Here are some characteristics of news outlined in Bender’s Reporting for the Media. Keep these in mind as you identify, and then prioritize the 5 W’s and H.
**Unusual or quirky — singularity
**Conflict or controversy
TYPES OF NEWS
Hard — happening now or about to happen. Think “breaking news.” Accuracy is always first priority but speed does count with these stories, especially in the 24/7 global news cycle/competition.
Soft — features or human interest stories. They should have a news hook, but often it is not immediate. These stories tend to take longer, but have a longer shelf life, or potential interest for readers over extended period of time. Look for universal themes in life…try to evoke emotion.
AVOID WORDY PHRASES:
In addition to=besides
Took a first place finish= ‘finished first’ or ‘won’
In support of=supports.
Dan Cat, president of the club= Club President Dan Cat, or Dan Cat, club president,…
USE STRONG VERBS
in acknowledgment of= acknowledged
in support of=supports
says or said, NOT claims, exclaims, explains, etc.
THAT VS. WHO
Use who for people. Many times don’t need the ‘that’ at all
AVOID THIS CONSTRUCTION:
‘when asked about;’ when questioned…
Just write what the person said and provide needed context so it makes sense.
AVOID PASSIVE VOICE:
Bad: The ball was hit by the batter. Good: The batter hit the ball.
Use the “find” function on your word processing program and search for ‘by’ and ‘of.’ Many times you can rework sentences and get rid of passive voice/unneeded words based on those two alone.