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The Qualities of Good Writing


This piece is similar to the previous one, but with a few changes and so it is worth reading for the conciseness of the points in makes.


Meaning: There must be content in an effective piece of news. It must add up to something. This is often
the most important element in good news reporting, but although it must be listed first it is often
discovered last through the process of providing news.


Authority: Good news is filled with specific, honest information. The audience is persuaded through authoritative information that the journalist knows the subject.


Voice: Good news is marked by an individual voice. The media persons voice may be the most significant
element in distinguishing memorable news from good news.


Development: The journalist satisfies the audience’s hunger for information. The beginning journalist almost always overestimates the audience’s hunger for language and underestimates the audience’s hunger for information.


Design: A good piece of news is elegant in the mathematical sense. It has form, structure, order, focus, and
coherence. It gives the audience a sense of completeness.


Clarity: Creating good news is marked by simplicity, which is appropriate to the subject. The media person has searched for and found the right word, the effective verb, and the clarifying phrase. The journalists have removed themselves so that the intended receiver of the news sees through the journalist’s style to the subject, which is clarified and simplified.




WHO IS THE AUDIENCE: Determine the audience, which will in turn determine the subject of the story, what points to cover, and how it should be written


WHO WILL BE YOUR SOURCES: Information has to come from people or documents, not “what everyone knows”, or what you may think. Who will be the best source of information for the subject of the story? Who will be most knowledgeable and credible? What documents are available to back up what the sources say?


ASK YOURSELF “WHY IS THIS PERSON LYING TO ME: While no one may deliberately lie to you, they may be telling you only one part of the truth, or the truth from their perspective because they have a particular idea that they want to get across or an agenda they want to put forward.


WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE STORY: Is it to inform the readers, challenge the sources, give a preview, and review the course of events? This will determine how it is written and how the information is used.


THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS NEWS: Long before newspaper hits the street, or your story hits the 6:00pm news, people will already know the facts. What will your story add to the discussion? Will it be an analysis piece? Will it put the subject in an historical context? , will it provide commentary from the people affected by the subject.