News is any information that has the potential to inform and educate. It is also an important part of our culture, providing us with insights into the world we live in and how the world might work. It is good to tune in to a variety of news sources and to read a range of different newspapers, radio programs and television shows to get a fuller understanding of how the same information can be presented differently across media.
The most important aspect of any news article is the headline. This should be catchy, emotion evoking and create curiosity. The headline should then lead the reader into the story, answering any questions they might have as quickly as possible. A good way to begin the writing is to answer the 5 W’s – who, what, where, when and why.
Once the main facts are established it is helpful to add some drama – perhaps an interview with an eyewitness or a dramatic image. It is also useful to include some tension or controversy to the story to keep the readers interest.
Often the event itself may not be very exciting. For example, scientists may report that an insect has just been found living on a plant that it did not previously inhabit. Although the discovery is new and unusual, it would be unlikely to interest people outside of a specialist audience.
It is useful to ask yourself why the news is important and how it will affect people. Also, to be aware that the news may be a biased viewpoint of the events or a propaganda tool. This is why it is important to teach students about the differences between newspaper, magazine and television news articles as well as online and social media sources.