In an age when there is almost too much information, it can be difficult to filter out what’s important or even factual. The way we read and digest news is changing too, as people check it out more often throughout the day, from their social media on their lunch break to a quick news show or two in the evening. It is important to remember that the news we consume is not only about the world around us but also about how we react to it.
When writing a news article, it is helpful to keep in mind the inverted pyramid structure, which begins with the most general information and moves towards more specific details. This will help readers understand your position on the topic and avoid confusion with any tangential information that isn’t related to the main point of the article. When possible, include sources who are experts in the subject matter and provide technical commentary or analysis. These will make your article more interesting for those readers who want to learn more about the topic. Similarly, try to feature a person with a different perspective on the topic. This can be an expert who disagrees with your point of view or it could be a person who has a unique personal experience that relates to the topic.
A good rule of thumb to use when deciding what makes a story newsworthy is that it should be new, unusual, interesting, significant and about people. This is a rough guideline and doesn’t take into account that the same event can be reported differently in different countries or societies. For example, a girl going to university or a man getting married will be of interest to most of the world but might not be newsworthy in the next country over.
It is also important to note that it may not be necessary to identify a person in a news article unless they are a direct witness to the event or have given their permission for their name to be used. Generally, first names or initials are used rather than full names to avoid jarring the reader. It is best to stick with one or both initials for first reference as well, so that there is consistency in the style of a person’s name throughout an article.
Talk to your kids about how they process the news that they see on TV, in their classrooms and on social media. Encourage them to express their feelings and thoughts without judging them. You can also discuss how they can take action to help those affected by tragic events if the situation warrants it, depending on their ages and interests. For example, they can write letters to politicians or help assemble care packages for a relief organization.