Showing posts with label Media Writing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Media Writing. Show all posts

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

News Writing: five W's and one 'H'


Human beings are curious by nature. They are airways looking for new things fresh information about anything and everything that interests them. Most media of mass communication have by and large been instrumental in satisfying the curiosities of human beings. Newspapers, magazines, books, radio, television and several other mass media have been endeavoring to gather information and disseminate that information to the people looking for such information.
The most important need that these mass media fulfill is of providing news latest news from the place one is located, news of the region, news of the nation, country and of course of the world. Thus the news is the most important input that anyone is looking from a mass medium. But, what is meant by news? What constitutes news? We shall discuss about this and related things in this lesson.


News is the major ingredient of most mass media. Newspapers, radio, and news channels depend on news to a great extent. So do many magazines and many lnternet portals. The fact that so many media provide news shows the importance of news. Here we shall learn about how news is written. We shall also focus on other news related write-ups. The content of this lesson shall be presented as follows:  
  • Definitions of News
  • Characteristics of News
  • Writing News
  • Structure of News Story Analysis
  • Backgrounder
  • Structure of Backgrounder
  • Difference between news analysis and background


Generally speaking, News is anything that is new. News is a report of an event that has just taken place. News is a detailed account that provides information or description. It could also include depiction, delineation, statement, and narration of a development event, or occurrence. The event is usually recent fresh or not known earlier.
According to George Hough of the University of Georgia U S. A. News is both a product and point of view. As a product, news is gathered processed, packaged. Newspapers, news services, news magazines, radio, television and cable station' and networks then present news to their respective audiences.
News is something that at a particular moment happens to attract and hold the interest of the reader, or listener. A news story is a fair, accurate, concise, balanced account of a current event that is of interest to a majority of people. The trouble with news is that it does not remain newsworthy for long.
Several newspapers, editors, news reporters’ eminent journalists and many media educators have attempted to define news, but these definitions have not always met the test of the time. Some of these are:
  • News is anything out of the ordinary.
  • News is anything published in a newspaper, which interests a large number of people.
  • News is what newspaper people make
  • Good news is not news
  • News is anything a big shot said.
  • News and truth is not the same thing
  • The function of news is to signal an event.
  • News is any recent, up to date information of an event received from North, East, West and South (news)

The legendary American newspaper baron, Joseph Pulitzer, had his own definition of news. He once said that:
News should be: Original, Distinctive, Romantic, Thrilling; Unique, Curious, Quaint, Humorous, Odd, and Apt-to-be talked about.
A former managing editor of the New York Times, Turner Cateledge, described news as:
“Anything you can find out today that you didn't now before.”
In modern times, news-persons and media personalities are likely to define news in terms of what people, readers, listeners, viewers want to know.
Despite the several efforts to define the “newsworthiness” news still remains undefined. Perhaps, it is not amenable to a precise, pithy, definition or an easy explanation. But news has certain ingredients. Usually; the following are considered reliable ingredients or characteristics of news:
  • Timelines
  • Proximity
  • Prominence
  • Consequence
  • Human interest
  • Unusual events like mysteries,
  • Conflict,
  • Tragedies.

The following are different categories of news: novelty, personal impact money, crime, sex, magnitude, religion, disaster, humour, the underdog, science, entertainment, weather, food, minorities, fashion.


It is necessary to know that the purpose of news writing is to impart information. It has been stated that today’s news is tomorrow’s history. Therefore, it is imperative that news writing is done with a view to providing information that is correct, objective, fair, balanced, accurate, precise, and to the point. However, news writing is a skilled craft. Good reporters learn the craft and take it to the level of an art.
It cab be acquired by dint of hard work, dedication, understanding, sustained and prolonged practice over a period of time. For being successful, one has to have a nose for news, besides being equipped with qualities of head and heart. In order to do effective news writing, one should be particularly skilled and discriminative at keenly observing, hearing and seeing things events, and people, keeping notes and making mental record finding information sources. It also involves asking-relevant questions; checking, counter-checking, crosschecking, and double-checking information. It requires the capability of fairly and impartially analyzing and interpreting information so collected.
For news writing, one has to inculcate a strict discipline of writing in the required style, with a View to conveying maximum information using minimum words.
Ordinarily, a complete news item, when written professionally, should answer the following six questions:
WHO - is or are involved?
WHEN-did the event take place?
WHERE -did the event take place?
WHY -did it take place?
WHAT -did actually take place? and
HOW -did it take place?

News Writing five W's and one 'H'
five W's and one 'H'
These questions are known, as the five W’s and one H. These questions are the heart and soul of a well and properly written news item. Again, a news item will have a wide impact if it Interests people directly;