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How to Write a Great Newspaper Article

newspaper-article

This page will teach you how to write a newspaper article (and make it great). Learn how to format a newspaper article correctly, through examples, and learn how to cite or reference a newspaper article for a school assignment.

Newspaper articles provide information on current events and issues, along with interpretation and analysis. They also provide entertainment, and are a reference for television listings, sports results, movie listings, community events and weather reports.

Newspapers use pictures and captivating headlines to draw in readers and hold their attention. Writing a great article can require informative and persuasive language, including emotive words, imagery, and rhetorical questions.

The following hints, tips and ideas will help you write a newspaper article for your local newspaper, a school assignment or just for fun.

newspaper-article

The Purpose of a Newspaper Article

A newspaper article provides information on newsworthy topics: that is, any event or issue of importance to the majority of readers. It provides the reader with all the facts about this issue or event, including who, what, where, when, why and how. It includes statements, comments and opinions from experts or other people involved.

newspaper-article

Types of Newspaper Articles

Newsworthy topics will vary according to the newspaper's audience. A national newspaper will report on national issues like finance, war and politics. On the other hand, a local community newspaper reports on actions and events in the area. Local newspapers tend to lean towards emotional stories; people are more interested in a minor local event then a distant disaster.

A major news report is put on the front page with a big headline and a large picture. These major stories will often have smaller related background stories, which will sometimes run for several pages. Lesser stories are placed in the newspaper based on their importance (more important news at the front) or placed based on category (world news, sports, finance).

Format and Structure

The structure of a newspaper article is often compared to an inverted triangle: the most important details are at the top of the article, and the least important information placed at the end of the article. It is important to keep each paragraph as independent as possible, to allow paragraphs to be cut out in order to fit in pictures and advertisements.

The article is not written in chronological order. A newspaper article includes the following (in order):

  • Headline and by-line (reporter's name and picture).
  • An opening paragraph (introduction) of about 25-40 words. It provides the most important and interesting news first, while answering who, what, where, when (how and why are often reserved for later).
  • Further short paragraphs of about 30-40 words apiece. Each one has a main idea and a different fact. They may also include quotes from people involved or experts.
  • Details are given in order of importance, with the least important details at the end of the article. This allows readers to skim over the start of the article to gain the essential facts before deciding to read on.
  • At the end of the article the facts and opinions may be summarised, detailing the issue or event.

Example of a Newspaper Article

newspaper-article

Examples and Samples

Language Features: The Headline

Headlines convey information and attract attention using the following:

  • Short phrases and incomplete sentences
  • Figurative language
  • Stereotypes
  • Exaggeration

Writing A Newspaper Headline

Language Features: The Body of the Article

The language in the body of the article uses the following features to inform, entertain and persuade.

  • Clear and concise
  • In the third person
  • Can use active or passive voice, depending on the focus and which is more engaging for the reader.
  • Factual and accurate.
  • Includes quotes, comments, opinions, statements and observations, from people involved or experts on the topic.
  • Gives people labels so that the reader knows who they are straight away, for example: "the Minister, Mr. Dash."
  • Avoids racist, sexist or religious slurs.
  • Accurate and balanced (providing facts supporting both sides of the issue).

Using Language in a News Story

newspaper-article

Using Visuals

Headlines use size, bold, capitals, different font styles, underlining and sometimes colour to attract reader's attention to the newspaper article that follows. The importance of the article is generally related the size of the headline, with more important articles having bigger and bolder headlines.

Photographs, illustrations, graphs, graphics and maps are used alongside newspaper articles to help present complex information as well as add interest and colour.

How To Write A Newspaper Article

The Associated Press Guide to News Writing: A Great Resource

Steps to Writing a Newspaper Article

-Brainstorm ideas.

-What's the focus?

-Research extensively.

-Provide important facts.

-Use pictures.

-Persuade readers.

How To Cite and Reference A Newspaper Article

When you use a newspaper article as a source for an assignment or project, you need to describe it so that readers themselves can find it. Below you will find several of the most common ways to reference and cite a newspaper article. If there is one I have missed that you think needs to be included, please let me know in the comment section!

If you are unsure which referencing method you are required to use, then ask your teacher or check the relevant course information.

  • MLA:

    Newspaper Author. "Article Name." Name of Newspaper [City] Publication Date, Newspaper Section (Sports, Weather, Editorial): Page Number of Article.

  • APA:

    Author (Name, Initial, Initial). (Year/Month/Day). Article Name. Name of Newspaper, Page Number(s) of Article

  • Harvard Referencing:

    Name, Initial Year, 'Article Name', Newspaper Name, Day and Month, Page(s) of Article.

Reader Feedback

Mister on January 14, 2019:

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b on February 21, 2018:

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suzi on December 14, 2016:

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elphus ntsako on December 08, 2015:

This site helped me a lot.. I now have a clue on how to prepare viewers about what dey a going see in my article

shakir on October 03, 2015:

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DinoMommy on April 01, 2015:

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kat on March 11, 2015:

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RestlessKnights on February 03, 2014:

I've written magazine articles, but not so much for the newspapers.

evawrites1 on January 30, 2014:

Thanks, this is very informative.

Evelina from London / Frankfurt / Vilnius on January 22, 2014:

I find it difficult in general to write anything :) no matter if it's a tweet, facebook post, blog post, article or anything :)

Maria Grujicic from Darwin, Australia on January 19, 2014:

Very informative- Thank you. :)

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DavidTucker on June 25, 2013:

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@Deeann56: not all articles are short

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I enjoy short story writing so an article is the way to go

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getmoreinfo on October 09, 2012:

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California_Dreamin on January 15, 2010:

Nice lens with lots of good article writing advice, for newspapers of new media.

Samuel Franklin (author) on January 02, 2010:

@mysticmama lm: The newspaper is definetly dying. People just dont realise that article writing on the web is so similar to that of newspaper article writing. I also have a feature article lens that is even better suited for those looking to touch up on their article writing skills.

Bambi Watson on January 02, 2010:

Great journalism advice, though I'm afraid newspapers are a dying breed & will soon go the way of VHS & cassettes lol...This advice is still very helpful for internet article writing!