Writing News Stories

[About news articles] [Sample article]

News stories or articles have certain "rules" that govern their format.

  • New stories give mostly factual information, but not the writer's opinion.

  • News stories are written in third person voice, never first or second.

  • News articles begin with a short, first paragraph, usually just one sentence that gives the reader the most important, most interesting, or most unusual of the 5 W's and 1 H: who, what, when, where, why and how. This sentence is called a lede. Good ledes almost never begin with "when" or "where." Also, good ledes do not begin with articles like "the," "a," or "an."

  • News articles include many direct quotations from people the reporter interviewed in order to get facts. See the sample story to understand how to put these quotations in the story. A direct quotation should be used by the fourth paragraph.

  • When a quotation is used, begin a new paragraph. Use the word "said" when you add a person's name for a quotation. The quotation comes first and is given in quotation marks. Then, the person's name comes next (full name on first reference, meaning the first time you use that person's name, and last name only each time you quote that person following the first time), then said. For example: "It was the most amazing thing I ever saw," Ron Weasley said. It's also good to include information about the person, like their job title or organization affiliation. See the sample story.

  • News paragraphs are short, usually one or two sentences at most. They are not constructed like typical essay paragraphs.

  • Information in news articles is given in order of importance. The most important information comes first, the next most important goes next, and so on until the least important at the end.

  • A news writer never concludes the news story with a personal comment at the end. A reporter's opinion is not to be included in the news story. Articles that allow for opinion are editorials, columns, or even letters to the editor.

  • News stories have headlines that summarize the main idea of the story. There may be a subhead that gives more details. The reporter's name is given in a byline: by your name (remember, no last names on your web page).

  • News stories are printed in columns. See your local newspaper to see the format but also to read the stories to use as further examples.


First year defeats 'He Who Must Not Be Named'

Harry Potter saves the Sorcerer's Stone

by Iris Danderfluff

In a display of amazing courage, first year Hogwarts student, Harry Potter, defeated the evil dark Lord Voldemort last night after a courageous descent through Fluffy's trap door and other security measures devised to protect the life giving sorcerer's stone.

"They got past Fluffy all right," said Rubeus Hagrid, who first brought the three-headed beast to Hogwarts to stand guard at the trap door. "I should'na told em about music and Fluffy's weakness under its spell, but I guess it were good I did."

"I had been knocked unconscious in the wizard's chess game," friend Ron Weasley said. "So, I couldn't help much, but Harry pushed on though. He was fearless."

"I don't think I was fearless," Potter said. "I was very afraid. When I saw Voldemort's face on the back of Quirrell's head, I have to admit I was pretty queasy. I know that my courage came from Dumbledore. He always seems to know when I need help," Potter said.

Hermoine Granger admitted that the three had believed all along that Professor Severus Snape was out to steal the Sorcerer's Stone. They were surprised to learn that it was Quirrell who was in league with Voldemort.

"We even thought Snape was bewitching Harry to make him fall off his broomstick during the Quidditch match, but it ended up it was Quirrell," Granger said.

Even though he is in his first year at Hogwarts, Potter has a long history with the school.

He is the son of James and Lily Potter who were murdered in the dark lord's scheme for power. After his birth, the infant Potter was given over to the care of his muggle relatives, the Dursleys. But now the promising wizard is back home where he belongs.

"We knew he was a wizard of incomparable courage from the moment we saw him emerge from that

horrific event, scarred yes, but marked for greatness with that lightening bolt upon his head," Albus Dumbledore, Hogwarts Headmaster said.

"Harry Potter and his friends, Miss Granger and Mr. Weasley, saved the entire Hogwarts family from who knows what evil that day. We all are truly grateful. Besides their courage, these three earned Gryffindor house enough points to win them the house cup this year," Dumbledore said.

"Yes, yes. We are all quite proud of our new seeker's special courage," Gryffindor's McGonnegal said of Potter. "When I first saw how he handled his broomstick, on the very first try, I knew he was a marvel. Seems his talents extend beyond the Quidditch field as well," she said.

"All Gryffindors should be proud to have Potter in their house," McGonnegal said.

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