What makes a story newsworthy?

  • Timeliness
  • Impact
  • Prominence
  • Proximity
  • Singularity
  • Conflict or Controversy

News stories must be objective, “or free of bias” (Bender et al. 136).

The Lead

A central point is a one- or two-sentence summary of what the story is about and why it is newsworthy.

How do you identify the central point in a huge historical event–such as Hurricane Katrina–when so many things are going on? Focus on important aspects of the event. Publish, in the same paper, multiple stories on the same historical event with different central points. With Hurricane Katrina, for example, write one story on the devastation and another on the government’s reaction.

Words must be simplistic, however, it cannot be slang. Do not use cliches.
Dependent words should be used in moderation, as they are potentially confusing.

News Story Body
Bulk of the text–more than just the lead.
There are three types of bodies: the inverted pyramid, focus style, narrative style  and hourglass style.
A strong lead sets a writer up for a strong body.

Inverted-pyramid style starts with the most important information and then works its way down to less important details. This makes it easy for editors to simply delete from the bottom of an article that takes up too much space. The inverted-pyramid style, therefore, is practical for editors. The style supports objectivity and apparently helped limit the damage a faulty telegraph would cause.

Narrative story: story of an individual, never transitions to larger meaning.

Focus story: starts with the story of an individual and transitions to the larger meaning of that person’s story (example: thousands have the same problem) Then during the kicker, it all comes back to the individual–bringing the story together.

The hourglass story: starts with an inverted pyramid then transitions at a pivotal point to the narrative.


Good transitions help create a fluid news story.