Tips in News Writing
1. Use the 3rd person point of view
Unlike in feature writing where one can use the 1st person, 2nd, and 3rd approach, news stories should be in the 3rd person only because news are events that are reported to the people basically for information.
“Former Philippine President Corazon Aquino was laid to rest, Aug. 5, which was made as national holiday to give chance to all Filipinos to sympathize with the bereaved family and to ponder on the legacy of faith and freedom left by Cory to the nation.”
NOT this: (2nd person)
“You must have attended President Cory’s funeral, one significant event in Philippine history. (except when the story is a news feature.)
NOT this: (1st person)
“I tied a yellow ribbon to each post in my house as my unique way of expressing my sentiments and appreciation for what Cory has done for the country.”
This could be a part of a diary or if it were a quoted remark, source should be cited and be made a part of a news feature.
2. Use adjectives sparingly.
You can use all the adjectives that you want in feature writing but NOT in the News. Adjectives and other descriptive words connote opinion and subjectivity which is contrary to, of course, objectivity, which is a quality needed in news, particularly in straight news reporting.
Though, it is alright to say “…the big tremor of 1990…” since it was really a strong or big (intensity 7) earthquake which was experienced in 1990.
But NOT in this case: “The beautiful principal explained the meaning of BESRA, which is Basic Education Sector Reform Agenda.”
The use of the adjective “beautiful” is NOT proper if this statement were to be a part of the news report, unless it is a quoted statement.
3. The straight news story follows the inverted pyramid structure – that is – facts are arranged according to diminishing importance – from the top or beginning (most important data) to the concluding part (least important details).
4. The news story may also start with feature leads, such as the following:
a. Quotation Lead: “The Filipinos are worth it.” – Kris Aquino. (referring to the love (0f country)/ sacrifices made by her parents, Ninoy and Cory Aquino)
b. Question Lead: “Will Kris enter politics, too?”
c. Staccato Lead: “Yellow roses. Yellow ribbons. Yellow balloons. Yellow T-shirts. Yellow confetti. All these dominated Cory’s last day on earth; and all these signify love for Cory from the Filipino nation and even the world.”
d. Descriptive Lead: “Yellow ribbons hug every post. Patriotic songs linger the air waves. Even Dawn’s ‘Tie a Yellow Ribbon” comes alive. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) offers a volley of fire. Eight canon balls continuously blasting, one every thirty minutes until sunset. Philippine flags, half-mast. Tears flooded the nation. The worldwide icon of democracy just passed away. “ (CHIT-chats)
e. Punch Lead: “Beware of young terrorists!” (students who are vindictive over failing grades)
f. Parody Lead: “Tying a yellow ribbon under the ole oak tree…as a message of love to Cory was one of the commonplace sights during the bloodless EDSA revolution and Cory’s passing away recently.”
5. Timeliness is an indispensable news value. So it is important to present the fresh angle or the newest angle of the event.