Journalism Writing: Introduction, Types, and Guidelines

What is Journalism Writing?

Journalism is the activity of gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting news and information. It is a complicated process, where the information gathered is sifted and edited to provide a context. Journalism writing is different from other forms of writing because of its unique features and practices.

Types of Journalism Writing

With news writing undergoing rapid transformations owing to readership, location, competition among news organizations and political climate, certain types of writing styles have become quite prevalent in modern journalism. They are:

Investigative Journalism

To put it simply, investigative journalism is in-depth, critical and systematic reporting. Investigative reporting is exposing matters that are mysterious to the public. Such matters are shrouded intentionally by someone powerful or accidentally behind an utterly confused mass of circumstances that obscure the fact. This asks for a set of methodologies to help conduct high-quality research, as well as reporting. The purpose of investigative journalism is to reveal corruption, wrongdoing, infringement, hypocrisy and illegal practice to people in the society.

Investigative reporting is different from the daily news, which is not investigative or probing. Instead, it goes beyond the information given, and targets what they have come across by giving facts, which are new and unknown to anyone.

Reviews

Reviews are subjective and involve opinions and facts. An important aspect of journalism, reviews provide intelligent, as well as informed opinion about a product, organization, or place based on the experience or research done. For instance, you can find reviews of a particular movie, book, music album, company or restaurant. The objective of a review is to give a true and an honest opinion and facts about a subject, and make a recommendation to help the audience take a decision.

When writing reviews, one should have a distinctive skill of analyzing, informing, describing and advising, which require mostly an informal and personal tone. This helps the reviewer build a rapport with the audience. Reviews are different from news report, which is objective.

News Journalism

News is current events reported straightforward. It involves reporting of the latest occurrences on a television, the Internet and a radio, or through newspapers and magazines. These happenings or developments are of interest to the audience for they happened on that particular day in 24 hours. News reporting is relaying of facts without interpretation, and it comes with a headline and sufficient details to have audience listen to them. The news stories are unbiased and include information mostly facts and events interpreted in unbiased manner. A news article covers a more emotional and detailed story in a narrative writing style, giving up the inverted pyramid structure.

Columns

Columns are news articles published in magazines, newspapers and in any other publications either daily or weekly. They are generally written by the author stating his or her point of view or opinion. Columnists, as they are called, are specialized in specific topics, and they have their own style and voice, which the readers recognize. They exercise the right of giving their opinion through a spot allocated to them, and share their knowledge observation and experience without any restriction.   

Feature

A feature when compared to a news story is a lengthy piece of writing, and it covers telling stories, interpreting trends, narrating events and explaining topics. These issues are generally covered in greater depth in a feature. Moreover, they are looked at different angles and contain information collected through interviewing different people concerned with the issues.

Guidelines on Journalism Writing

Students are often engaged in academic writing, which is a concise and focussed piece of writing, as well as well-structured and supported by evidence. Academic writing should be in a formal tone and in simple sentences, whether it is a research paper or a doctoral dissertation. Students, who are used to different types of writing while sending a note, an application for internship, a text message, a social media post and an email, are required to keep in mind the general characteristics of writing a thesis or research journal, which are relevant in all fields.

Journalists follow certain guidelines while writing, and you can apply the same approach to writing any kind of academic paper. They are:

  • Writing a Strong Lede

In journalistic writing, a lede, which is an introduction or opening paragraph to a news article, is important. A lede answers the 5 W’s, as well as an H such as “what, where, when, who, why and how”. An effective opening in academic papers should answer the ‘W’ and ‘H’ questions. All you have to do is to focus on them to give the most important details to have the readers’ attention. When you write, avoid stumbling over words and eliminate any extra words. Similarly, you should avoid any clichés; instead think for better word choice to sound original.

  • Organizing Your Information

Journalists structure the information in three formats such as the inverted pyramid, narrative and chronological order pattern. The inverted pyramid is the most popular structure, where the writers write the most important news first and then, the story that includes all supporting details. The bottom part of the inverted pyramid contains extra information of less importance. Unlike the regular pyramid, the strongest or broadest part is on the top for an inverted one, and it carries all the essential information. The narrative structure is recounting an incident like storytelling, while the chronological format helps you put information in order as it occurred.

  • Writing Clearly

Journalism writing asks for using clear and simple grammar, with short sentence structure. The printed words on the page should create an impression, and this asks for your own use of elements of style as an author. Using short, concrete words, you can create different effects in writing. Your vocabulary should be of consistent level of language to match your purpose and readers, avoiding overly informal expressions.

Maintain continuity while sequencing your thoughts by using linking words to connect words and sentences. When writing interviews with people or quoting from an original source, you need to provide quotation marks and citations appropriately.

Finally, journalism writing requires editing to check for errors, page numbers, and font styles like Times New Roman before submitting it.

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