How to Write a Great 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 articles provide information on current events and issues.
- How to Write a Newspaper Article
Clear instructions from journalist Mia Carter.
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.
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).
Newspaper articles should be objective, factual, accurate and balanced.
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
Examples and Samples
Language Features: The Headline
Headlines convey information and attract attention using the following:
- Short phrases and incomplete sentences
- Figurative language
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
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
This book is a great reference for journalists (or aspiring journalists) and is a book that you will read, read again and then continue to read. Even for the non-journalist, this book will greatly increase your writing skills and give you insight into just how much research goes into the big headline newspaper articles.
Improve your general writing skills while also learning how to effectively edit your work.
Steps to Writing a Newspaper Article
-What's the focus?
-Provide important facts.
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.
Newspaper Author. "Article Name." Name of Newspaper [City] Publication Date, Newspaper Section (Sports, Weather, Editorial): Page Number of Article.
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.