One of the most important aspects of being a journalist is being able to find a story and write about it. Because, let’s face it, if there weren’t any stories out there to find and write about, then all journalists would be out of the job!
There are many different ways that you can find stories. First of all, you must keep your eyes and ears open at ALL times (but not literally). You should always be looking for something that you can get a potential story out of. When you’re walking down the street, you might see a protest or a strike going on, you might see some sort of accident, there might be something shiny and exciting that catches your eye that you find interesting. All of these are potential stories.
Be listening out for tantalising bits of information. It’s a great way to gather information. Imagine, you’re wondering through the shops, and suddenly…what’s that you hear? There’s something going on? There’s a march going on through the town centre? There’s snow in the middle of July? Again, all of these are potential stories.
Another way of finding out some good tasty info is to talk to people. As has been established for some time, talking is quite a good way of communication. So if you want to know something, just ask! And as the good old saying goes; ask and ye shall receive. “Why’s that shop all boarded up?” “Who’s stole your shoes?” “Why’s everyone getting food poisoning?” So so so many ways to find exciting news stories!
So do you have your story? Great, excellent, good work! But whoa there sonny Jim. Simmer down. Hold your horsies, because your story isn’t ready to be splashed all over the front page of the Daily Telegraph just yet-we’ve got to actually write it!
Now you’ve got a story sorted out, we can put it into some kind of order that’ll keep the readers attention. Let’s start with something in the first paragraph to draw the reader in: ‘A dramatic biscuit fight in Hyde Park yesterday ended with the death of three nuns’. BANG, you’ve got them! How can they resist reading on?!
Okay let’s take them back now and set the scene. But let’s not go too descriptive. We want a quick, to the point news story. Not Dickens. If you include anything along the lines of ‘it was a dark and stormy night’, ye have gone too far. Reel it in and stick to the facts. How about we go with ‘a quiet and sunny summers afternoon in Hyde Park was the venue for the annual nun convention’. Perfect. Short, and sweet.
Next let’s add in the action. This is what where we find out what happened leading up to the main point of your story. For example ‘Sister Margarita tripped and accidently throws a biscuit at Sister Donald, sparking a mass brawl’. Awesome. Again it’s straight to the point, no artsy language here, thanks! Let’s carry on with ‘During the nun fight biscuits were thrown, seriously injuring six and tragically killing three’. And there we go; we’re reached the main point of the story. But if you wanted, if you felt that way out, you could go on and include what happened afterwards. ‘The riot squad was called in and the fight was broken up. The nun’s families have been informed, and as for the Big Man upstairs…he aint happy.’ Done!
Okay, let’s review, class. Right. Keep your eyes open for stories. Keep your ears open for stories. Once you’ve found your stories, start with something catchy. Then tell the story in quick, to the point chunks. And if you want to be blindingly good, you could maybe you could throw a few quotes into the mix if you managed to get them.
So there you go all my little baby journalists, that’s how you write a fantasmical news story. Peepers, listeners, talky hole, a pen and some paper…If you have all of them, you’re laughing.