How to write an informative article

1) What to write? What’s new?

The term “new” is apparently easy to define. All this happens around us again: current events, time issues, new projects or initiatives. But a newspaper does not only publish the news of the day. It also publishes more analysis, opinions and articles of human interest.

Recognizing what will be good news can be more difficult.

The journalist must choose between the flow of information and the events that come to him from his community and from around the world. Its usual criteria are: size, movement capacity, topicality and interest. Please note that these factors are not necessarily all present simultaneously in every item!

2) “Hard News” or “Soft News”? In-depth articles or reports?

The “hard news” sections (approximately 600 words) are the recent event or incident log. They make up most of the new in a normal day.

The beginning (first paragraph) summarizes the facts. What happened? Where? When? Who / by whom? Why? This summary should be very brief. The rest of the text is there to give details.

The wording must be clear and concise. Above all, it should provide readers with the information they need. If the federal government announced a new program of great importance for young people yesterday, that is good news for today.

The “soft news” sections (approximately 600 words) are a common feature of not being connected to the news immediately. They can be portraits of people, profiles of organizations or programs. The primer here may be more literary.

Deep stories (about 1500 words) take a step back to the new one. They explore a question. Although they are further removed from the immediate present, journalism is equally important. They can be a good way to explore topics that are too complex for the telegraphic style of a new topic. Example: a report on homeless youth. A longer text will reflect the complexity of your individual stories.

Deep stories are at the heart of journalism. A good story to give life back to your community, its struggles, its victories and its defeats. A background report chooses an angle (eg, young black men back to church) and is explored by interviewing the people involved and drawing conclusions from their statements. The author addresses the issue of the important moment and communicates it to the reader through the comments of the people involved.

Recommendation: Don’t forget to “balance” your text. Present different people’s points of view on an issue and let the reader choose who to believe. Your personal opinion should not appear. These are quotes from interviewees who produced the report. You are the narrator.

The editorial: An editorial expresses an opinion. The editorial page of a newspaper allows authors to express their own opinions. All editorials are personal, but should be of interest to the reader.

3) How to structure your text

News articles (“hard news” or “soft news”) and insightful stories have the same basic structure: an introduction, then the body text.

Introduction

The first paragraph or two are among the essential elements of a new text. Journalists call it the beginning (or “guide”). Its function is to summarize the content when it comes to news, to hook the reader, when it comes to general news.

In the “hard news”, the primer that follows is summarized and the 5 best questions of traditional journalism are answered (who, what, where, when and why). (Example: “Homeless youth voiced on Sherbrooke Street in Montreal, Wednesday afternoon, claiming emergency winter housing from the mayor.” Can you identify the 5 basic questions in this manual?)

In the “soft news”, the subject is presented in a less direct and more literary way. The author tries to capture the reader’s attention as a novelist would. (Example: “There are four years, Simon was sleeping on the street or under bridges?” Once the reader is hooked, the journalist answers 5 questions in the text, but not necessarily at the beginning.

Text body

It incorporates the opinions of the interviewees, some facts and its own narration that structures the text. However, be careful, you do not have the right to “editorialization, that is, to express your own views in any way in this type of article”.

Remind:

The role of a journalist is to discover and report on the different opinions of the people involved in a given situation. Your comments should represent the majority of the text. The narrative helps weave it all into a coherent whole. Recommendation: Do not treat one topic per article. There can be a variety of details, but they must all relate to the original idea. (Example: If you want to deal with black youth relationships with the police, you MUST NOT get lost in the biography of a particular youth.)

As journalists, you are the eyes and ears of the reader. Visual details are important to bring the text to life (for this, in-person interviews are always preferable to telephone interviews). You must also “feel” for yourself, that is, develop an understanding of the emotional context of the issue at hand and the opinions expressed by those involved.

Agree? Here are two examples that summarize each case essentially to cover.

Young people come together to form an organization. You must say why they do it and what changes they are trying to promote in society. You should also specify who they are and what strategies they plan to use.

An artist is exhibited for the first time. Why? Do you think that is art? Is your creative process rational or emotional? What works like yours?

4) Some other tips

How to find ideas:

* Keep your ears and eyes open, listen to what your friends are talking about.

* Read everything you have on hand, find ideas in other newspapers and magazines.

* Discover the opinions of young people in a matter of time.

* Work on a topic that interests you and you would like to learn more.

* Talk to the people involved in a particular area to see what makes it important.

How to find information

* Find articles on the topic.

* Tell your friends and associates.

* Contact associations and organizations specialized in the matter or interested in the subject.

* Get a list of people to interview, cover both sides of the story by interviewing people who have different points of view on the topic.

* Find government statistics and study old reports and press releases on the subject.

Dos and Don’ts in an Interview

* Always be courteous.

* Explain the basic rules for interviewing people who know how the media works. In other words, tell them that anything they say can and will be published. What if they want one or more parts of their statements not to be published? They must specify it absolutely.

* Save the interview (for a test if questioned).

* Build a relationship of trust with the interviewee.

* Start with easy questions, save more difficult for last.

* Pay attention to the body language of the interviewee, if a question is defensive, leave it to come back later.

* Never be aggressive.

* Maintaining control of the interview does not allow the interviewee to get lost in long speeches or get off topic.

* No, on the other hand, your preconceptions about what I should say color the interview. Always remember that the interviewee knows more about the subject than you do.

Information organization

* Gather your notes, interviews and searches in a single folder.

* Read them.

* Look for the common theme that comes up.

* Select quotes and interesting data.

* Expand the focus of your article.

* Summarize this axis in two or three sentences.

Writing and editing

* Remember that your role is to tell, to shape a story.

* Don’t be afraid to rewrite and correct.

* Write as clearly and concisely as possible.

* Adopt a direct style.

* Tell a good story.

* Give the reader what you think they want to know.

* Ask yourself what the specific topic of your article is.

* Read the article out loud, listen carefully.

* Look for the common theme that comes up.

* Select quotes and interesting data.

* Expand the focus of your article.

* Summarize this axis in two or three sentences.

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