Writing Newspaper Articles

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Writing Newspaper

Articles

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The first newspapers were all called broadsheets,

because they used large, wide sheets of paper for their pages. Today, newspapers come in different shapes, sizes and styles. Some are broadsheets and some are

what is known as tabloids. These are smaller and

squarer in shape than the broadsheet papers.

These two types of paper have quite different written

styles. Your style, material and layout will be affected by the kind of paper you are writing for.

Types of newspapers

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• What do you think is the most important difference between tabloid and broadsheet newspapers? What other differences are there?

• Are free newspapers a different type of paper from

the others, or is the only difference the cost?

• What is the main difference between national and local papers? Are there any other differences?

• Can one and should one say that any particular type

of newspaper is “better” than any other?

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At its best, a headline should sum up the whole article, grab the attention of potential buyers and be easily

remembered. A pun* or some alliteration** can make it even more effective.

* a play on words ** words starting with the same letter

Looking at headlines

What makes the perfect headline?

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Look at these two headlines and decide what it is about each one that makes it tabloid or broadsheet in style.

Outrageous! They’re Holding Us Ransom!

French Lorry Drivers Blockade Ports

When you have completed your analysis, compare your findings with the details given on the next two slides.

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French Lorry Drivers Blockade Ports

• a simple statement of fact

• no emotion

• formal language

• no exclamation marks

Conclusion: broadsheet headline

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Outrageous! They’re Holding Us Ransom!

• emotional response

• use of contracted form (They’re)

• use of exclamation marks

• no indication of what the story is

Conclusion: tabloid headline

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Discussion Activity

How much can headlines tell you?

Consider the two headlines which you have just

analysed. How are the differences in the headlines likely to be reflected in the papers’ approach to what is actually the same story?

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Activity

Turn the following imaginary news items into TWO

headlines each: one in tabloid style and one in broadsheet style.

* crippling pain and sometimes paralysis and blindness experienced by some soldiers who served in the Gulf War.

Looking at headlines

Global warming is proved to be a fact and it has already started.

Details have just been declassified by the Ministry of Defence which show that so-called “Gulf War

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All articles have common features like:

• a headline

• picture(s) with captions

• interviews/comments from people involved

• an expert opinion

• sub-headings.

What does an article need?

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You are now going to work through the various stages necessary to create a finished newspaper article. You will be working from a fictional set of facts which come

from Shakespeare’s play The Tempest.

Claribel the daughter of King Alonso of Naples has just married the king of Tunis.

At her wedding in Tunis were: her father

her brother Ferdinand

her father’s brother Sebastian Gonzalo (Alonso’s adviser) Antonio (Duke of Milan)

Neapolitan and Milanese nobility and their servants.

Writing an article

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Writing an article

The events:

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• As a result of this event, there is no direct heir to the throne of Naples.

Writing an article

• Sadly, the fleet sails on to Naples where the bad news has to be broken: the king, the heir to the throne and most of the senior

councillors of Naples have been drowned, as well as the Duke of Milan and a large part of the nobility of both Naples and Milan. In

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You are responsible for the front page of Naples Today, the city’s main newspaper. It is the evening of June 23rd 1598 and a rumour has reached your office that the fleet has just returned without the king’s ship.

This is the biggest thing to happen in Naples for years and you want it on the front page of tomorrow’s paper.

Individual Activity

While you wait for your reporter to run to the docks to get more details, you start work on a dramatic headline for tomorrow’s paper.

Try out several different ways of approaching the tragedy, including at least one tabloid style headline and one

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Imagine you are the reporter for Naples Today. You have been sent to the docks to gather enough information to write a dramatic article for tomorrow’s paper.

Make a list of the people whom you would like to interview for your research. Remember to include as wide a range of

experiences as possible.

Individual Activity

Your list should include:

• someone who saw the fleet return

• someone senior from the fleet (e.g. a captain)

• a relative of one of the drowned sailors

• a political expert

• a court spokesperson.

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• Each taking the other’s list of people to be interviewed,

prepare in note form a story for each of them. Do not

write out the story in full. Do not discuss the details with your partner.

Remember to think about what you saw, what you have heard, what you think and what you feel.

• As the journalist, prepare questions which you wish to ask

your chosen people. Aim for five or six questions each -

some may be the same for everyone, of course! Again, do not tell your partner what you are going to ask.

Writing an article

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Paired Activity

You now have a list of possible headlines and two sets of

interviews which give you an idea of what happened and what people think about it. Imagine that you are the editor and

journalist. Decide on the style of your newspaper’s approach to the story and choose a headline for tomorrow’s early

edition.

Now that you have that, you need to think about the layout of your front page.

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name of paper

headline

date

picture

columns

Can you think of anything else a newspaper front

price

sub headings

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Decide on the layout of the early edition of Naples Today

on June 24th 1598. Remember to give your paper a date and a price as well as a headline.

With the layout fixed all that remains is to write the

article. However, you need to think carefully about the

language you use when you start to write. Is your paper a tabloid or a broadsheet? How should you use your

interviews? What is your paper’s attitude to the event?

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The language which you use when writing your articles is very important. Newspapers have a style all their own and there are distinct differences between the language of a tabloid paper and that of a broadsheet one.

Looking at style

Look at the extracts on the next two slides and decide

which one is from a tabloid article and which is broadsheet in style. Find examples from the articles as evidence to

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A lonely pensioner was brutally beaten up by a mugger, just yards from her own front door. All she had on her was £7.00. “I was just walking home from my weekly lunch at the local Day Centre,” says widow Mary Evans, 86, of South Court, Devenish.

It wasn’t even dark, only 3pm on a September afternoon. And this isn’t a big city. Are we safe anywhere these days?

Not safe in our own streets

D.C. Matthew Johns of Green Lane Police Station, Wilborough said, “This is a really nasty attack on a defenceless old lady. It’s not even as though she had anything on her worth stealing.”

So, now we can’t even feel safe in our own street. When are the government going to wake up and realise they’ve got to do something about it? After all, we’re the ones who put them

there. Shouldn’t they earn their keep by looking after us and making sure that old ladies don’t have to live in fear?

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Random Street Crime is Rising

A national survey conducted by the Police Federation, reveals that we really are less safe on the streets than we were ten years ago. The recent, well-publicised attack on an elderly pensioner, Mrs Mary Evans, aged 86 of Devenish, brought the issue of street muggings back to the public’s attention. The publication of this report will simply confirm what many ordinary people have felt for some time: that police efforts to control street crime have failed. “It is now a matter of urgency that the government should

recognise that it is its responsibility to tackle this issue. It cannot be right that the elderly should have to take their lives in their hands every time they step beyond their own front doors,” said Help The Aged’s spokesperson Helen Smith.

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A lonely pensioner was brutally beaten up by a mugger, just yards from her own front door. All she had on her was £7.00.

“I was just walking home from my weekly lunch at the local Day Centre,” says widow Mary Evans, 86, of South Court, Devenish. It wasn’t even dark, only 3pm on a September afternoon. And this isn’t a big city. Are we safe anywhere these days?

D.C. Matthew Johns of Green Lane Police Station, Wilborough said, “This is a really nasty attack on a defenceless old lady. It’s not even as though she had anything on her worth stealing.”

So, now we can’t even feel safe in our own street. When are the government going to wake up and realise they’ve got to do

something about it? After all, we’re the ones who put them there. Shouldn’t they earn their keep by looking after us and making sure that old ladies don’t have to live in fear?

Emotive adverbs and adjectives.

Not safe in our own streets

Brutal Attack on Pensioner

Direct speech Personal details given

Use of contractions Rhetorical questions. Sub-heading breaks up text.

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Random Street Crime is Rising

A national survey conducted by the Police Federation, reveals that we really are less safe on the streets than we were ten years ago.

The recent, well-publicised attack on an elderly pensioner, Mrs Mary

Evans, aged 86 of Devenish, brought the issue of street muggings back to the public’s attention. The publication of this report will simply confirm what many ordinary people have felt for some time: that police efforts to control street crime have failed.

“It is now a matter of urgency that the government should recognise that it is its responsibility to tackle this issue. It cannot be right that the elderly

should have to take their lives in their hands every time they step beyond their own front doors,” said Help The Aged’s spokesperson Helen Smith. We claim to be a civilised country, yet it seems that our streets are not as safe as we should like to think. Perhaps it is time to reassess the priorities

Grammatical accuracy. Brief personal details.

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Did you notice any things which both styles of article have in common?

• Direct speech is used in both, to give weight to the point of the article.

• Both articles give some personal details of the people whom the journalist quotes.

Your article will need to include comments from the people you interviewed, as well as some of their personal details.

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Newspapers use extracts from interviews, but they do not use them in the same way as television news reports do.

Look at the extracts used in the tabloid article which you have just been studying.

“I was just walking home from my weekly lunch at the local Day Centre,” says widow Mary Evans, 86, of South Court, Devenish.

D.C. Matthew Johns of Green Lane Police Station, Wilborough said, “This is a really nasty attack on a defenceless old lady. It’s not even as though she had anything on her worth stealing.”

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• remember to keep your sentences quite short

• use comments from the people you interviewed

• do not include your questions

• use either broadsheet or tabloid style: do not mix them

• break up your text with sub-headings.

Writing an article

And finally, remember what a dramatic news item this is and use a suitably dramatic style!

Figure

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References

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Related subjects : newspaper articles old lady