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About News Stories:

Inverted Pyramid -- Writing a news story or news brief:


Note: Use these sections for the GAP assignment.


News story writing style is different from an essay. It's like an inverted pyramid: all the main facts are first.





Lead Rules in Brief:

  1. In the first thirty (30) words tell "what," "when," and "where."  --- first sentence
  2. In the first seven (7) words tell what happened (verb).
  3. Make what happened-the verb- an action verb.
  4. If there is a "who," --
    1. tell the who with a description if no one would recognize the name (no name)
    2. tell the name of the who if the name is recognizable by the readers
      1. who -- an elderly Bismarck man
      2. who is famous/recognized -- basketball star Michael Jordan
  5. Include "how" and "why" if short; otherwise tell it later in the story.
  6. If the facts are facts -- write them.  If the facts are disputable or questionable, cite the source.
    1. Ann Hat, spokesperson for Michael Jordan, said...



Tips on Writing the News Story:

  • Never use “I” or “we” in a hard news story.
  • Keep sentences short.
  • Write each paragraph as a single thought. A paragraph may be one sentence long.
  • Try not to start every sentence with the word The.
  • Be sure of your facts, the rule of thumb is when in doubt, leave it out.
  • Check the spellings of names and places.
  • Always use a person’s full name (Joe Smith) the first time you mention him or her. On the second reference you can write Mr. Smith or just Smith.
  • Use quotes in the story.
  • Be fair and don’t just tell one side of a story. Make an effort to present other views. 1


How do you choose a news story?



The News Project


Source: Write Source 2000 page 167-174.

Select for "news value"--Does your story have:


Groups will discuss, explain, and provide examples for:


WS p. 169


Impact   (importance)


Closeness       (local angle)

Human Interest  




Does your story have impact?

Impact means; its a problem. He says it could make a differents in someones life. It is important to somebody. People want or need to know about it.


Sample story; Watch out for floods.


Does your story have timeliness?


Timeliness means it is happening now.


Now health insurance prices are fluctuating because of the uncertainty of the new health law.

Closeness       (local angle)

Does your story have closeness?


Local angle or closeness means that the news is exciting news that's happening locally (or in Nespelem).                                      

Example: a student got in an accident on the highway

Human Interest

Does your story have human interest?

Human interest means people like to read about individuals who have worked hard.



Sample story: an old lady who follows her doctors orders and walks around town because she caught pneumonia.


Subpages (2): GAP News Project