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close this bookDENIVA News - Uganda Since World Summit on Social Development - 1995 (DENIVA, 1999, 34 p.)
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View the documentBasic Guidelines to News Writing
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Basic Guidelines to News Writing

1. Write on something that is interesting or unique. For example: “Dog bites man” is not news but “Man bites dog” is hot news.

2. Make sure your article contains the “5W and H”. These are: What, When, Where, Why, Who, and How.

3. Use simple words. Avoid long and complicated words that would refer the reader to the dictionary. The key purpose of writing is to be understood not to impress.

4. Keep sentences and paragraphs relatively short. Long sentences and paragraphs are difficult to understand. Short sentences, written in the active voice, and using specific and concrete language are easier to understand. Limit your sentences to less than 20 words. Discuss only one or two ideas in each paragraph.

5. Balanced information: Your article should not be biased. Both sides of the story should be heard. In order to achieve this, the writer should be objective.

6. Use all your five senses as you write. What do you see of the situation? Do you hear anything? What does it taste like? Do you feel it? What is its smell? This will generate a rich and interesting article, Show, do not tell.

7. News is most interesting to the audience it is;

a) Timely: The more recent an event is, the more interest it arouses.

b) Nearness: The nearer an event is to the reader, the more important it is to him/her.

c) Prominence: Important people make big news. Is the person a president or village chief?

d) Unusualness: Anything out of the ordinary is news worthy.

e) Significance: The importance of an event as news depends upon how many people it affects and for how long.

f) Human Interest: News must be on “real life” experiences so that the reader identifies himself with the people involved.

g) Universality: It should have a world wide appeal such as coverage on health, politics, religious issues.

h) Conflict: Life is often made of conflict. People are interested in hearing about opposition, struggles or clashes. Feed your audience with what their ears are itching to hear.

8. Always remember that practice makes perfect. Start writing, continue writing and the sky will be the limit.

Good Luck!

DENIVA News

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