You might have asked yourself “What makes news, news? How does one determine if something is newsworthy?” Today, we answer your questions. There are several elements of news that an event or topic needs to comply with to be considered newsworthy. A good news article will have more than one of these elements.
Proximity – A news event that happens close to people will have more impact. If it is happening in a far-off country or even another state, it might not interest them.
Prominence – If the place, person, or event is well-known, the story will be seen as more newsworthy than if people do not know them or it. Unknown or unfamiliar news does not spark interest as much as the president or a movie star, for example.
Timeliness – News happens fast and continuously. News that is current and fresh interests people more than the things that happened yesterday or last week.
Oddity – People are strange and therefore news that are strange get attention. If the story is about something weird, odd, or bizarre, people will be interested.
Consequence – If a news story is impacting or may impact its readers, it is a strong story. The presidential elections in Iran may seem like something you don’t really care about until you find out that a new president may influence the oil prices and the agreements with the US.
Conflict – Arguments, conflicts, fights, and any debates will always draw attention. It is human nature to want to take sides and see who wins.
Human interest – These stories tug at the heart strings. Pictures and stories that cause an emotional reaction are called human interest.
You also have the elements of the scandal, extremes (biggest, longest, largest of something), and impact. Most news stories will have one or more of these elements. That is what makes them newsworthy and gets them published.
The process of how news gets to be news and end up on news sites or in newspapers is quite interesting. It will take way too long to explain all of it, but I decided to start off simple. Today, I will be explaining the different types of news articles you get. If you are interested in becoming a freelance journalist, read closely. You will need to know which type you want to pitch.
Newswriting. This type of article is the news articles you find in any paper or on news sites. It tells us the what, where, when, how, and who of things happening around the world. For example, Donald Trump (who) was elected president of the United States (what) today (when). The topics and details vary depending on what is happening and who is covering it.
Feature articles. These articles are often labeled as ‘soft writing’. They have to do with lifestyle and cultural events and trends. They don’t often carry hard-hitting news, but that doesn’t mean they can’t.
Columns. Columns are another type of ‘soft writing’. Columnists can be someone who writes the column every week, there can be guest writers or freelance writers. The topics are often in the same line, but not always. Again, these are more often than not about things other than hard-hitting news. However, some columns can write excellent pieces on current events.
Op-Ed. These pieces are called Opposite-Editorial or Op-ed. It got the name because these articles appear opposite the editorial page. In these pieces, a person of import in a specific field gives their opinion about something. These articles are longer and consist of about 600 words.
Letter to the editor. The letter to the editor is an important part of any publication. It involves opinions but is shorter than that of the op-ed. These pieces often come from the readers of the publication.
Next time you are reading a newspaper or magazine, see if you can identify what type of article it is. If you want to freelance, use these as a guide to finding what you want to write.
If you have been hard at work this week and barely had your head up to see the boss, we compiled the top stories of the week. It will take you a few minutes to scan through all the headlines and get yourself caught up. This post is especially for those of you who have 16 hour days. We salute you but would like you to be aware of what is happening around you.
Several tornadoes hit the Dallas area the past weekend. Seven people were killed and many injured. The disaster has left serious flooding, property loss and damage, and many people distraught.
Ethan Couch arrested
Ethan Couch, also known as the ‘affluenza teen’, was arrested in Mexico this week. He killed one person in a drunk driving accident.
Bill Cosby charged with aggravated assault
Bill Cosby was charged with aggravated indecent assault against a woman in 2004. This happened in Pennsylvania. Rumors about sexual assault claims against Cosby has been around for years.
Tel Aviv shooting
Two people were killed when a gunman opened fire near a bar in Tel Aviv. The shooter is still at large and a huge manhunt is underway to find him.
The city of Aleppo was attacked by rebels this week. There are claims that chlorine gas was used in the attack by pro-government forces. The UN is looking into it as an act like this would be seen as a war crime.
President Trump has been causing chaos with his comments and rash decisions. He made several controversial comments of which some were aimed at previous president Barack Obama and his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. In light of his recent actions, several leading Republicans have withdrawn their support of Trump.
Rio Olympics news
Michael Phelps has won 22 Olympian medals in total. This is more medals than any other Olympian has ever won. American Simone Biles took the gold in gymnastics after a fantastic performance.
Now you are caught up. Visit us again next week for a quick catch up session on the world news.