it’s the fourth restaurant to close on the same block in the last two weeks, that’s likely front-page news. If two other restaurants closed last year, that might be worth noting in the story’s last sentence. It is far less important. Patterns provide context and, when significant, generally are mentioned either as part of the lead or in the support paragraph that immediately follows. This class will look at the difference between context — information needed near the top of a story to establish its significance as part of a broader pattern, and background — information that gives historical perspective but doesn’t define the news at hand.

Assignment: The course to this point has focused on writing the news. But reporters, of course, usually can’t write until they’ve reported. This typically starts with background research to establish what has come before, what hasn’t been covered well and who speaks with authority on an issue. Using databases such as Lexis/Nexis, students should background or read specific articles about an issue in science or policy that either is highlighted in the Policy Areas section of Journalist’s Resource website or is currently being researched on your campus. They should engage in this assignment knowing that a new development on the topic will be brought to light when they arrive at the next class.

Week 7: The reporter at work

Class 1: Research

Discuss the homework assignment. Where do reporters look to background an issue? How do they find documents, sources and resources that enable them to gather good information or identify key people who can help provide it? After the discussion, students should be given a study from the Policy Areas section of Journalist’s Resource website related to the subject they’ve been asked to explore.

The instructor should use this study to evaluate the nature structure of government/scientific reports. After giving students 15 minutes to scan the report, ask students to identify its most newsworthy point. Discuss what context might be needed to write a story about the study or report. Discuss what concepts or language students are having difficulty understanding.

Reading: Clark, Scanlan, pages 305-313, and relevant pages of the course text

Assignment: Students should (a) write a lead for a story based exclusively on the report (b) do additional background work related to the study in preparation for writing a full story on deadline. (c) translate at least one term used in the study that is not familiar to a lay audience.

Class 2: Writing the basic story on deadline

This class should begin with a discussion of the challenges of translating jargon and the importance of such translation in news reporting. Reporters translate by substituting a simple definition or, generally with the help of experts, comparing the unfamiliar to the familiar through use of analogy.

The remainder of the class should be devoted to writing a 15- to 20-line news report, based on the study, background research and, if one is available, a press release.

Reading: Pages 1-47 of Stein/Paterno, and relevant pages of the course text

Assignment: Prepare a list of questions that you would ask either the lead author of the study you wrote about on deadline or an expert who might offer an outside perspective.

Week 8: Effective interviewing

Class 1: Preparing and getting the interview

Successful interviews build from strong preparation. Reporters need to identify the right interview subjects, know what they’ve said before, interview them in a setting that makes them comfortable and ask questions that elicit interesting answers. Each step requires thought.

The professor should begin this class by critiquing some of the questions students drew up for homework. Are they open-ended or close-ended? Do they push beyond the obvious? Do they seek specific examples that explain the importance of the research or its applications? Do they probe the study’s potential weaknesses? Do they explore what directions the researcher might take next?

Discuss the readings and what steps reporters can take to background for an interview, track down a subject and prepare and rehearse questions in advance.

Reading: Stein/Paterno, pages 47-146, and relevant pages of the course text

Assignment: Students should prepare to interview their professor about his or her approach to and philosophy of teaching. Before crafting their questions, the students should background the instructor’s syllabi, public course evaluations and any pertinent writings.

Class 2: The interview and its aftermath

The interview, says Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jacqui Banaszynski, is a dance which the reporter leads but does so to music the interview subject chooses. Though reporters prepare and rehearse their interviews, they should never read the questions they’ve considered in advance and always be prepared to change directions. To hear the subject’s music, reporters must be more focused on the answers than their next question. Good listeners make good interviewers — good listeners, that is, who don’t forget that it is also their responsibility to also lead.

Divide the class. As a team, five students should interview the professor about his/her approach to teaching. Each of these five should build on the focus and question of the previous questioner. The rest of the class should critique the questions, their clarity and their focus. Are the questioners listening? Are they maintaining control? Are they following up? The class also should discuss the reading, paying particularly close attention to the dynamics of an interview, the pace of questions, the nature of questions, its close and the reporter’s responsibility once an interview ends.

Assignment: Students should be assigned to small groups and asked to critique the news stories classmates wrote on deadline during the previous class.

Week 9: Building the story

Class 1: Critiquing the story

The instructor should separate students into groups of two or three and tell them to read their news stories to one another aloud. After each reading, the listeners should discuss what they liked and struggled with as the story audience. The reader in each case should reflect on what he or she learned from the process of reading the story aloud.

The instructor then should distribute one or two of the class stories that provide good and bad examples of story structure, information selection, content, organization and writing. These should be critiqued as a class.

Assignment: Students, working in teams, should develop an angle for a news follow to the study or report they covered on deadline. Each team should write a focus statement for the story it is proposing.

Class 2: Following the news

The instructor should lead a discussion about how reporters “enterprise,” or find original angles or approaches, by looking to the corners of news, identifying patterns of news, establishing who is affected by news, investigating the “why” of news, and examining what comes next.

Students should be asked to discuss the ideas they’ve developed to follow the news story. These can be assigned as longer-term team final projects for the semester. As part of this discussion, the instructor can help students map their next steps.

Reading: Wickham, Chapters 1-4 and 7, and relevant pages of the course text

Assignment: Students should find a news report that uses data to support or develop its main point. They should consider what and how much data is used, whether it is clear, whether it’s cluttered and whether it answers their questions. They should bring the article and a brief memo analyzing it to class.

Week 10: Making sense of data and statistics

Class 1: Basic math and the journalist’s job

Many reporters don’t like math. But in their jobs, it is everywhere. Reporters must interpret political polls, calculate percentage change in everything from property taxes to real estate values, make sense of municipal bids and municipal budgets, and divine data in government reports.

First discuss some of the examples of good and bad use of data that students found in their homework. Then, using examples from Journalist’s Resource website, discuss good and poor use of data in news reporting. (Reporters, for example, should not overwhelm readers with paragraphs stuffed with statistics.) Finally lead students through some of the basic skills sets outlined in Wickham’s book, using her exercises to practice everything from calculating percentage change to interpreting polls.

Assignment: Give students a report or study linked to the Journalist’s Resource website that requires some degree of statistical evaluation or interpretation. Have students read the report and compile a list of questions they would ask to help them understand and interpret this data.

Class 2: The use and abuse of statistics

Discuss the students’ questions. Then evaluate one or more articles drawn from the report they’ve analyzed that attempt to make sense of the data in the study. Discuss what these articles do well and what they do poorly.

Reading: Zinsser, Chapter 13, “Macabre Reminder: The Corpse on Union Street,” Dan Barry, The New York Times

Week 11: The reporter as observer

Class 1: Using the senses

Veteran reporters covering an event don’t only return with facts, quotes and documents that support them. They fill their notebooks with details that capture what they’ve witnessed. They use all their senses, listening for telling snippets of conversation and dialogue, watching for images, details and actions that help bring readers to the scene. Details that develop character and place breathe vitality into news. But description for description’s sake merely clutters and obscures the news. Using the senses takes practice.

The class should deconstruct “Macabre Reminder: The Corpse on Union Street,” a remarkable journey around New Orleans a few days after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in 2005. The story starts with one corpse, left to rot on a once-busy street and then pans the city as a camera might. The dead body serves as a metaphor for the rotting city, largely abandoned and without order.

Assignment: This is an exercise in observation. Students may not ask questions. Their task is to observe, listen and describe a short scene, a serendipitous vignette of day-to-day life. They should take up a perch in a lively location of their choosing — a student dining hall or gym, a street corner, a pool hall or bus stop or beauty salon, to name a few — wait and watch. When a small scene unfolds, one with beginning, middle and end, students should record it. They then should write a brief story describing the scene that unfolded, taking care to leave themselves and their opinions out of the story. This is pure observation, designed to build the tools of observation and description. These stories should be no longer than 200 words.

Class 2: Sharpening the story

Students should read their observation pieces aloud to a classmate. Both students should consider these questions: Do the words describe or characterize? Which words show and which words tell? What words are extraneous? Does the piece convey character through action? Does it have a clear beginning, middle and end? Students then should revise, shortening the original scene to no longer than 150 words. After the revision, the instructor should critique some of the students’ efforts.

Assignment: Using campus, governmental or media calendars, students should identify, background and prepare to cover a speech, press conference or other news event, preferably on a topic related to one of the research-based areas covered in the Policy Areas section of Journalist’s Resource website. Students should write a focus statement (50 words or less) for their story and draw up a list of some of the questions they intend to ask.

Week 12: Reporting on deadline

Class 1: Coaching the story

Meetings, press conferences and speeches serve as a staple for much news reporting. Reporters should arrive at such events knowledgeable about the key players, their past positions or research, and the issues these sources are likely discuss. Reporters can discover this information in various ways. They can research topic and speaker online and in journalistic databases, peruse past correspondence sent to public offices, and review the writings and statements of key speakers with the help of their assistants or secretaries.

In this class, the instructor should discuss the nature of event coverage, review students’ focus statements and questions, and offer suggestions about how they cover the events.

Assignment: Cover the event proposed in the class above and draft a 600-word story, double-spaced, based on its news and any context needed to understand it.

Class 2: Critiquing and revising the story

Students should exchange story drafts and suggest changes. After students revise, the instructor should lead a discussion about the challenges of reporting and writing live on deadline. These likely will include issues of access and understanding and challenges of writing around and through gaps of information.

Weeks 13/14: Coaching the final project

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The final week or two of the class is reserved for drill in areas needing further development and for coaching students through the final reporting, drafting and revision of the enterprise stories off the study or report they covered in class.

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How to Write a News Story

Newspaper article outline, how to write a news story in 15 steps.

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The Purdue Owl : Journalism and Journalistic Writing: Introduction

From Scholastic: Writing a newspaper article

Article outline

I. Lead sentence

Grab and hook your reader right away.

II. Introduction

Which facts and figures will ground your story? You have to tell your readers where and when this story is happening.

III. Opening quotation 

What will give the reader a sense of the people involved and what they are thinking?

IV. Main body

What is at the heart of your story?

V. Closing quotation

Find something that sums the article up in a few words.

VI. Conclusion  (optional—the closing quote may do the job)

The following is an excerpt from The Elements of News Writing by James W. Kershner (Pearson, 2009).  This book is available for checkout at Buley Library (Call number PN 4775 .K37 2009, on the 3rd floor)

1.       Select a newsworthy story. Your goal is to give a timely account of a recent, interesting, and significant event or development.

2.       Think about your goals and objectives in writing the story. What will the readers want and need to know about the subject? How can you best tell the story?

3.       Find out who can provide the most accurate information about the subject and how to contact that person. Find out what other sources you can use to obtain relevant information.

4.       Do your homework. Do research so that you have a basic understanding of the situation before interviewing anyone about it. Check clips of stories already written on the subject.

5.       Prepare a list of questions to ask about the story.

6.       Arrange to get the needed information. This may mean scheduling an interview or locating the appropriate people to interview.

7.       Interview the source and take notes. Ask your prepared questions, plus other questions that come up in the course of the conversation. Ask the source to suggest other sources. Ask if you may call the source back for further questions later.

8.       Interview second and third sources, ask follow-up questions, and do further research until you have a understanding of the story.

9.       Ask yourself, “What’s the story?” and “What’s the point?” Be sure you have a clear focus in your mind before you start writing. Rough out a lead in your head.

10.   Make a written outline or plan of your story.

11.   Write your first draft following your plan, but changing it as necessary.

12.   Read through your first draft looking for content problems, holes, or weak spots, and revise it as necessary. Delete extra words, sentences, and paragraphs. Make every word count.

13.   Read your second draft aloud, listening for problems in logic or syntax.

14.   Copyedit your story, checking carefully for spelling, punctuation, grammar, and style problems.

15.   Deliver your finished story to the editor before deadline.

Kershner, J.W. (2009). The Elements of News Writing. Boston, MA: Pearson Education.

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Dynamics of News Reporting and Writing: Foundational Skills for a New Age

Student resources, news writing assignments.

Assignment 1:  What grabs you?

Description of Assignment: Basic news writing focuses on figuring out what is important and then giving that information to your readers. It sounds simple, and with a lot of practice, it can be. Problems tend to crop up when writers try to do too much, ignore some basic tenets of journalism and generally don’t think about the audience before writing.

Here's your chance to rate your local newspaper or online news site. Find today’s edition, set aside 40 min, and read it. Just read. Then, make a list of stories, then rank them from the story that interests you the most to that which interests you the least.

Consider what it is about each story that caught your fancy. Was it the writing style? Was it the subject matter? Did the story tell you something you didn’t know? Did it answer your questions?

And consider each story that you didn’t like. Was it poorly written or organized? Did it contain errors? Was it useless to you? Did it leave you with more questions than when you started reading it? Could you even get through it?

Be prepared to discuss these findings in class. Understanding what you value in a story will make it easier for you to write and report your own stories.

Public Domain Source Material: Your daily newspaper.

Assignment 2: What happened at work today?

Description of Assignment: The core of any good news story is the lead, which is where you try to give people as much of the most important information as possible. A good place to start is the 5W’s and 1H: who, what, when, where, why and how.

Now apply this to any variation of the age-old question asked in every household: How was your day? What happened at work today? What did you study at school today?

Think about starting with a core, and then add layer after layer of information as you move outward. Answer each of the 5W’s and 1H. Then start with a simple “noun-verb-object” structure that answers the question “Who did what to whom/what?”

Here’s an example: The owner and head chef of the restaurant where you work part-time as a server learned today that he was nominated for a national award. Even though it did not involve you directly, it was still one of the most exciting days you have experienced on the job, and you want to share it. So, break it down:

Who: The owner and head chef of Dante’s Café, Dante Gardot

What: Nominated for the prestigious “Outstanding Chef” award by the James Beard Foundation

When: About 3:05 p.m. today

Where: In the kitchen at Dante’s Café, in downtown Hallsville.

Why: For setting high culinary standards and serving as a positive example for other food professionals.

How: He learned by a text message from his wife that he was nominated when the list was published online at 3 p.m.

What are the most important elements of the 5W’s and 1H? In this case, it’s the “who” and the “what,” followed by the “where” and “why.”

Now, write it out: Dante Gardot, head chef at Dante’s Café, was nominated today for the prestigious “Outstanding Chef” award from the James Beard Foundation for setting high culinary standards and serving as a positive example for other food professionals.

Try it out with something that happened during your workday.

Assignment 3: Spoiler alert! Learning the inverted pyramid.

Description of Assignment: This drill will ask students to think of their three favorite movies or novels, and report them as news stories using summary leads and an inverted pyramid style. Please write at least four paragraphs per film or book. Don’t worry about giving away the ending! News stories generally require the writer to give up the goods at the start of the story. That way, the reader doesn’t get bored and miss the point of the story before moving on to the next one.

For example, here is a news story of Charlotte’s Web , by E.B. White:

Charlotte A. Cavatica, a barn spider who helped save Wilbur the pig from slaughter by extolling him with English words spun into her web at Zuckerman’s farm, died Friday at the county fair. She was 1.

Charlotte is survived by Wilbur, who rose to regional fame thanks to his dear friend’s cunning, and dozens of babies who emerged from her egg sac thereafter and departed before Wilbur could name them. The spiderlings who stayed with Wilbur were named Joy, Nellie, and Aranea.

Assignment 4: Birthday assignment

Description of Assignment: You may not remember it, but the day of your birth was very special for your parents. Interview your mother or father (or both) and ask them to recall what they experienced on the day you came into the world. At what time did your mother go into labor? Was it a natural birth, or did she have a C-section?

Shape their answers into the 5Ws and 1H format, and write a story reporting the events of your own birthday, using the inverted pyramid structure, as if it had been published in a family newsletter the day after your birth.

Assignment 5: Take note

Description of Assignment: Note-taking is an essential skill in reporting. There is no such thing (yet) as real-time transcription of every conversation. Even if there were, it would only be a record of what was said. It would not tell you anything about the way it was said. It would not remind you of the insights you had during the conversation.

Your notes represent your understanding of the material you are covering. Yes, it is important to get some colorful quotes, but it’s also important to make a record of the surroundings, what you see, feel, hear, and understand.

Every writer must develop their own note-taking style. Try writing as concisely--and as fast--as you can while still capturing the information you will understand later. Take time after an interview or event to review your notes and improve them while the memories are fresh in your mind.

Your assignment: Watch tonight’s evening news and take notes. Watch the first 15 min of the broadcast, just once through, without pausing.

Then recreate the broadcast from your notes--with direct quotes, nuance, and your own writing style. Describe the clips in as vivid detail as you can muster. Remember to get accurate spellings of names.

Public Domain Source Material: Watch live on TV or choose a past newscast:

If you are watching from 8 to 11 p.m. EDT, check out the new national broadcast on WGN America: NewsNation, which promises opinion-free reporting.

NewsNation: https://www.newsnationnow.com/news-nation-live/

NBC News: https://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/video/nightly-news-full-broadcast-september-4th-91163205732

CBS News: https://www.cbsnews.com/video/090420-cbs-evening-news/

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A Simple Guide on How to Write a News Article

Table of Contents

When compared to other types of writing, composing a news article is more different. Usually, a news article will report on current events that occur locally, nationally, or internationally. Even for school magazines and assignments, students will be asked to publish news articles on events that happen within the campus. Especially, when writing a news article, you will have to focus on the target audience and concisely present the relevant information. In case, you are unsure how to write a news article, read this blog.

Here, we have shared the essential news writing guidelines. Additionally, we have also presented the steps and tips for writing a news article.

Understanding how to write a news story will help you shape a better career in journalism. Also, it will aid you in improving your writing skills and effectively conveying information within a limited word count.

What is a News Article?

A news article is a type of writing that concisely provides factual information about a particular event to a reader. Typically, news stories will report on noteworthy current affairs. For example, a news article can be about any announcement, research, or anything related to legislation, education, sports, politics, public health, election results, and art.

When you write a blog post or opinion article, you will have the freedom to share your opinion about the topic of discussion. But, in news articles, you should not add your personal opinions or speculations. Moreover, news articles should not contain jargon found in research papers and essays. Most importantly, a news article should be written in a formal tone and from a third-person point of view.

how to write news article

Different Types of News Articles

Based on the location of events, news articles are commonly classified into three types. They are

Local News Article: It reports on current events that happen within a specific area or community.

National News Article: It reports on current events that occur within a specific country.

International Article: It reports on current events or social issues in one or more countries abroad.

Even, you can compose news articles for school magazines or the journals of a research institution or any other organization.

No matter what type of news article you write, you should make sure to include the following about a particular event.

  • A catchy and informative headline
  • Facts of the event
  • Summary of the event
  • Interview quotes from expert sources or sentiments of the public about the event.

Also Read: A Simple Guide on How to Write a Law Review Article

Understand How to Structure a News Article

Depending on the guidelines of the institution, you can either write short-form or long-form deeply investigated news articles. Long-form news articles may comprise thousands of words. But the short news articles should be around 500 words.

In case, you are unaware of how to structure a news story, just organize the ideas in the form of an inverted pyramid. It will help you to effectively structure the paragraphs in your article.

Find here, how to compose a well-structured news article in an inverted pyramid format.

  • Start with the most significant and timely information
  • Provide the key facts with supporting details
  • Conclude with relevant details, interview quotes, and a summary

Always begin the first paragraph of your news article with an attention-grabbing topic sentence. This will help you to quickly hook your readers. Remember, the topic sentence that you create should concisely describe the key point of a particular event.

Learn How to Write a News Article

Are you unsure of how to write a news article? If yes, then simply follow the effective steps for writing a news article as suggested below. It will help you come up with impactful news stories.

Choose an Event or a Topic

Before you begin writing a news article, first, pick a newsworthy story that is unique, impactful, and active. In our world, a lot of events are happening. But not all events might be interesting to the readers. So, consider the preferences of your target readers and choose to talk about a topic relevant to them.

It is always better to touch on current events that have happened within the community of your target readers. However, the topic of discussion should be new to the readers and make them well-informed.

Research and Gather Information

Next, conduct an in-depth research on the chosen topic or event. It will help you to come up with a credible and well-structured news article. Moreover, performing research will aid you in gathering important information.

Especially, when you do research, make sure to find answers to the 5 Ws about your news topic.

  • Who was involved?
  • What happened?
  • Where did it happen?
  • Why did it happen?
  • When did it happen?
  • How did it happen?

All these questions will help you get a better understanding of events so that you can easily summarize the news to your readers.

Interview the Witnesses

To get more details about the event, interview the witnesses of the event or a person who is directly involved in the story. Furthermore, to obtain different perspectives on an event, you can also choose to interview secondary sources such as a person who is close to the primary sources or a person who is affected by that event.

However, interviewing a person is not an easy task. Keep in mind to adhere to the journalism rules. Particularly, when interviewing, disclose the sources that you are a reporter. Also, during the interview, record or take notes on all the key points. Most importantly, be transparent with what you are doing and the purpose of the interview.

Compile Facts

Once you gather all the necessary details about the news topic, prepare a list of what needs to be included in your article. In specific, divide all the collected facts into three categories- information that is important for the article, details that are interesting but not vital, and related information that is not significant for the article’s purpose.

Especially, when you organize all the facts, be as specific as possible so that you can easily trim down the unnecessary details and compose a concise article with valid information or facts. Moreover, when you compile facts, consider the type of news article you are writing. Usually, in news articles, the information should be presented in an unbiased manner.

Know your Target Readers

Get a clear understanding of to whom you are writing the news article. This will help you determine the tone of your article and what details to include in the story. Moreover, it will make it easy for you to format a better outline for your news article so that you can share the relevant information with the right audience.

To know about your target readers, find answers to these questions

  • What is the average age of the readers?
  • What is the location of your readers- local, national, or international?
  • Why does the reader read your article?
  • What does your reader want out of your article?

In addition to that, be certain to identify an angle suitable to make an article that is unique to you.

Create an Outline

Next, sketch an outline for your news article as per the inverted pyramid structure. Particularly, when drafting an outline, take into account your target readership and publication so that your work will satisfy your readers’ expectations about complexity.

For example, if your news story is intended for a general news publication, your readership may be larger than that of a specialized publication or community.

Always create a catchy headline that grabs the attention of the readers and succinctly summarizes the news story. After conducting your study, compile the key findings and organize them into the appropriate pyramid “buckets”. But these buckets should be arranged according to priority.

Compose the News Article

Elaborate on the outline and start writing a well-structured article according to the news writing guidelines. First, to grab the reader’s attention, begin the article with a catchy leading sentence relevant to your news topic. Like a thesis statement of a research paper, the leading sentence should concisely state your article topic. Also, in the introduction, you should inform your readers, what your news article is about and why it is important.

Following that, you should provide detailed information about the event with quotes from interviews and facts that are relevant to the leading statement. In specific, you should discuss what happened in the event, when and where it happened, who was involved, and why it is newsworthy.

Finally, you should wrap up your news article with a good concluding sentence. It can be a restatement of a leading sentence or potential future developments related to the topic. Remember, your conclusion should provide some takeaway for your readers.

Proofread and Edit

Lastly, after you finish writing your news article, check for the facts included in it. Also, carefully look for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors in the content and rectify them all if there are any.

Note that the news article that is ready for publication should be error-free and original. So, improve the overall quality of your news story by revising it. You can also get help from an experienced editor for proofreading your article.

Also Read: Learn How to Write an Academic Article

Important News Writing Guidelines

Listed below are some important guidelines you should follow when writing a news article.

  • Headlines should be short and snappy. Moreover, it should be written in the present tense, even for a past event. For a future event, the headline should contain the word ‘to’. Avoid using the articles- a, an, and the in the headline.
  • Always write the news article in the third person point of view.
  • The paragraphs in a news article should be short.
  • For the first reference, mention a person’s full first name or both initials.
  • Never narrate a news story chronologically. Follow the inverted pyramid writing style.

Wrapping Up

Hopefully, by now you will have gained a better understanding of how to write a news article. In case, you are still not confident enough to handle news article writing, feel free to contact us. On our platform, we have numerous assignment helpers who are well-qualified and have more years of experience in journalism and mass communication.

Based on the guidelines you share with us, our professionals will offer high-quality news article writing help online. Moreover, by taking journalism assignment help services from our experts, you can also complete your news article assignment on time. Most importantly, the news articles that we deliver will be original, well-researched, and well-structured.

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Reading and Writing Newspaper Articles ESL Lesson

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Students often read newspapers for a wide variety of reasons, not least of which is to keep informed in English. As you know, newspaper writing style tends to have three levels: Headlines, leading phrases, and article content. Each of these has its own style. This lesson focuses on calling students' attention to this type of writing style on a deeper, grammatical level. It ends with students writing up their own short articles with a follow-up listening comprehension opportunity.

Aim: Improved writing skills and understanding newspaper writing style

Activity: Writing short newspaper articles

Level: Intermediate to upper intermediate

  • Use the provided example newspaper article, or take a newspaper into the class.
  • Ask students to read the newspaper article and summarize the contents.
  • Have students analyze the difference between the headline, leading sentence and article content in terms of tense usage and vocabulary in small groups (3 to 4 students).
  • Headline: Simple tenses, idiomatic, flashy vocabulary, no use of function words
  • Leading sentence: Present perfect tense often used to give general overview.
  • Article content: Proper tense usage, including a change from present perfect to past tenses to give detailed, specific information about what, where and when something happened.
  • Once the differences have been understood, have students split up into pairs or small groups (3 to 4 students)
  • Using the worksheet, small groups should write their own newspaper articles using the headlines provided or come up with their own stories.
  • Have students read their newspaper articles aloud allowing you to incorporate some listening comprehension into the lesson.

FAKE VAN GOGH SELLS FOR $35 MILLION

A fake painting supposedly by Vincent Van Gogh has been sold for $35 million in Paris.

Paris June 9, 2004

Imagine this: It's the chance of a lifetime. You have the necessary cash and you have the opportunity to buy a Van Gogh. After purchasing the painting and placing it on your living room wall to show to all your friends, you discover that the painting is a forgery!

That's what happened to an anonymous telephone bidder who purchased Sunflowers in the Wind at the Peinture Company in Paris, France. The first (supposed) Van Gogh painting to have been auctioned since last year's record sale of $40 million, the forgery was sold for $35 million. The painting had also been reported to be the last ever offered for sale, Britain's Daily Times reported Thursday.

Unfortunately, shortly after the masterpiece had been transferred to the buyer's home, the Academy of Fine Arts released a statement saying that Sunflowers in the Wind was a fake. Upon further investigation, the report proved to be true. The unlucky buyer was forced to recognize that he or she had indeed purchased a forgery.

Choose a Headline and Write Your Own Newspaper Article

Newspaper Article 1

TRUCK CRASHES INTO LIVING ROOM

Leading sentence: Provide your leading sentence.

Article content: ​Write at least three short paragraphs about the incident.

Newspaper Article 2

LOCAL COUNCIL: ACTION NOT PROMISES

Article content: Write at least three short paragraphs about the incident.

Newspaper Article 3

LOCAL FOOTBALL PLAYER WINS BIG

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Writing a Newspaper Article - Lesson Lesson Plan

Level(s): Grades 6 - 9

Author: This unit was created by Stephanie M. Rusnak, B.S.Ed, of Charleston, South Carolina, as part of her Media Production Course.

In this lesson, students will write a news article for the school newspaper. The lesson begins with a discussion about freedom of speech and the important role it plays in journalism. Next, students will learn how to create news articles by developing 'lead paragraphs' and by using the 'inverted pyramid' model. Once this is done, they will be given time during class to select topics, conduct research, write their articles and proof read and peer edit their own and other's works.

Students will:

  • understand journalistic terms and vocabulary
  • understand the structure of news articles
  • produce and publish written work, using appropriate technology
  • analyse and assess the information and ideas gathered from a variety of print and electronic sources
  • develop keyboarding skills
  • develop peer editing and proof reading skills

This lesson and all associated documents (handouts, overheads, backgrounders) are available in an easy-print, pdf kit version.

Document Lesson_Writing_Newspaper_Article.pdf

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How to Write a News Article ?

News Article

The thought of writing for a newspaper, whether you’re studying journalism or simply have a news story to write, can be daunting. Don’t give up! Assignment Studio provides all of the fundamentals, strategies, and methods you’ll need to write a clear, easy-to-read story. Writing a news article requires different techniques than writing an academic paper. You’ll need to know the difference between whether you’re writing for a school newspaper or looking for a writing job in journalism. Read this brief guide on how to write a news article if you want to write like a  .

Table of Contents

What Is a News Article?

A news story, at its most basic level, presents the elements of a current event to the reader: who, what, when, where, how, and why. The emphasis on each of these parts will vary based on the story. The goal of a news story is to educate. If you’re writing about a bus accident, you might start with the who, where, and when because these will be the reader’s initial inquiries. Then move on to the how and why—questions that may arise as a result of the first ones. 

Journalists no longer need to write long reports to describe a simple occurrence in the community because if a bike crashes, dozens of people will certainly tweet about it, thanks to Twitter and a few other real-time communication technologies. 

News Article

How To Write a News Article?

The majority of us are familiar with how news articles are written to deliver information while also being engaging. Writing a news article differs from writing other articles or informative pieces in that it presents information in a specific manner and follows a defined framework. Journalists utilize a variety of tips and tools to write news stories, including:

  • Start with the most important information. Every article’s introduction must immediately capture the reader’s attention and summarize the story in 25 to 30 words .
  • Write a text that is both complete and concise. The first few phrases should include who , what , where , when , why , and how . Remember that most readers will only read about 250 words before skimming. You should make every effort to provide them with all of the information they require as quickly as possible.
  • Use the present tense. It’s more efficient and requires fewer words. For example, “ Germany was defeated by Australia in the World Cup final last night… “, takes longer to read than “ Australia defeated Germany… “
  • While people may be interested in the latest political polls, a food or product recall, or the weather forecast for tomorrow, putting a human interest in the story can build an emotional connection that will attract readers and keep them engaged.
  • Journalism, like any other industry, has its own linguistic terms. Do you know what a byline is? At the beginning or end of a story, the author’s name appears in a box.
  • In the first reference, spell out acronyms completely. For example, ROI , SATs , and FTSE , but what do they represent? Return on investment , Standard Assessment Tests , and the Financial Times Stock Exchange are the answers, accordingly.
  • Make use of quotations. It’s a powerful thing to be able to communicate significant ideas through someone else’s language. When quoting others, though, make sure you get it right. 
  • Be honest with yourself. Although writers frequently joke that the truth should never stand in the way of a good story, you should never, ever write something you know is false. We all make mistakes, but a mistake is not the same as lying.
  • Have your work proofread by someone else. Because few people can’t identify their own errors, having a coworker double-check your work before publishing is a good idea.

News Article Template

news article template

How To Cite a News Online News Article?

The mla newspaper article citation.

To cite a news article online, you should pick the following information from that particular article. Last name, first name of the author Initial or middle name. The title of the article. Newspaper name, date of online publishing, and URL.

Beckham, David. “What is fracking and why is it so controversial?” BBC News, 16 December 2015, www.bbc.com/news/uk-14432401.

Newspaper articles in print

Shahbaz, M., & Liu, Y. (2012). Complexity of l2 motivation in an Asian ESL setting. Porta Linguarum , 18, p.115-131.

Newspaper articles with URLs

Raden, Z. (2015, January 28). The discovery of neuronal cells offers hope for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients. The Times. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/medicine/article7005401.ece

How to Make a False News Article

Step 1 : make a fake news phrasebook.

Use a phrasebook for all of your fake news writing and editing and make it hilarious.

STEP 2 : Create fictitious news stories

Change the verbs in the story to make the acts shocking and change the locations, circumstances, secondary characters, and outcomes to make the headline more sensational. Lastly, select a picture to match the tone of the news title.

STEP 3 : Develop your website resources

Use social media to create a bunch of false personal and/or corporate accounts on Facebook , Twitter , YouTube , Instagram , Tumblr , LinkedIn , and other social media sites.

STEP 4 : Profit your fake news

Subscribe to every website you own and every web advertising business you can discover. Share your articles on your own fake websites and social media accounts, as well as with celebrities and large organizations with thousands of followers.

STEP 5 : Weaponize your false news

Make your stories as savage as possible and distribute them to celebrities and powerful organizations that support the politics you want to promote.

Article Generator for Fake News

It’s amazingly simple for anyone to generate a news article. You can plug in a false news piece, a fake image, and an imaginary author, and even apply a fake URL, just like you can build a birthday card with internet tools for your buddy. Then all you have to do is share it with the rest of the world.

People that spread fake news do so to gain money by placing advertisements. Those who make such information do so for a variety of reasons, not all of which are ideological. Many people have learned that absurd stories, distorted photographs, and other strange things are wonderful. Unfortunately, the same technological tools that can be utilized to create high-quality, instructive information can equally be used to deceive. 

A News Article Example

On the internet, you can find hundreds of samples of news articles. Below is a picture of one of the best Australian news articles . If you want to learn how to write a news article, have a look at it.

News Article Example

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If you have a class filled with newshounds eager to write their own front-page stories about classroom events or the latest happenings in the cafeteria, Scholastic Teachables has you covered with ready-to-go resources for your young journalists.

These 5 resources will help students in grades 3–5 learn about the newswriting process and how to add descriptive elements that will engage readers. Not only will they learn how to write a news article, students will also learn important content-area vocabulary that gives new meaning to words like  dummy ,  bleeds , and  widow . Before you know it, your classroom will be a busy newsroom filled with young reporters looking to break the next big story!

1.     Newspaper Writing: Narrative Learning Center

This  narrative learning center  specifically designed for newspaper writing helps students report facts and write a compelling news story that will engage their readers. The printable includes an introductory lesson, student directions, model writing samples, graphic organizers, differentiation tips, and an assessment rubric.

2.     Newspaper Article: Leveled Graphic Organizers

This lesson with  tiered graphic organizers  will help your cub reporters and front-page newshounds learn the basics of news writing. Students will write a news article that opens with a lead, includes who, what, when, where, and why, and presents details in the body of the story.

3.     Newspaper Jargon: Grade 4 Vocabulary

To be true news writers, students need to know the industry jargon. This  vocabulary packet  teaches students what words like  bleeds ,  dummy , and  stringer  commonly mean in newsrooms.

4.     The Daily News: Language Arts Bulletin Board

This  bulletin board  resource not only turns your classroom into a newsroom, it also helps students develop the speaking, listening, writing, and reading skills they need to run it effectively. 

5.     Plenty of Plastic: Grade 5 Opinion Writing Lesson

Every respected newspaper has a robust editorial section. This  writing lesson  helps create persuasive opinion writers by encouraging students to take a written stance for or against plastic bags.

Scholastic Teachables helps teachers like you build the next generation of journalists and newshounds. Even better, these teaching materials are ready to go, saving you time when you need it most during the school year. The printables are free to subscribers of Scholastic Teachables or are available for individual purchase.  Log in or subscribe today  for teaching tools to help your students write news articles that can make a difference in your classroom, school, and community!

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  • Critical Reviews

How to Write an Article Review

Last Updated: September 8, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Jake Adams . Jake Adams is an academic tutor and the owner of Simplifi EDU, a Santa Monica, California based online tutoring business offering learning resources and online tutors for academic subjects K-College, SAT & ACT prep, and college admissions applications. With over 14 years of professional tutoring experience, Jake is dedicated to providing his clients the very best online tutoring experience and access to a network of excellent undergraduate and graduate-level tutors from top colleges all over the nation. Jake holds a BS in International Business and Marketing from Pepperdine University. There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 3,064,936 times.

An article review is both a summary and an evaluation of another writer's article. Teachers often assign article reviews to introduce students to the work of experts in the field. Experts also are often asked to review the work of other professionals. Understanding the main points and arguments of the article is essential for an accurate summation. Logical evaluation of the article's main theme, supporting arguments, and implications for further research is an important element of a review . Here are a few guidelines for writing an article review.

Education specialist Alexander Peterman recommends: "In the case of a review, your objective should be to reflect on the effectiveness of what has already been written, rather than writing to inform your audience about a subject."

Things You Should Know

  • Read the article very closely, and then take time to reflect on your evaluation. Consider whether the article effectively achieves what it set out to.
  • Write out a full article review by completing your intro, summary, evaluation, and conclusion. Don't forget to add a title, too!
  • Proofread your review for mistakes (like grammar and usage), while also cutting down on needless information. [1] X Research source

Preparing to Write Your Review

Step 1 Understand what an article review is.

  • Article reviews present more than just an opinion. You will engage with the text to create a response to the scholarly writer's ideas. You will respond to and use ideas, theories, and research from your studies. Your critique of the article will be based on proof and your own thoughtful reasoning.
  • An article review only responds to the author's research. It typically does not provide any new research. However, if you are correcting misleading or otherwise incorrect points, some new data may be presented.
  • An article review both summarizes and evaluates the article.

Step 2 Think about the organization of the review article.

  • Summarize the article. Focus on the important points, claims, and information.
  • Discuss the positive aspects of the article. Think about what the author does well, good points she makes, and insightful observations.
  • Identify contradictions, gaps, and inconsistencies in the text. Determine if there is enough data or research included to support the author's claims. Find any unanswered questions left in the article.

Step 3 Preview the article.

  • Make note of words or issues you don't understand and questions you have.
  • Look up terms or concepts you are unfamiliar with, so you can fully understand the article. Read about concepts in-depth to make sure you understand their full context.

Step 4 Read the article closely.

  • Pay careful attention to the meaning of the article. Make sure you fully understand the article. The only way to write a good article review is to understand the article.

Step 5 Put the article into your words.

  • With either method, make an outline of the main points made in the article and the supporting research or arguments. It is strictly a restatement of the main points of the article and does not include your opinions.
  • After putting the article in your own words, decide which parts of the article you want to discuss in your review. You can focus on the theoretical approach, the content, the presentation or interpretation of evidence, or the style. You will always discuss the main issues of the article, but you can sometimes also focus on certain aspects. This comes in handy if you want to focus the review towards the content of a course.
  • Review the summary outline to eliminate unnecessary items. Erase or cross out the less important arguments or supplemental information. Your revised summary can serve as the basis for the summary you provide at the beginning of your review.

Step 6 Write an outline of your evaluation.

  • What does the article set out to do?
  • What is the theoretical framework or assumptions?
  • Are the central concepts clearly defined?
  • How adequate is the evidence?
  • How does the article fit into the literature and field?
  • Does it advance the knowledge of the subject?
  • How clear is the author's writing? Don't: include superficial opinions or your personal reaction. Do: pay attention to your biases, so you can overcome them.

Writing the Article Review

Step 1 Come up with...

  • For example, in MLA , a citation may look like: Duvall, John N. "The (Super)Marketplace of Images: Television as Unmediated Mediation in DeLillo's White Noise ." Arizona Quarterly 50.3 (1994): 127-53. Print. [10] X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source

Step 3 Identify the article.

  • For example: The article, "Condom use will increase the spread of AIDS," was written by Anthony Zimmerman, a Catholic priest.

Step 4 Write the introduction....

  • Your introduction should only be 10-25% of your review.
  • End the introduction with your thesis. Your thesis should address the above issues. For example: Although the author has some good points, his article is biased and contains some misinterpretation of data from others’ analysis of the effectiveness of the condom.

Step 5 Summarize the article.

  • Use direct quotes from the author sparingly.
  • Review the summary you have written. Read over your summary many times to ensure that your words are an accurate description of the author's article.

Step 6 Write your critique.

  • Support your critique with evidence from the article or other texts.
  • The summary portion is very important for your critique. You must make the author's argument clear in the summary section for your evaluation to make sense.
  • Remember, this is not where you say if you liked the article or not. You are assessing the significance and relevance of the article.
  • Use a topic sentence and supportive arguments for each opinion. For example, you might address a particular strength in the first sentence of the opinion section, followed by several sentences elaborating on the significance of the point.

Step 7 Conclude the article review.

  • This should only be about 10% of your overall essay.
  • For example: This critical review has evaluated the article "Condom use will increase the spread of AIDS" by Anthony Zimmerman. The arguments in the article show the presence of bias, prejudice, argumentative writing without supporting details, and misinformation. These points weaken the author’s arguments and reduce his credibility.

Step 8 Proofread.

  • Make sure you have identified and discussed the 3-4 key issues in the article.

Sample Article Reviews

writing a news article assignment

Expert Q&A

Jake Adams

You Might Also Like

Write Articles

  • ↑ https://writing.wisc.edu/handbook/grammarpunct/proofreading/
  • ↑ https://libguides.cmich.edu/writinghelp/articlereview
  • ↑ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4548566/
  • ↑ Jake Adams. Academic Tutor & Test Prep Specialist. Expert Interview. 24 July 2020.
  • ↑ https://guides.library.queensu.ca/introduction-research/writing/critical
  • ↑ https://www.iup.edu/writingcenter/writing-resources/organization-and-structure/creating-an-outline.html
  • ↑ https://writing.umn.edu/sws/assets/pdf/quicktips/titles.pdf
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_works_cited_periodicals.html
  • ↑ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4548565/
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.uconn.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/593/2014/06/How_to_Summarize_a_Research_Article1.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.uis.edu/learning-hub/writing-resources/handouts/learning-hub/how-to-review-a-journal-article
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/editing-and-proofreading/

About This Article

Jake Adams

If you have to write an article review, read through the original article closely, taking notes and highlighting important sections as you read. Next, rewrite the article in your own words, either in a long paragraph or as an outline. Open your article review by citing the article, then write an introduction which states the article’s thesis. Next, summarize the article, followed by your opinion about whether the article was clear, thorough, and useful. Finish with a paragraph that summarizes the main points of the article and your opinions. To learn more about what to include in your personal critique of the article, keep reading the article! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Use This News Article Rubric for Grading Middle or High School Students

Use This News Article Rubric for Grading Middle or High School Students

Show students how to write a news article. When they forget, remind them how to write an article again with the following well-organized rubric. Students may also find this article helpful in coming up with ideas and perfecting the news-writing style.

“A” Article

Components :

The article contains six components of a news story (who, what, when, where, why, and how).

Organization :

The article is written with the most important information first.

The story contains an interesting lead which hooks the reader.

All sentences are clear, concise, and well written. Many details are included. Many active words are used.

Paragraphs :

The article contains short paragraphs that flow together. The last paragraph ends with a quote or catchy phrase.

“B” Article

Components:

The article contains five components of a news story (who, what, when, where, why, and how).

Organization:

The article is written with the most important information contained within the article.

The story contains an interesting lead which hooks the reader but dies not capture the true meaning of the article.

Most sentences are clear, concise, and well written. Many details are included. Many active words are used.

Paragraphs:

The article mostly contains short paragraphs that flow together. The last paragraph ends with a quote or catchy phrase but does not capture the true meaning of the article.

“C” Article

The article contains three or four components of a news story (who, what, when, where, why, and how).

The information makes sense but the organization is somewhat confusing.

The lead does not hook the reader nor does it convey the true meaning of the article.

Many of the sentences are too long, run-ons, or fragments. Very few details are included. Very few active words are used.

The article contains paragraphs which are mostly too long and do not lead to the next paragraph. The last paragraph ends with a quote or catchy phrase that does not capture the true meaning of the article.

“D” Article

The article contains one or two components of a news story (who, what, when, where, why, and how).

The article is written in no logical order.

There is no lead to the story.

Most of the sentences are too long, run-ons, or fragments. Very few details are included. Very few active words are used.

The article contains no paragraphs or paragraphs which are mostly too long and do not lead to the next paragraph. The last paragraph does not end with a quote or catchy phrase that does not capture the true meaning of the article.

This post is part of the series: Rubrics

End arguments, raise standards, and improve instruction with rubrics.

  • Using Rubrics for Student Notebook Checks
  • Owning Your Very Own Persuasive Essay Rubric
  • Making Grading Easier with this General Essay Rubric
  • News Article Rubric for Middle or High School Students

Browse Course Material

Course info.

  • Jared David Berezin

Departments

  • Comparative Media Studies/Writing

As Taught In

  • History of Science and Technology
  • Academic Writing
  • Nonfiction Prose
  • Periodic Literature
  • Technical Writing

Learning Resource Types

Science writing and new media: communicating science to the public, rhetorical analysis of a news article.

Purpose: A close reader of the world looks beneath the surface of behavior and language, and explores instances of communication as rhetorical events rich with meaning. The purpose of this assignment is to analyze an online news article, and identify and discuss the writer’s rhetorical decisions and their impacts. Rather than state whether you believe the article is “good” or “bad”, or whether you liked it or not, apply a close-reading of the text. This assignment includes two main deliverables: 1) a written essay, and 2) a class discussion.

I. Written Essay (Individually Written)

Craft a coherent rhetorical analysis essay that includes the following two components:

  • Very brief summary of the article
  • Close reading of the work

For the summary portion (1), rather than describe everything in the article, very briefly share only the main points of the article. The summary should be no more than a brief paragraph. In your close reading (2)—the heart of this assignment—you should include and provide evidence for the following information:

  • Who is the author? (name, title, and credentials)
  • Where was the article published? (newspaper/magazine/website title)
  • What is the purpose and goal of the article?
  • Who is the intended audience of the article?
  • Ethos : appeals to the character/expertise of the writer and cited authorities
  • Logos : appeals based on logic, reasoning, and relevant evidence
  • Pathos : appeals to the beliefs, emotions, and values of the audience
  • Diction, figurative language, tone, organization, length
  • Does the writer use visual images in the article? If so, what is their impact?
  • What evidence (if any) does the author provide to support her/his claims?
  • Where does this evidence come from?
  • What research might the author have conducted before writing the article?
  • What information does the author not include in the article, and why?
  • Is the author biased in any way?
  • Is the article trustworthy?

II. Class Discussion (Co-Lead With a Partner)

You will lead a 10-15 minute discussion of the article with a classmate, which will require you to meet beforehand and plan your questions. After introducing the article, try and stimulate discussion among your classmates with purposeful, open-ended questions. As mentioned above, the written rhetorical analysis essay should be completed individually, and the discussion should be led jointly with your partner.

Audience: Your audience for both the essay and discussion includes your teacher and classmates: we are a community of diverse people interested in the rhetorical choices involved in science articles written for the public. Since we have not read the article as closely as you have, it is critical that you provide the reasoning for all of your analytical claims involving the article.

Be sure to support all of your analytical points with specific evidence from the article, which will help your audience comprehend and support your rhetorical analysis. Since your audience has learned about the elements of a rhetorical situation (e.g. audience, purpose, context, genre) and rhetorical appeals (e.g. ethos, logos, pathos), you do not need to define these concepts in your essay.

Format requirements: MS Word (.doc) or Adobe (.pdf) with the following:

  • 1"X1" margins
  • Size 12 Times New Roman font
  • Single-spaced text
  • 600-800 words
  • Include page numbers

Before you submit your essay, re-read your writing, preferably aloud, to detect ideas that need to be tightened and/or reorganized for clarity.

Due Date: Be sure to write down and remember your specific due date and assigned article. Upload your essay to the course website anytime before your class discussion.

MIT Open Learning

NEWS... BUT NOT AS YOU KNOW IT

Teacher assigned students to write ‘ways to kill’ a classmate

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The incident happened at Crestwood Middle School in Chesapeake, Virginia in January 2022 (

A middle school teacher has been arrested after giving her students an assignment to write about killing a classmate.

The assignment directed students to come up with ‘ways to kill’ one particular pupil within the English class at Crestwood Middle School in Chesapeake, Virginia, according to court records obtained by WTKR on Wednesday.

It was a student’s idea, but the teacher ran with it, the documents state. The students proceeded to work on the assignment on their tablets.

The students’ ideas for killing the student included burning him alive, chopping him, throwing him out the window and giving him to a dog to eat, per the records.

The teacher in Chesapeake, Virginia, surrendered his teaching license

On that night in January 2022, the boy shared the assignment with his parents, who informed authorities.

Questioned on the incident, the teacher explained that the student who was the subject of the assignment did not seem upset by it. The teacher added that it was difficult to engage the students, but admitted that the assignment was not appropriate and should not have been carried out.

The teacher has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of contributing to a minor’s delinquency.

Beside being arrested, the teacher surrendered his license to instruct. He has not been identified.

The teacher was employed at the middle school from August 2020 to April 2022, according to the Chesapeake School District.

‘Our practice is that we do not comment further on such situations involving personnel,’ stated the school district.

‘The safety of our students is our top priority, and Chesapeake Public Schools expects all employees to act with the utmost professionalism to provide a positive learning environment for all students.’

He was let go more than a year before a kindergartner wrote a story in class about her mother firing a gun in a fight with her father. The teacher at Donelson Elementary School in Arlington, Tennessee, reported possible child abuse, which led to the mother’s arrest.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected] .

For more stories like this, check our news page .

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Teacher arrested for assigning class to write ways to kill a student

A classroom is shown.

A teacher surrendered his license after getting in legal trouble for an assignment he agreed was inappropriate.

A teacher has been arrested after giving a Virginia middle school class an assignment to write about killing a student, according to court records.

The incident occurred in January 2022 in an English class at Crestwood Middle School in Chesapeake, but Scripps News Norfolk's investigative team recently learned about the arrest after a Freedom of Information Request to the Department of Education regarding teachers who lost their license in the state.

The class assignment was to write "ways to kill" one particular student in the class, according to court records. The records state that the idea for the assignment came from another student in the class, but that the teacher went along with it.

The students reportedly pulled out their tablets and began to write various ways to kill the selected child in the class. Documents outline how the ideas from the students included chopping him up, throwing him out the window, burning him alive and feeding him to a dog.

That night the child told his parents, and authorities got involved.

When asked by authorities why this happened, records state that the teacher said it was hard to engage the class, and the student at the center of the assignment didn't appear upset. But the teacher agreed it was an inappropriate assignment and told police it was an error in judgment.

The teacher pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Teacher arrested after hitting 4-year-old student who has autism

The Florida educator, who teaches students with disabilities, was charged with child abuse over two incidents.

According to a statement from the Chesapeake School District after Scripps News Norfolk reached out for comment, the teacher "was employed as a teacher at Crestwood Middle School from August 31, 2020, through April 8, 2022. Our practice is that we do not comment further on such situations involving personnel. The safety of our students is our top priority, and Chesapeake Public Schools expects all employees to act with the utmost professionalism to provide a positive learning environment for all students."

The National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) is a clearinghouse that helps identify red flags when teachers are applying for licenses across the country. It reports that approximately 6,000 of the 3.5 million public school teachers have adverse action taken against their licenses for a wide variety of issues, and in many cases those teachers do not lose their licenses.

The teacher involved in this case did surrender his license.

NASDTEC, which offers free online preventative and corrective courses for teachers and leaders nationwide, thinks there should be more emphasis on preventing problematic behavior before it happens.

The group's executive director, Jimmy Adams, said he believes every teacher should have to undergo a refresher class about professional ethics every five years. But the group stresses that the vast majority of teachers are phenomenal people, who never get into trouble and are working to educate and inspire the children of America.

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BIO 2002G: Environmental Life Sciences – News article assignment

  • Locating News Articles

Citation tools within databases

What is citation management software.

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The EIU Writing Center 3110 Coleman Hall 217-581-5929

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...and Citing

For more information about citing in APA style, please consult the following resources:

  • Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.)
  • APA Style online: https://apastyle.apa.org/
  • APA Formatting and Style Guide (Purdue OWL)

For more information about citing in MLA style, please consult the following resources:

  • MLA Handbook  (9th ed.)
  • MLA Style (Purdue OWL)

Some library databases have a "cite" function that generates formatted citations for your use.

Caution: Computers are not 100% accurate in formatting citations. Review all computer-generated citations for inaccuracies in capitalization, punctuation, and other possible errors.

EBSCO database screenshot of Cite feature

  • Manage your growing list of citations
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Learn more: View this short guide to citation management software .

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Donald Trump stands by remarks about not defending NATO members after backlash

Donald Trump revisited his recent comments about NATO as he left a Manhattan courtroom Thursday, after a judge decided the former president’s hush-money trial will go ahead beginning March 25th. (Feb 15) (AP Video: Joseph B. Frederick)

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Charleston Area Convention Center in North Charleston, S.C., Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024. (AP Photo/David Yeazell)

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Charleston Area Convention Center in North Charleston, S.C., Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024. (AP Photo/David Yeazell)

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Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally at Charleston Area Convention Center in North Charleston, S.C., Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024. (AP Photo/David Yeazell)

A supporters holds up a sign as Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Charleston Area Convention Center in North Charleston, S.C., Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024. (AP Photo/David Yeazell)

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., walks onto stage before Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump at a campaign rally at Charleston Area Convention Center in North Charleston, S.C., Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024. (AP Photo/David Yeazell)

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Former President Donald Trump again said Wednesday that if he returns to the White House, he would not defend NATO members that don’t meet defense spending targets, days after he set off alarms in Europe by suggesting he would tell Russia to attack NATO allies he considered delinquent.

Speaking at a campaign rally in South Carolina, he retold the story of his alleged conversation with the head of a NATO member country that had not met its obligations. This time, though, he left out the line that drew the most outrage — encouraging Russia “to do whatever the hell they want.”

“Look, if they’re not going to pay, we’re not going to protect. OK?” he said Wednesday.

Trump hewed closer than usual to his prepared remarks after a freewheeling event days earlier in which he also drew backlash for mocking his Republican rival Nikki Haley’s husband for being missing from the campaign trail. He also revised his comments about Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom he has often praised as tough and previously suggested treated him like the “apple of his eye.”

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on a $95 billion Ukraine Israel aid package being debated in Congress, in the State Dining Room of the White House, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Instead, Trump cited an interview Putin gave Wednesday to Russian state television in which he said he would prefer Biden as president .

“Putin is not a fan of mine,” Trump said.

Haley, Trump’s former U.N. ambassador and his last major rival in the GOP presidential race, has been condemning Trump’s remarks for days about her husband Michael Haley, who is deployed in Africa with the National Guard.

Trump on Wednesday insulted Nikki Haley and highlighted his wide lead in polls over her, but he focused more of his attention on President Joe Biden, whom he’s expected to face in the 2024 general election.

Biden has also excoriated Trump for his remarks about NATO , calling them “dangerous,” “un-American,” and “shocking.” Biden has also pushed for a foreign aid package to assist Ukraine as it fights Russia’s invasion.

Trump has opposed the aid and said Wednesday that the U.S. should instead provide a loan to Ukraine.

“Why should you just hand it over to them?” he said.

A spokesperson for Biden’s reelection campaign said Wednesday, “Donald Trump just gave Vladimir Putin the best possible Valentine’s Day present: his pinky-promise to give Putin the green light to mow down our allies in Europe if he’s elected president.”

Trump also tried to explain away his remarks in January in which he repeatedly confused Haley for former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, drawing questions about his mental fitness. Both Biden, 81, and Trump, 77, face widespread questions among voters about their age and readiness for a second term.

“I’m not a Nikki fan and I’m not a Pelosi fan and when I purposely interposed names they said, ‘He didn’t know Pelosi from Nikki, from Tricky Nikki,” he said. “No no, I think they both stink. They have something in common.”

Though Haley has had more campaign appearances lately than Trump, she did not appear at any events Wednesday. Don Bolduc, a Haley surrogate, failed New Hampshire Senate candidate and retired brigadier general, held a news conference earlier Wednesday aimed at Trump’s criticism of Michael Haley.

SFA Inc., the super PAC supporting Haley’s campaign, has been playing its latest ad on a mobile billboard in the area of Trump’s Wednesday night rally, a spot calling Trump “sick or clueless” for criticizing the military.

Trump’s negativity toward Haley has ramped up as the season’s votes have gotten underway and the campaign has moved to her home state.

Last month in New Hampshire, Trump essentially ruled Haley out as a potential running mate, saying she “is not presidential timber.”

He said Wednesday night that his criticism of her means that “she will never be running for vice president,” a comment that was met with loud cheers from the audience.

But Trump quickly pivoted to lavish praise on South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, who dropped out of the presidential race in November . Scott has been seen as a potential running mate for Trump, whom he endorsed and has campaigned for, including on Wednesday night.

“You’re a much better candidate for me than you were for yourself,” Trump told Scott.

While serving as South Carolina’s governor, Haley appointed Scott to the U.S. Senate in 2012. Her son, Nalin, has been introducing Haley at her events and several times referred to Scott as “Sen. Judas,” a reference to the Biblical story of the disciple who betrayed Jesus Christ.

MEG KINNARD

IMAGES

  1. How to write News Report

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  2. News Article Outline

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  3. Writing A Newspaper Article Template

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  4. 🌱 Format of newspaper article writing. How to Write an Effective News

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  5. News Article Assignment Prompt

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  6. Article Writing Examples for Students

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  2. COM201 BROADCAST NEWS WRITING:INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT

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  4. Module 2 Assignment: Article Analysis & Preentation

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  6. assignment to write news in english

COMMENTS

  1. How to Write a News Article

    Conclude with some less important—but relevant—details, interview quotes, and a summary. The first paragraph of a news article should begin with a topic sentence that concisely describes the main point of the story. Placing this sentence at the beginning of a news article hooks the reader immediately so the lede isn't buried.

  2. How to Write a News Article: 14 Steps (with Pictures)

    2. Compile all your facts. Once you can clearly answer the "5 W's", jot down a list of all the pertinent facts and information that needs to be included in the article. Organize your facts into three groups: 1) those that need to be included in the article. 2) those that are interesting but not vital.

  3. Basic newswriting: Learn how to originate, research and write breaking

    This class will center on the language of news, evaluating the language in selections from America's Best Newspaper Writing, local newspapers or the Pulitzers. Reading: Relevant pages of the course text. Assignment: Students should choose a traditional news lead they like and one they do not like from a local or national newspaper. In a one ...

  4. A Newspaper Classroom Assignment

    Here is what you will need to gather together minimally—your teacher may have more requirements: 2 to 3 articles per page. On a tabloid sized newspaper, you will be able to have 2 articles of around 750 words plus images or 3 articles of around 500 words. This article is a little over 500 words long.

  5. PDF News Story Analysis Worksheet

    Record all of your notes/facts using audio, video, or written documentation. Step 4: Organize your news story. Make a list of facts and story-related information, putting the data in order from most to least important. Step 5: Write your news story, even if you intend to produce an audio or video version of it.

  6. 10 News Writing Exercises for Journalism Students

    Shooting Follow-Up No. 1. You're back at the Centerville Gazette on the day after the shooting outside the Fandango Bar & Grill on Wilson Street in the Grungeville section of town. You phone the cops to see if they have anything new on the case. Lt. Jane Ortlieb tells you that early this morning they arrested an ex-con named Frederick Johnson ...

  7. How to Write an Effective News Article

    The article should not contain your opinions. Detail any events in chronological order. Use the active voice —not passive voice —when possible, and write in clear, short, direct sentences. In a news article, you should use the inverted pyramid format—putting the most critical information in the early paragraphs and following with ...

  8. Newswriting Assignments

    Assignment 1: What grabs you?Description of Assignment: Basic news writing focuses on figuring out what is important and then giving that information to your readers. It sounds simple and, with a lot of practice, it can be. Problems tend to crop up when writers try to do too much, ignore some basic tenets of journalism, and generally don't think about the audience before writing.

  9. How to Write a News Story

    The following is an excerpt from The Elements of News Writing by James W. Kershner (Pearson, 2009). This book is available for checkout at Buley Library (Call number PN 4775 .K37 2009, on the 3rd floor) 1. Select a newsworthy story. Your goal is to give a timely account of a recent, interesting, and significant event or development.

  10. News writing assignments

    Assignment 3: Spoiler alert! Learning the inverted pyramid. Description of Assignment: This drill will ask students to think of their three favorite movies or novels, and report them as news stories using summary leads and an inverted pyramid style. Please write at least four paragraphs per film or book.

  11. PDF Let's Write a Newspaper Story

    Draw pictures for the stories (as needed). Locate photographs or cut out pictures from magazine to illustrate stories. 5) Lay out the paper, placing stories according to their importance. The end product for each group will be a pasted-up, two-page (or more) newspaper. The paper can then be reproduced and distributed.

  12. How to Write a Newspaper Article (with Pictures)

    2. Open the article with a "lead" first sentence. The lead, also spelled "lede," contains the story's most essential details. The lead should briefly answer, "Who," "What," "When," "Where," "Why," and "How" for the reader. It should also hook the reader in and encourage them to keep reading.

  13. PDF Lesson Writing Newspaper Article

    Writing a Newspaper Article. In this lesson, students will write a news article for the school newspaper. The lesson begins with a discussion about freedom of speech and the important role it plays in journalism. Next, students will learn how to create news articles by developing 'lead paragraphs' and by using the 'inverted pyramid' model.

  14. A Simple Guide on How to Write a News Article

    For a future event, the headline should contain the word 'to'. Avoid using the articles- a, an, and the in the headline. Always write the news article in the third person point of view. The paragraphs in a news article should be short. For the first reference, mention a person's full first name or both initials.

  15. How to Write a School News Article

    By the time you get to the end of the article, you are simply expanding upon what the reader already knows from the first two paragraphs you wrote. Don't make your paragraphs long—two to three sentences each. Your word count will need to stay around the 500 word count or less, generally speaking.

  16. Reading and Writing Newspaper Articles ESL Lesson

    Ask students to read the newspaper article and summarize the contents. Have students analyze the difference between the headline, leading sentence and article content in terms of tense usage and vocabulary in small groups (3 to 4 students). As a class, check that the differences between headline, leading sentence and article content are clear.

  17. Writing a Newspaper Article

    Overview. In this lesson, students will write a news article for the school newspaper. The lesson begins with a discussion about freedom of speech and the important role it plays in journalism. Next, students will learn how to create news articles by developing 'lead paragraphs' and by using the 'inverted pyramid' model.

  18. How to Write a News Article

    Newspaper articles with URLs. How to Make a False News Article. STEP 1: Make a fake news phrasebook. STEP 2: Create fictitious news stories. STEP 3: Develop your website resources. STEP 4: Profit your fake news. STEP 5: Weaponize your false news. Article Generator for Fake News. A News Article Example.

  19. How to Write a Newspaper Article for Grades 3-5

    4. The Daily News: Language Arts Bulletin Board. This bulletin board resource not only turns your classroom into a newsroom, it also helps students develop the speaking, listening, writing, and reading skills they need to run it effectively. 5. Plenty of Plastic: Grade 5 Opinion Writing Lesson. Every respected newspaper has a robust editorial ...

  20. How to Write an Article Review (with Sample Reviews)

    Identify the article. Start your review by referring to the title and author of the article, the title of the journal, and the year of publication in the first paragraph. For example: The article, "Condom use will increase the spread of AIDS," was written by Anthony Zimmerman, a Catholic priest. 4.

  21. Use This News Article Rubric for Grading Middle or High School Students

    Components: The article contains one or two components of a news story (who, what, when, where, why, and how). Organization: The article is written in no logical order. Style: There is no lead to the story. Language: Most of the sentences are too long, run-ons, or fragments. Very few details are included.

  22. Rhetorical Analysis of a News Article

    Purpose: A close reader of the world looks beneath the surface of behavior and language, and explores instances of communication as rhetorical events rich with meaning. The purpose of this assignment is to analyze an online news article, and identify and discuss the writer's rhetorical decisions and their impacts.

  23. Teaching ESL Students How to Write Newspaper Articles

    To begin, bring in as many hard copies of a newspaper as you can, and distribute them among your students. You can also organize the students into small groups. As the students look through the ...

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    A Republican lawmaker in Michigan has lost his committee assignment and staff, ... Founded in 1846, AP today remains the most trusted source of fast, accurate, unbiased news in all formats and the essential provider of the technology and services vital to the news business. More than half the world's population sees AP journalism every day.

  27. BIO 2002G: Environmental Life Sciences

    Citation tools within databases. Some library databases have a "cite" function that generates formatted citations for your use. Caution: Computers are not 100% accurate in formatting citations. Review all computer-generated citations for inaccuracies in capitalization, punctuation, and other possible errors.

  28. Donald Trump defends his NATO remarks after backlash

    The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting. Founded in 1846, AP today remains the most trusted source of fast, accurate, unbiased news in all formats and the essential provider of the technology and services vital to the news business. More than half the world's population sees AP journalism ...

  29. Today's news in 10 minutes

    February 15, 2024 Today on CNN 10, we cover Congress' historic impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, only the second cabinet official ever to be impeached in US history.