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Journalistic Writing Basics

What does it take to write like a journalist?

Below are some characteristics of journalistic writing that you should know:

  • News reports should be objective, with a single focus or theme.
  • The writing should be clear, well-organized, concise and to the point.
  • It should be written in the third person.
  • Proper names must be spelled correctly, and it must also be free of other spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors.
  • It must be factually accurate.
  • Short sentences should be used.
  • The headline or article title should be catchy or attention-getting.
  • Appropriate sources or citations should be included in the proper format.
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  • Direct quotes for witnesses or those involved should be included.
  • Avoid overly wordy paragraphs.
  • The lead paragraph, often one long sentence that summarizes the facts of the article, is usually the first paragraph. It should answer some or all of the five W's and H rule (Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How?), and it should set the structure for the rest of the story. It must hook readers into wanting to read the remainder of the article.