Elements of News and News Writing in 2021

news writing

News is any piece of information about an occurrence that interests a large number of readers or viewers.

While news stories never duplicate, they often fall into categories.

As well, events rarely repeat themselves with great accuracy.

However, they often have similarities.

That said, analyzing news and newsworthy events highlights how key elements recur regularly.

Highlighting news-related elements provides insight into news and news writing.

What is Newswriting?

1. Immediacy

Immediacy, also known as timeliness, is an important element in news-worthy stories. Reporters should emphasize an event’s angle in considering what just occurred. Whether it’s a humanitarian crisis, a political event, or the Super Bowl, reporters should present information that’s recent enough to be valuable and relevant.
Sometimes, a recent news story may concern a past event. In such a case, reporters should discuss present aspects of the past event, ensuring timeliness of the story.

2. Prominence

Prominence is a quality that refers to highly topical news. So a reporter should ask themself: Is this story about someone or something that the audience believes to be of great importance?
Be it the weather, unique achievements, social positions, or publicity, reporters should feature notable places, names, or events in a news story. With more renowned names, events, and locations, a news story will create more interest among its readers.

3. Conflict

Conflict presents an element of struggle in a news story. Being one of the most important news elements, conflict is inherent in all news on war, politics, violence, sports, etc.
To integrate conflict within a news story, reporters should ask “What’s being described to help an audience address real-life challenges that impact their lives and businesses?” Providing news stories that help audiences solve problems in their lives enhances the effectiveness of a story.
At the same time, involving other elements like oddity (the queerness of an event) and drama into a news story is key to evincing an emotional impact, which is a key factor in appealing to diverse audiences.

4. Emotion

Incorporating stories that speak to people’s experiences and convey emotion helps more people connect with a message. Employing emotions appropriately and authentically while not necessarily incorporating tear-jerking stories does the trick of effective human communication.

5. Proximity

Proximity refers to the geographic nearness of a newsworthy event. Reporters presenting news should incorporate proximity by presenting news that’s happening in a nearby location. For instance, news on an event happening in Manhattan being presented to an audience within this media market is highly proximal.

Newswriting Style

While sharing some features with regular English, news writing has some unique aspects. Below are several elements of news writing

1. Ledes

News ledes summarize the most important point of a story. It can take the format: who, what, where (additional information for relevance), and attribution.

2. Editorializing

Editorializing refers to the process of expressing one’s opinion. Since the selection of what information to include in a news story expresses one’s, banishing opinion from an entire news story is impossible. However, reporters should not express their opinions deliberately.

3. Structure

Often, news reporters structure their stories using this format: lede, backup, inverted pyramid. While the lede encompasses the most important facts in a story, the backup includes key facts that weren’t included in the lede. On the other hand, the inverted pyramid organizes news information based on its importance. First comes the most newsworthy facts followed by less newsworthy, yet important, facts.

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5WPR and one of the most well-respected Public Relations professionals in the United States. Ronn is the author of "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations."

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