Don’t start sentences with numerals. Check AP style on this. Only exception is when you use a year to start a sentence…and that also should be avoided.
If you must start sentence with a number, like someone’s age, spell it out.
Wrong: 18-year-old Joe Doe said…..
Right: Eighteen-year-old Joe Doe said….
2. News does NOT happen in chronological order. Often, what happened last at an event is the most newsworthy. Think of sporting events or congressional hearings or trials. The beginning and middle are OK, but what do you and most readers really care about? The final score, the final vote, the last answer during tense questioning, the verdict.
3. Don’t rely on your human sources for info you can get from the actual source document or organization. For example, if someone starts quoting from the U.S. Constitution, don’t say that Joe Doe says the Constitution includes a provision that protects XXX. You can quote or paraphrase him and then find the Constitution online…or even in a real library…and confirm it for yourself and your readers.
If a source tells you PETA is now all for people eating meat, wouldn’t you call PETA for comment or at least go to that group’s Web site? You should do that even if the information does not sound odd when someone references another group or organization.
4. A reminder on punctuating quotes. Commas, periods, etc. go inside the quote mark.
Wrong: “I hate Dan’s Comm 421 class”, she said.
Right: “I love Dan’s Comm 421 class,” she said.