Think of journalistic writing as an inverted pyramid. The top contains only one or two sentences with
the most important information first; this is called the lead (pronounced
leed and sometimes spelled "lede"). Next, a little more
information is given about the story, and so on, until all of the information
has been given.
"An example of a regular pyramid story might
be an old-fashioned mystery where the reader is introduced to more and
more important clues as he or she reads on," says Rich Cameron, the
chair of the journalism department at Cerritos College in California.
"It is only after collecting all of those clues that the reader can
finally begin to solve the mystery."
"With an inverted pyramid story we give away the solution (or in
our case a summary) at the very beginning. The rest of the story contains
less and less important information until we just stop," says Cameron.
Tone: Your job
as a reporter is to report facts and the opinions of others and to leave
your own opinions out of the story. The term for introducing your own
opinion into a story is called editorializing – try not to do
Multiple Sources: The
more people you talk to, the better the article. You can use direct
quotes or paraphrase what someone says, but always remember to identify
who says what.
Sentence Length: Sentences
should have an average of 20-28 words. This is an average, so you don’t
need to spend time counting; just be aware that sentences and paragraphs
are much shorter than what you’ve been taught with composition.
Terms to Know:
5W1H: Always answer
the who, what, why, where, when, and how of the news article.
Lead: The opening
of a story, usually a summary of the most important information.
Headline: A title
or attention grabber above the body of an article. The author of the
story usually does not write the headline.
Angle: A particular
point of view or way of looking at a subject.
that your facts are correct. Amy, Aymee, and Amie are all pronounced
the same way and can be easily misspelled. Look up the names of specific
people and places and anything else you are presenting as fact to be
sure you are stating the truth.
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