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News Writing – What Reporters Need to Know

News writing is the process of harnessing the materials that have been gathered in a logical, accurate, concise, coherent and readable manner.

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Before a reporter writes news, it is expected that he or she go through a process known as news gathering. This will enable him or her gather the raw materials that make up the news. The reporter will however be familiar with the various beats that may be assigned to him or her such as the Judiciary, the State or National Assembly, the State House, Police Station, and so on.

News materials are gathered from government activities, economic matters, social and political policies which are straightforward in nature and are classified as hard news, since the reporter is obligated to report the event exactly as they happened. Also in the straightforward news stories, there are the soft news and the human interest news stories.

These include the news stories that give room for leisure and entertainment. They are concerned with stories on the lighter side of life such as social functions which include celebrations, commissioning of projects, marriages, funerals, and other forms of ceremonies.

The human interest stories deal with stories that either entertain or bring about sadness or happiness. These are stories that are meant to arouse the feelings of the viewer. These stories are normally accounts of people or organization’s achievements, air crashes or hijacks, adventures, disasters, marriages, intriguing reports, and so on.

Since news stories are stories which are either expected or unexpected, the reporter is expected to equally make news from investigative stories, interpretative stories, in-depth stories and interviews. It is incumbent on every reporter to help the general public understand the storyline of a report especially in the case of budget speech which carries a lot of figures and statistics. It is the work of a reporter to breakdown the figures for easy understanding and digestion of the general public.

In interviews, it should be noted that getting information from people concerning specific events or issues is very hard. In that case, the reporter or interviewer should be able to employ techniques that would enable him or her to succeed in this area. It is very important that you know your interviewee before hand; find out certain facts about him that would help set you on a good footing. It would be necessary if you could go through some literature about him, and carry with you not just a mental but listed number of questions to be asked.

The points a reporter jots down in the cause of doing his or her job are the materials that make up his or her news stories. The exercise is what is known as news gathering. It precedes news writing. A reporter who wants to succeed in the art of news writing must be hardworking, intelligent enough to put to good use available materials and write them while the news is still fresh in the mind.