Top Ten Tips for Writing a Newspaper Report
Help your KS2 students perfect their news reports with our top tips from Editor Nicky Cox.
Choose an interesting event or happening to write about
A news report should be about something that is happening now or recently occurred. Current issues, key events and crimes make good subjects for news reports.
Tell the whole story in the first paragraph
The opening paragraph should be concise and explain the full story in as few words as possible. Even if someone reads no further, they should know what has happened.
Put the most important information at the top
Newspaper articles are written so the information is given in order of importance with each preceding paragraph including more detail. This style of writing is called The Inverted Pyramid where the most important information is in the lead paragraph. If reports end up being too long for the newspaper, they should always be able to be cut from the bottom.
Make sure that the report answers the five Ws
Have they answered WHAT happened? WHEN did it happen? WHY did it happen? WHERE did it happen? WHO did it happen to? HOW did it happen?
Make Use of Quotes
Including quotes is a useful way of bringing opinion and expertise into your article and will make the story more interesting. Quotations don’t have to be long to be powerful.
Don’t waffle or make the report too long
Sentences should be short and punchy. This is a good opportunity for students to practice changing vocabulary, grammar and punctuation to enhance effects and clarify meaning.
Read back over your report
Reading out loud will help determine that it all makes sense.
Check the facts
A news report is characterised by its use of facts, this is what differentiates it from an opinion piece. Anyone can create an internet page, so it is essential to use reliable sources of information and double-check your facts. Some sources can be trusted more than others, but all facts should be checked in two different places. Which of the sources to the right do you think are the most trustworthy? Where would you place them on the scale to the right? The exercise of writing a news report should help pupils in understanding to distinguish between fact and opinion.
Check the spelling and grammar
Make sure to proofread for spelling and punctuation errors using a thesaurus and dictionary to check the spelling and meaning of words. Reports should be written in the third person and past tense; check for consistent and correct use of tense.
Finally think of a good headline for the report
A headline should be short and snappy and grab the attention of readers making them want to read more. Find out more about how to write a good headline and examples in our Newspaper Headline KS2 resource.