News writing means preparing a draft or copy for print media or writing a script for broadcast media. News writing can be for any kind of news media. News writing is an art. It requires certain qualities and skill to write news in a proper way. Various principles have been practiced since the initial phase of journalism. Such principles help the audiences to receive the information more effectively.
The very famous and widely used principle of news writing is the KISS (Keep it Short and simple) principle. It is regarded as the principal principle of news writing. According to this principle news should be short and simple. It should be short enough to provide necessary information at once and the sentences should be simple without the use of unfamiliar words.
There are various other principles of news writing suggested by various scholars of journalism. Melvin Mencher suggests that one must start to write only after knowing what s/he wants to say. According to him, for good writing, we must write the way we talk, use action verbs, and short sentences with subject-verb-object structure. The use of adjectives and adverbs, unfamiliar words, jargons should be avoided.
Robert Gunning’s principle for news gathering and News writing focuses on using colloquial words, function-oriented sentences, imaginable words and diversity. It suggests writing to express, not to impress.
In Rules of Good writing by Buck and O’Donnell, it is given that we should use passive voice in news only when it is necessary and avoiding verbs that end with –ize such as patronize, socialize, satirize etc. it suggest that one sentence should carry a single idea and using a shorter word instead of longer word with same meaning.
News structure refers to the way a news story is written. There are mainly three types of news structures practised in journalism. They are:
a) The Inverted Pyramid
c) Hourglass structure
The Inverted Pyramid:
The inverted pyramid is a structure of an inverted triangle. It is the structuring of news according to importance of interest. The starting or the lead is broader than the conclusion. The most important part of the story is put in the starting lead and as the news goes downward the least important or interesting information is put.
This technique is particularly important for web-writing, where audiences have low attention spans and readers more often scan, rather than read, entire articles.. Online writers use this technique for two important reasons: Firstly, so readers quickly decide whether or not to read the article and if they do decide to pass on it, they get all the key details. And secondly, having the best information and keywords close to the start of the page is good for Search Engine Optimization and for the reader.
In this structure of news, the news is structured on the basis of time. The happenings or details of the event are kept in order of time from starting to the finish. In the first paragraph we see the earliest activity whereas as we come to the last paragraph we can see the latest activity. This is an especially useful way of telling stories about sequences of events, rather than single events.
This structure is somewhat a mixture of the first two structures of writing. In this structure, the most important part of the news story is put as the lead like in the inverted pyramid. Then, the story is written in a chronological way according to the time. It is a hybrid structure of news writing. It takes shape of an hourglass which is broader at the beginning and smaller in the middle and again broader at the end.