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How to Write a Great Newspaper Article

Updated on November 12, 2015

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.

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

Language Features: The Headline

Headlines convey information and attract attention using the following:

  • Short phrases and incomplete sentences
  • Figurative language
  • Stereotypes
  • Exaggeration

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

Using Visuals

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

The Associated Press Guide to News Writing
The Associated Press Guide to News Writing

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

-Brainstorm ideas.

-What's the focus?

-Research extensively.

-Provide important facts.

-Use pictures.

-Persuade readers.

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.

  • MLA:

    Newspaper Author. "Article Name." Name of Newspaper [City] Publication Date, Newspaper Section (Sports, Weather, Editorial): Page Number of Article.

  • APA:

    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.

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    • profile image

      suzi 6 months ago

      yes! its really nice

    • profile image

      elphus ntsako 18 months ago

      This site helped me a lot.. I now have a clue on how to prepare viewers about what dey a going see in my article

    • profile image

      shakir 21 months ago

      really helpful for new writers

    • profile image

      neelraj 21 months ago

      very nice, thankyou sir.

    • profile image

      Eke J Onyekwere 23 months ago

      Thanks it's helpful

    • profile image

      anonymous 2 years ago

      very informative thnkx really helped a lot with my homework

    • JennyDelToro profile image

      DinoMommy 2 years ago

      Great article, thanks for the info!

    • profile image

      kat 2 years ago

      this is awesome! thank you so much for posting it. wish my teacher would have given us something like this to work from ...

    • RestlessKnights profile image

      RestlessKnights 3 years ago

      I've written magazine articles, but not so much for the newspapers.

    • evawrites1 profile image

      evawrites1 3 years ago

      Thanks, this is very informative.

    • Evelina Sa profile image

      Evelina 3 years ago from London / Frankfurt / Vilnius

      I find it difficult in general to write anything :) no matter if it's a tweet, facebook post, blog post, article or anything :)

    • poemsthatdance profile image

      Maria Grujicic 3 years ago from Darwin, Australia

      Very informative- Thank you. :)

    • profile image

      my-home-corner 3 years ago

      A helpful guide. Thank you for the tips. :)

    • profile image

      kepezzo 3 years ago

      will put it in my favourites. thnx .

    • seodress profile image

      seodress 3 years ago

      Great videos.

    • profile image

      OILDALE1 3 years ago

      nice lense. very informative

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      very helpful I will definitely get top marks in my homework

    • profile image

      DavidTucker 4 years ago

      Awesome practical hints. I'm certain that most of these tips will work for not only newspaper articles, but for blog posts as well.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      So helpful now i will get through my exam no problems

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      indeed, this site exposed me to more information i had needed to back up my assignments in school! Great work... Austine from PLASU, NIGERIA

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