Before you start
Make sure you have an interesting and newsworthy topic. Ask yourself: who would read it and who would benefit from the information you are providing? Make sure you’re bringing something new to the table – is it new information? Or is there an update on an existing case? Or a different, unexplored angle?
The 5 Ws and H
The 5 Ws and H are the main questions that you need to answer within the article. Before writing the story, you need to be able to answer Who, What, Where, When and Why? And not forgetting the H – How? After finishing the story, always go back and make sure these have been covered.
The inverted pyramid
This is a journalism metaphor which helps front load the story. The reader needs to be given the story within the first three sentences. The best way to do this is to start with the conclusion, and then build up on the evidence that shows how said conclusion has been reached. Subs and journalists cut from the bottom up – so the least important information is always at the bottom of a story.
Building the pyramid
Start the story with the ‘Lead’ -the most important information which will make the reader want to keep reading. This section is normally between one and three sentences and will give the answers to the 5 Ws and H.
The ‘Lead’ is used to paint a picture of the story and hook the reader’s attention.
Next comes the ‘Body’ of the story. Now is the time to elaborate on the story and add extra detail to the picture. Quotes here work wonders, make sure you cover every side of the story (or as many as possible).
The final part of the story, the ‘Tip’ of the pyramid, is there to provide additional details, background information and any links for additional information.