Written By: Glavine Day, APSU Journalism Student
Journalism is not the same as just writing whatever you want and saying however you feel. The point of writing a story is to get a message across to your readers. There are several steps you can take to ensure your story is solid and interesting.
- Research your story. One of the hardest parts of journalism is going out there and finding the story. Not all stories just come to you. As a journalist, you have to dedicate time to find your story. Also, research the way the story should be written, especially if it is out of your normal category. For example, if you are a news writer, but news is involving sports, make sure you’re up to date on it. Every writer should be able to write in a section outside of their home section.
- After you’ve found your story, find an angle. What are you going to do to make this story different than everyone else’s?
- Find people to talk to. A story isn’t complete without information and quotes. Talk to a lot of people. Maybe not just the person, people, company or organization that it is about, but talk to other people. Outside people may be affected by what’s going on, get their perspective.
- Find art. A story can’t do anything without some kind of art. Whether it’s a photo or a graphic, it needs art to match.
- Check your story for errors. Every good writer knows 10 percent of AP style that is used 90 percent of the time. Make sure when it goes to copy editors, they only have to make minimal errors. The more corrections that are made, the more your story could change and it’s already out of your hands.
- Read your story from an outside perspective. Does it make sense? Does it transition smoothly? Does your message get portrayed? Also, check for bias. Are you leaning towards a subject or are you just telling the story? Unless it is an opinion piece, eliminate the bias. Nobody asked you what you think about it. Readers just want to know what’s happening. Good journalists don’t show any sort of bias.
- Lastly, take a deep breathe and enjoy your story. Your job is finished and now you get to start back over and write more stories. Yay!