Writing A News Story, Part2
Writing A News Story, Part2
  • 승인 2003.03.05 00:00
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When writing a news story, keep in mind the upside down pyramid where you begin with the most interesting and important things and end with what's least important. The first paragraph contains the lead, which is usually one sentence long and summarizes the story's facts in the order of most newsworthy to least newsworthy. The lead sets the structure for the rest of the story. With a good lead, the rest of the story comes together easily. The structure of the story helps the reader understand what you are writing about. It should lead the reader from one idea to another simply and clearly. Look at the following examples:

News lead:
Roh Moo Hyun was sworn in as president of South Korea today, promising a brave new world for South Korea, his region and relations with the U.S.

Quote lead:
"You look at the economic scales - it's going to be an elephant on one side and a mouse on the other."

Description lead:
High above the streets on rooftops flat and wide, nearly a dozen sun-gazing contraptions are shedding new light on this city's foggy reputation. Resembling lunar probes on spindly legs, the machines are equipped with sensors that measure solar energy.

A bad lead:
For all of you looking for the latest K-pop CDs. The library has fifty new K-pop CDs which it is willing to loan out. Students are invited to come and check them out.

In contrast to the above "good" leads, this bad lead opens with an incomplete sentence. Though there are occasions when sentence fragments are appropriate, this isn't one of them. Is it really news that the library is willing to loan out materials? Isn't that what libraries do in the first place? The word "out" is unnecessary, and "loan" is not a verb, but an adjective or noun.

Rewriting this lead: Fifty new K-pop CDs have been added to Ewha Library's CD collection, the head librarian announced.

Transitions are words or phrases that link two ideas, making the movement from one to the other clear and easy. Examples are: thus, therefore, on the other hand, next, then, and so on. In news stories, transitions are often repeated words or phrases using a synonym for a key word in the preceding paragraph.
You should use direct quotes if the source's language is colorful or picturesque, when official information comes from an authoritative voice, or to answer the questions "why", "how", "who" or "what." Also, use direct quotes to emphasize or verify a summary statement.

Putting it all together in a News Story:

By Don Kirk (The New York Times)
Seoul's Mayor Lee Myung Bak and South Korea's President Roh Moo Hyun presented ambitious plans for Incheon, 30 miles from Seoul, before foreign officials and businessexecutives gathered there. Officials seemed oblivious to mounting international tensions over North Korea's nuclear weapons program and possibility of military coflict between the North and the U.S. The sprawling urban region around South Korea's capital is determined to plunge ahead with ambitious plans to make itself a business hub for the Pacific Rim - never mind that the tense and heavily militarized border with North Korea is just a long-range artillery shot away.

"Seoul can become the financial center of Northeast Asia," said Lee Myung Bak, the former chairman of a construction company who was elected mayor of Seoul last year. "That means more than making policies and preparing tasks. We have to compete with China and Hong Kong."

Notice the lead that presents the main facts in a brief summary from most important to least important facts, the transition that repeats a synonym for a key word in the first paragraph, and the use of direct quotes from an authoritative voice.

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