Newspaper articles, in my opinion, are the easiest to write out of all the writing types. The reason for this is because you always already know what the central idea of your piece is, i.e. the event that has just happened that you want to write about. Although being somewhat limited on what you can write about since you can’t let your imagination run wild, it does save a lot of energy in terms of crafting on and on about what your subject should be.
Another reason why newspaper articles are dead easy to write about is because examples are everywhere. Literally everywhere. Just go downstairs to your nearest convenience store to pick up an example from a professional writer – for stuff like writing speeches and proposals, examples like these are much harder to find. Usually you just end up with student-written examples with decent grades; it’s usually not what a pro would write like. In case you haven’t gotten my message yet from reading what I just wrote: go and get yourself a newspaper and start reading already.
Now onto how to actually write one – it helps it if you have some kind of article to refer to while you read this. First of all, you have to identify what you’re going to write about. In other words, the nature of the event you’re writing about. Economics? Crime? Psychology? Chemistry? Nobel Prize awards? With different subjects in mind, there are different ways to approach how you should make a point in an article (I’ll mention a bit more about this near the end!)
Like many other pieces, the typical article has an introduction, body and conclusion. Chronological order. However, some articles do like to go in reverse chronological order, for example, if they’re talking about something caused by a historic event. You also need a title and usually a subtitle, like a slightly more elaborated version of the title right under it. Titles in these articles are different – you basically summarize the entire event in less than ten words, and your subtitle is around 20 words. So let’s say you have a criminal breaking out of prison. You can have something like “Desperado smashes out of bars” and your subtitle could be “At 7:32a.m. yesterday, a murderer was missing from his cell which was found with three of its bars broken”. Note how firstly I picked fancy words like “desperado”, which basically means “outlaw” to catch the readers attention. The word “smashes” implies violence, and using “bars” basically means “prison” when you associate it with “desperado”. In my subtitle, I specified the time, what the person was (i.e. a murderer) and elaborated on my title in terms of the “smashes out of bars”. Remember – if your title doesn’t catch the reader’s attention, there’s next to zero hope that they’ll read on.
Now moving onto the introduction. Newspaper articles, in a sense, are like pyramids. The title is very brief, moving onto perhaps a subtitle which elaborates more, and then the introduction which gives the full explanation. You would expect that this is the task of the main body – I personally think that the main body is more like an evaluation and analysis of what happened. In the example mentioned earlier, your introduction can be about who discovered him missing and the name of the person missing added onto the information provided in the subtitle. Alternatively, you don’t have to include a subtitle – just say everything in the introduction.
In the main body, you start to gather together your information on what you have found out. A testimony of the person who discovered the murderer was missing, a possible explanation by one of the officers about how he could have escaped, various precautions to take, what other inmates think, speculations of what the desperado will do, what actions the police will take to hunt him down, etc. Each of those points can be a paragraph when you look at how the writers at BBC do their job.
Last of all, the conclusion. Perhaps to your surprise, this is sometimes an optional section. Articles are products of a writer made to inform the target audience, and the writer itself is usually not supposed to have any personal involvement (although there are some exceptions, as always). If I were to conclude with the above example, I would write about future measures the police will take and the punishments the murderer will be given after getting caught again. This is because I prefer to write chronologically, where I firstly write about the present, and then I move on to future events.
Unlike short stories, articles are concise and to-the-point. BBC articles are wonderful examples are these. Describe your event, what it means, what it may represent (e.g. culture, religion, background information, historic links, etc.) and what could become of it. Articles on the internet are usually shorter than those in real newspapers. Here, you should also pay attention to whether you’re writing for a broadsheet or a tabloid newspaper, because your style can change greatly depending on the purpose of your writing. If you’re not sure what this means, I highly recommend you to look it up.
Here are two common ways you can back up a point in an article. If you can think of more, feel free to leave it in the comments below and I’ll add it in!
- Statistics relevant to the point made
- Quotes from people involved in the event
Usually I include two specific examples at the end of my posts, but as I said before, examples can be found all over the place. Just Google it!