A personal note

If you are new to news writing, and the format seems really weird, don’t panic — yet.

When I was in graduate school — here at AU — a zillion years ago, I was unable to craft a lead for quite some time. I couldn’t get it! Not until I kept writing, writing, writing, and after I worked at the radio station, did the rhythm of a story settle into my brain. The best thing to do is practice. And to read very clear news writing by others.

I would suggest you read news stories on CNN, BBC and NPR. Journalists in those organizations write for broad audiences, and must be crisp and clear. Not that it is necessarily fun, but focus on breaking news about weather, crime, war, accidents, trials and more. They usually follow the same format: A news lead; a second paragraph that supports the lead; a third paragraph that offers context or a quote; a fourth paragraph that offers context or a quote, and so on.

Read the stories aloud until you hear the beat of a news story. I promise it will kick in.

Professor Eisman


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