Writing Articles For the School Newspaper

Writing articles for the school paper can be fun and interesting. You can be the journalist who covers the school’s basketball game or spring concert. Maybe you will go to school board meetings and report back to your fellow students on the decisions the board made. You might interview the principal about the new classrooms being built because the school is expanding. There are all kinds of stories waiting to be told by you. But writing stories for the newspaper is not the same as writing an English paper or poetry. Journalism has its own guidelines. The following will give you the basic guidelines and some ideas on how to make your stories shine.

The first paragraph. The first paragraph is the most important paragraph in a news article for it gives the most critical information about the story. Space is limited in newspapers so news articles present the most important information first. Subsequent paragraphs contain information in order of descending importance. This allows the editor the option of shortening any story to fit the space available by cutting from the bottom.

Who, what, where, when, and, maybe, why, and how. In the first paragraph include all the basic facts of the news story. Who did what? Where did the event occur? When did it happen? Sometimes explaining why and how helps the reader understand more about the importance of the event or helps the reader connect to the story. For example, pretend you were covering your school’s basketball game last Friday night. Here is how the first paragraph of the story might appear. The comments in parentheses show the basic facts.

In a knuckle-bitingly close (how) game (what), the Cassadaga Cougars (who) topped the Independence 76ers (who) by 1 slim point last Friday night (when) on the 76ers’ home court (where). The final score was 68 to 67. Senior Langston Barnard led the scoring with 22 points.

Make the story interesting. There are several techniques you can use to make your story interesting to your reader which will be covered in the next few paragraphs. The first technique is quotes. People want to know what others have to say about the event. You can quote experts, celebrities, or the ordinary Joe. Following up on our example above, you might interview the coach, some of the players, the school principal, or people in the stands. You could also generate interest by explaining the importance of the event in relation to other things. Continuing on with our example, you could talk about where the team now stands in the rankings or how this game’s performance compared to other games this season.




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