How to Write Like a Journalist? (Top 10 Tips)

journalist
This is a guest post by: Anushka Ghosh

“Journalism can never be silent: that is its greatest virtue and its greatest fault. It must speak, and speak immediately, while the echoes of wonder, the claims of triumph, and the signs of horror are still in the air.”

 

That was a quote from the late American author, journalist, diplomat, and former Managing Editor of Time Magazine, Henry Grunwald.

How true, isn’t it?

If you have ever thought of giving journalism a shot, and are keen on writing, I will tell you how to write like a journalist.

 

Why it is worth it to pursue journalism?

 

Journalism is a term used to define the occupation where you need to produce and distribute reports on present events or current happenings that is fact-based and support the same with evidence or proof.

The journalism industry is big, and it’s constantly growing. Did you know that the annual revenue of the US journalism industry is $24.65 billion?

Journalism touches many spheres; we have news journalism, reviews journalism, column journalism, investigative journalism, digital journalism, and broadcast journalism.

Journalistic writing is the style that news organizations adapt to assemble and create a story. Any news story will have an order of information where the primary points appear at the top. A journalist writer has to follow a mantra to craft any story!

 

Top 10 tips on how to write like a journalist

 

1. Become an avid reader

 

reader

 

Reading improves your vocab and comprehension.

Read books, news articles, magazines, newspapers, pamphlets, blog posts – just about anything and everything.

You should also read, listen, and observe your main source to get a full idea of what must be written about. After all, you do not want to promote fake news.

 

2. Adapt to the AP style

 

The accepted standard in journalism called Associated Press or AP Style brings before you a set of guidelines and rules for news writing based on the AP Stylebook that is updated every year.

It is a manner of journalistic writing that is preferred by many leading magazines and news organizations and tells you how to use abbreviations, dates, Oxford comma, and more.

If you want to know more about AP style writing, you should consider reading The Associated Press Stylebook.

 

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04/24/2022 03:49 am GMT

 

3. Collect first-source information in writing, audio, video, etc.

 

To build a good story, especially in non-fiction like in journalism, you as a writer may have to visit the location where the event happened, interview witnesses and the people who were there at that moment, and use secondary research like online search engines to construct a story.

Try to incorporate answers to the 5Ws (who, what, where, when, and why).

 

4. Find the correct angle

 

deep thought

 

You need to identify the focus and theme of your story that will make it noticeable.

A news story typically reveals its angle in the first paragraph.

Find your angle and stay with it throughout your journalistic piece! Remember, a political piece’s angle will differ from the angle in a crime story.

 

5. Start with a powerful lede

 

The lede is nothing but the introductory or opening section of the news story that lures a reader to go through the full story.

Ensure you have a strong lede to grab the attention of your readers.

A shocking statistic, a gripping story, arising curiosity, asking a question, addressing an urgent problem, borrowing credibility, etc. are all great ways to hook your reader’s gaze.

 

6. Focus on the structure of your piece

 

Write a story to present its information and details keeping a proper structure in mind.

The most important information or the lede should be at the top, followed by other supporting details. This is called following the “inverted pyramid structure”.

 

Inverted Pyramid Structure

The bulk of your story should provide the most important information first before you garnish it with small details.

 

7. Use quotations wisely

 

To include quotes is almost a mandate and is severely crucial in journalistic writing.

Interview statements from the witnesses/sources who were involved in the incident or were part of the event, not only add credibility, life, voice, emotions, and opinions in your write-up but also strengthen your piece.

 

8. Write in simple words

 

This is self-explanatory. As a journalistic writer, try and use shorter sentences to deliver your story.

Avoid using passive voice to write sentences, for example, use “Reporters write news reports”, instead of “News reports are written by reporters”.

Be more direct and use a smaller number of words. This is almost like copywriting where the objective is to write clearly and deliver a to-the-point and concise message.

 

9. Ensure your sources are verified

 

Your stories should be credible, and readers should not think they are fake.

Try and collect information from several sources to portray your story better. To ensure accuracy, reporters should verify the information from the witnesses or sources.

If you’re a freelance writer, do not forget to add the source links from where you took the information and try to provide contact details of the person who you had interviewed.

 

10. Proofread the write-up

 

write without fear

 

Before an article is published, you must proofread, and fact-check every detail that you have mentioned to avoid any misses or escalations.

The grammar, vocabulary, spelling, style, and formatting – everything should be top-notch.

 

Conclusion

 

Edit it as required to ensure the message is clear and concise. If required, run the article through a professional editor who can fine-tune it better.

These were my tips on how to write like a journalist. Stay inspired, and do not forget to create and deliver stories with utmost passion. Give it your best shot every time!

Rafal Reyzer

Hey there, welcome to my blog! I'm a full-time blogger, educator, digital marketer, freelancer, editor and content manager. I started RafalReyzer.com to provide you with great tools and strategies you can use to achieve freedom from 9-5 through online creativity. My site is a one-stop-shop for writers, bloggers, publishers, content enthusiasts and freelancers who want to be independent, earn more money and create beautiful things. Feel free to check my archive containing over 400 articles and reach out if you need anything. Ah yes, and stay awesome!