How to Write a News Article


News articles report on current events that are relevant to the readership of a publication. These current events might take place locally, nationally, or internationally.

News writing is a skill that’s used worldwide, but this writing format—with its unique rules and structure—differs from other forms of writing. Understanding how to write a news story correctly can ensure you’re performing your journalistic duty to your audience.

What is a news article?

A news article is a writing format that provides concise and factual information to a reader. News stories typically report on current affairs that are noteworthy—including legislation, announcements, education, discoveries or research, election results, public health, sports, and the arts.

Unlike blog and opinion posts, a strong news article doesn’t include personal opinion, speculation, or bias. Additionally, the diction and syntax should be accessible to any reader, even if they’re not deeply familiar with the topic. News stories, therefore, don’t contain jargon that you might find in a research paper or essay.

What are the rules for writing a news article?

Whether you’re learning how to write a short news story for a school assignment or want to showcase a variety of clips in your writing portfolio, the rules of news writing hold true.

There are three types of news articles:

  • Local: reports on current events of a specific area or community. For example, “College Football Team Welcomes Legendary NFL Coach” or “School District Announces New Grading Policy.”
  • National: reports on current affairs within a particular country. For example, “NASA’s James Webb Telescope Captures Surreal Images of the Cosmos.”
  • International: reports on social issues or current affairs of one or more countries abroad. For example, “UK’s Record Heat Wave Expected to Continue Next Week.”

Regardless of the type of news article you’re writing, it should always include the facts of the story, a catchy but informative headline, a summary of events in paragraph form, and interview quotes from expert sources or of public sentiment about the event. News stories are typically written from a third-person point of view while avoiding opinion, speculation, or an informal tone.

How is a news article structured?

While many news stories are concise and straightforward, long-form or deeply investigated pieces may comprise thousands of words. On the shorter side, news articles can be about 500 words. 

When it comes to how to structure a news article, use an inverted pyramid. Organizing your content this way allows you to thoughtfully structure paragraphs:

  • Begin with the most important and timely information
  • Follow those facts with supporting details
  • Conclude with some less important—but relevant—details, interview quotes, and a summary

The first paragraph of a news article should begin with a topic sentence that concisely describes the main point of the story. Placing this sentence at the beginning of a news article hooks the reader immediately so the lede isn’t buried. 

At a traditional newspaper, this practice is described as “writing above the fold,” which alludes to the biggest, most pressing news being visible at the top of a folded newspaper. 

How to write a news article

There are a handful of steps to practice when writing a news story. Here’s how to approach it.

1
Gathering information

Source the five Ws about your news topic: who, what, where, when, and why. Lock down a keen understanding of the timeline of events so you can correctly summarize the incident or news to your reader. The key is to position yourself as a credible and reliable source of information by doing your due diligence as a fact gatherer.

2
Interviewing subjects

Consider who you want to interview for the new article. For example, you might choose to interview primary sources, such as a person who is directly involved in the story. 

Alternatively, secondary sources might offer your readers insight from people close to or affected by the topic who have unique perspectives. This might be an expert who can offer technical commentary or analysis, or an everyday person who can share an anecdote about how the topic affected them.

When interviewing sources, always disclose that you’re a reporter and the topic that you’re writing on.

3
Outlining

Draft an outline for your news article, keeping the inverted-pyramid structure in mind. Consider your potential readership and publication to ensure that your writing meets the audience’s expectations in terms of complexity. 

For example, if this news article is for a general news publication, your readership might include a wider audience compared to a news article for a specialized publication or community.

Brainstorm a snappy headline that concisely informs readers of the news topic while seizing their interest. Gather the most important points from your research and pool them into their respective pyramid “buckets.” These buckets should be based on their order of importance.

4
 
Writing

Get to writing! The paragraphs in a news article should be short, to the point, and written in a formal tone. Make sure that any statements or opinions are attributed to a credible source that you’ve vetted. 

5
 
Revising

Reread your first draft aloud. In addition to looking for obvious typos or grammar mistakes, listen for awkward transitions and jarring tense or perspective shifts. Also, consider whether your first draft successfully conveys the purpose of your news story.

Rework your writing as needed and repeat this step. Don’t forget to proofread your work.

6
Fact-checking

Strong news stories are built on facts. If any statement or information is shaky or unsupported, the entire work is compromised. Before publishing a news article, double-check that all the information you’ve gathered from the beginning is accurate, and validate the information that your interview sources provided, too. 

How to write a news article FAQs

What is a news article? 

A news article informs readers within a community of current events that are relevant to them. It typically revolves around a topic of interest within a publication’s readership, whether the information is about local, national, or international events.

How is a news article structured?

News articles are structured like an inverted pyramid. The most important or crucial information is always presented to the reader up front, followed by additional story details. A news article concludes with less important supporting information or a summation of the reporting. 

What are the rules for writing a news article?

The general rules for writing a news article involve accuracy and integrity. Report on the details of a story in a factual, unbiased, and straightforward way. When writing a news article, do not editorialize or sensationalize the information, and keep your content free of your opinion. 



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