Professional Technical Center

News Writing

Required for Everyone
If you are not writing a story for publication you must do these four
Newswriting Assignment.2 Bob Smith Jingle
Newswriting Assignment.3 Speech Competition
Newswriting Assignment.4 Farm Rewrite Story
Optional: Newswriting Assignment.5 Earthquake Story
If you are writing a story for publication you must do these
Inside Reporting; A practical Guide to the Craft of Journalism  — Tim Harrower 
Lots of incredible information 

Structure of a Newspaper Article


Each newspaper article has a title (called the headline) that is set in large type. The writer of a newspaper article is often not credited; if the author is mentioned, this credit is called the author's byline. 


The beginning of each newspaper article (the first paragraph) is called the lead (one or two sentences long); the lead should summarize the main facts of the article, telling the 5 W's (who, what, when, where, and why) and how. The first paragraph should also contain a hook, something that grabs the reader's attention and makes the reader want to read the rest of the article.


The nut graph is the paragraph that contains the core information about the story and tells the reader why the story is important.


The remainder of the article contains supporting paragraphs that go into more detail about the topic, often including quotes and interesting facts. The less important information should appear later in the article, since the article may be cropped (shortened) by the editor (the person who puts the newspaper together) to make the article fit on the newspaper page.


The reporter's opinions should not appear in the article - only the facts. Use clear and simple language. Keep the article short and to the point. Use active verbs (for example: Man bites dog) and not passive verbs (for example: Dog bitten by man).

Each picture, graph or illustration should have a caption describing or explaining it.

Inverted Pyramid

The inverted pyramid is a metaphor used by journalists and other writers to illustrate the placing of the most important information first within a text.

It is a common method for writing new stories and is widely taught to journalism students.

The "inverted"or upside-down "pyramid"can be thought of as a simple triangle with one side drawn horizontally at the top and the body pointing down.

The widest part at the top represents the most substantial, interesting, and important information the writer means to convey,illustrating that this kind of material should head the article, while the tapering lower portion illustrates that other material should follow in order of diminishing importance.

It is sometimes called a "summary news lead" style or "Bottom Line Up Front" or BLUF.

The format is valued because readers can leave the story at any point and understand it, even if they don't have all the details.

It also allows less important information at the end, where it can be removed by editors so the article can fit a fixed size - that is, it can be "cut from the bottom." This is known as the Cut Off Test.

Other styles are also used in news writing, including the "anecdotal lead," which begins the story with an eye-catching tale or anecdote rather than the central facts; and the Q&A, or question-and-answer format.

From Wikipedia:

Basic Inverted PyramidInverted p
Detailed Inverted Pyramid
Detailed Inverted Pyramid  

Purdue OWL Journalistic Writing: The Inverted Pyramid Structure PDF

Site Links:
Professional Education Organization International Ch. 5 Journalism Writing
Knol, a unit of knowledge: Newswriting: Inverted Pyramid by Yvette Lessard
Last Modified on January 26, 2015