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English Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.

The traditional structure of news writing

THE 5Ws AND THE H


Journalists are concerned with the 5Ws and the H (who did what, when, where, why and how). Any good news article will provide answers to all of these. Practise finding the 5Ws and the H in the articles of your choice. If one or more is missing suggest reasons that might explain why. 



THE INVERTED PYRAMID STYLE OF WRITING


To illustrate the effect of this style choose an article and list the main facts in the order the reporter presents them. Now rewrite the list in chronological order. Compare the two lists. Discuss the differences. 



ANGLES

In news writing the angle is the approach taken in presenting a story. For example, in the story of Cinderella there are many possible angles for a story:

  • Prince meets love of life
  • Stepsister treated brutally
  • SPCA looks into maltreatment of mice
  • Survey of citizens' shoe sizes has strange results
  • Rags to riches story
  • Palace Footmen's Union strike about overtime rates.

a. Find examples of different types of angles in your newspaper. Clip each article and alongside in your own words explain what the angle is. 


b. Choose a topic for a news story such as a chemical spill. In groups discuss possible angles that could be taken in presenting it. Report your group's angles back to the class. See how many the class came up with. 


c. For several chosen articles decide on other angles that could be taken in writing follow-up stories. 



INTROS

The intro or introduction is the first sentence of a news story. The basic requirements of the intro are that it should:
Grab the reader's attention

  • Concentrate on the main news point (the 'what')
  • Be short - no longer than 25 words
  • Use active (Dog kills rat) not passive (Rat killed by dog) verbs.
  • Be specific and clear
  • Use simple language

Analyse a selection of intros in today's paper using the above criteria. How do they rate?



Practise analysis and production of a breaking story with Picking Up the Pieces and Putting them Back Together from the New York Times.

Published on: 18 Dec 2010




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