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How to Begin an Article

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Hello, welcome to Unit 3: Words in Print.


In Units 1 and 2, we talked about the history of journalism, journalistic principles, deciding on and researching a topic, and interviewing sources. 
In this unit, we'll talk only about print media or written news sources. 
In video 1, we'll talk about the process of writing a story in a newspaper and the general structure of an article.


Let's start with the process from draft to print. 
We've talked about how to take a topic and turn it in to a pitch, and then research that story idea by interviewing sources and gathering documents. Now a journalist is ready to write the article.


Generally, the first step is to create an outline. This helps organize the content of an article before it's written.


A journalist's outline could look like this. 
Notice the ideas are not written in full sentences yet. 
An outline only focuses on where the sentences will go in the article.


The next phase in the journalist's process is drafting. Now that the journalist knows the order of the ideas, they can write their first draft.


A draft is the first try at writing the article in sentences and paragraphs.


Once the draft is completed, it's taken to a copy editor who makes sure or checks that the article is clear, connected, understandable, and written in as few words as possible.


A copy editor is similar to an editor of a book or of a paper, but 
a copy editor doesn't always change the words of the journalist. 
The copy editor sees the big picture of the newspaper. 
He or she knows how much space is available for a particular story.


A journalist only focuses on their story. The copy editor has to make sure that article fits with the rest of the newspaper in size, tone, and style.


Once the draft is approved by the copy editor, the final draft is sent to print.


Now that we understand the process, let's talk a little bit about the structure of a news story.


There are several parts other than the article that the journalist needs to create for every story. Let's start at the top.


The first thing the reader sees is the headline.


The headline is a title that should give the main idea of the article, but also capture the reader's attention.


The second part of the article is the byline. 
This identifies the author and the author's job. 
Sometimes the byline can include the date and the location of the main event described in the article.


The next part is the lead. The lead is the first paragraph of an article, and it often tries to give the most important facts and information, who, what, where, when, why, and how.


We'll talk in the next two videos about different types of leads and 
how to create a lead.


In the body section of the article, the journalist usually includes several quotes or information from other sources that are details of the news story.


The final sentences in the article are the conclusion.


Sometimes journalists will use a final quote to end the article, or 
they'll add a summarizing statement.


Finally, many journalists include images, graphs, or maps that accompany the article.


These generally have a caption below the image. 
The caption is a small explanation of the image and will include the photographer's name To summarize, before an article is printed, 
journalists must complete three steps in the writing process.


These are creating an outline, writing a draft, and getting approval from a copy editor.


Once the article itself is written, a headline, byline, lead, body, and 
conclusion are also created. Captions should be written to accompany any image or graph.


In the next video, we'll talk more about article leads.


Hello, welcome to our video on Types of Leads.


In the previous video we talked about how articles usually start with the Headline, Byline and a Lead. 
Headlines are the title of an article. 
The Byline tells us who wrote the article. 
And the Lead is the first paragraph. 
In this video we'll talk about three types of leads, Summary, Anecdotal and Contrast. 
Let's start with the Summary Lead as it's the most common used lead in news writing.


Similar to the content of a news story, a summary lead presents just the facts, often the who, what, where, and when.


Breaking news or news that's happening right now, 
often uses a summary lead because it's important to get the information to the public in the quickest way possible by putting the facts in the beginning.


Let's look at an example of a summary lead.


Prince William and Princess Kate introduced their daughter 
to the world as they left St. Mary's Hospital in London on Saturday. 
The tiny princess slept in her mother's arm during her first public appearance.


The princess was delivered at 8:34 British Standard Time after a short labor.


Prince William was in the room for the birth of the 8 pound 3 ounce baby.


In this type of lead, it's clear what happened, who was involved, and where and when it occurred.


The second type of lead is the anecdotal lead. An anecdote is a personal story. Therefore, an anecdotal lead grabs the attention of the reader or makes the reader interested in reading more by introducing a personal story of someone involved in an event.


This type of lead is often used in Human Interest Stories, but not as often in a news story.


These types of leads attempt to make the reader emotional about an issue. Here's an example.


Once again, Mark Kline took his tools so he could fix the floor of his house in Juneau, Alaska.


This has been Mark's springtime routine for the last 20 years. 
As the snow and ice melt, it moves the ground beneath his home, and in recent years, he can tell it's getting worse. 
The Center for Cold Climate Housing says that Mark is not alone. 
The harsh effects of climate change are causing problems for 
at least 200,000 homes in the great state of Alaska.


From this lead the reader knows that this article will be the effects of climate change.


The third type of lead is the Contrast Lead, in this type of lead 
the author uses opposite ideas or facts to grab the reader's attention.


Here's an example.


Ten years ago, Mark Zuckerberg was a college sophomore sleeping through his college days while staying up all night coding his little know website, Facemash. 
Today, Zuckerberg is worth $46 billion dollars, and that website, 
now called Facebook, is one of the most popular social media sites in the world.


The author contrasts Mark Zuckerberg's life before and after his success, to try and excite the reader into reading the rest of the article.


A contrast lead similar to anecdotal lead is generally not used with new stories but is used with investigative Journalism or Human Interest Stories.


As you can see the first paragraph in the article is often times the most important. It's the first paragraph that helps the reader decide whether or not to read the entire article.


In this video we talked about three types of leads, Summary, Anecdotal and Contrast. 
In the next video, we'll talk about the process of writing a lead.


Hello. Welcome to this video on Creating the Lead.


In the previous video, we talked about different types of leads, summary, anecdotal, and contrast. Since the summary lead is the most common in news stories, in this video, we're 
going focus on what to include and what not to include in a summary news lead.


A summary lead is the first paragraph in an article and 
it contains the most important information. This is important especially if the information may affect the readers' lives.


Let's look at an example.


A fire started at 8:14 AM on Friday on the 200 block of South Jessup Street. Two adults and one child went to Chestnut Hospital shortly after 9:00 AM when firefighters rescued them from the second floor of that apartment building.


Firefighters put out the flames by 10:12 AM, but unfortunately residents cannot return to their homes because of the damage.


At this time, firefighters do not know the cause of the fire.


In this example, we can see some of the Do's and Don'ts of writing a summary news lead.


Let's start with the Do's.


One, give wh- information. Two, be specific. And three, be brief. 
Let's look at wh- information first. We can see what happened, a fire, who is involved, residents and firefighters, where it happened, the 200 block of South Jessup Street, and when it happened, 8:14 AM on Friday. Can we tell why the fire started? 
No but let's notice that the journalist was transparent about their process for finding that information. 
They said that fire fighters didn't have that information at 
the time the news story was published. 
Remember, transparency is one of the principles of journalism