Newspapers, magazines & websites are filled with articles on every topic imaginable.
If you write an article, you are writing a public discussion of an issue. Even though your response is personal (giving your opinions/describing your experiences) you must also show that you have done your research and know more about this issue than most people!
- Details – remember the journalists checklist: Who? What? Where? When? How? Why?
- Quotes – interview experts / eye-witnesses / relatives & friends / local gardai and include quotes (yes, you make them up!) which tell the reader something new about this story.
- Vivid imagery – describe the event in as much detail as possible (5 senses) so that the reader is drawn into the experience in their imagination (this can be a good way to begin).
- Background scandal / information – try to include some gossip or little-known facts so that the reader feels you have your finger on the pulse & know more than everyone else.
- Facts/statistics – link the story to a broader context using statistics. Show how this issue is evident in the rest of society. Is it common or rare? More prevalent nowadays than in the past? More evident in one group in society – male/female/young/old/rich/poor?
- Personal experience – are you discussing something that you have been through? Then describe your experiences of this topic using anecdotes (remember to use vivid imagery).
- Humour – discuss the lighter side of the topic. Make the reader laugh (with you or at you).
- Lists – these are an effective way to sum up the topic and seem knowledgeable.
- Problem & Solution – don’t simply whine on about the difficulties, try to suggest some constructive and practical ways of tacking this issue, as a society and as individuals.
- Connecting phrases – these create a flow & help build a series of related ideas for the reader e.g. ‘however’ ‘therefore’ ‘thus’ ‘nonetheless’ ‘of course’ ‘furthermore’ ‘similarly’ ‘indeed’ ‘if’ ‘on the one hand’ ‘on the other hand’ ‘besides’ ‘by contrast’ ‘this reminds me of…’
Broadsheet v’s Tabloid: What’s the difference?
Broadsheets are interested in facts. Language is fairly formal. They present balanced information.
Tabloids are interested in drama. Language is emotive so use plenty of hyperbole & sensationalism. They are usually biased and outraged. Celebrity gossip matters more than war, economics or politics. Tabloids can’t be trusted (never let the truth get in the way of a good story).
Newspaper v’s Magazine: What’s the difference?
Newspapers are aimed at the general public.
Magazines usually have a target market and are aimed at a particular category of people. If writing for a magazine targeting a particular group you may use jargon specific to that hobby or topic.
e.g. golf, fashion, knitting, gardening,scuba diving, adult, kids, t.v., photography, wedding, movies.
Magazines are often more informal than newspapers. Ask yourself who will be reading your magazine, this will help you to decide what tone to adopt.
Website Articles and Blogs?
The internet is now full of articles about every topic imaginable (see www.wikipedia.org). Some are factual, some are opinion pieces, some are personal diaries.
The word ‘blog’ is short for ‘web log’. There are two main types of blog
- discusses a particular subject.
- a personal online diary.
- maintained by an individual or a company
- regularly updated
- interactive, allowing visitors to leave comments
As of Feb 2011 there were 156 million public blogs in existence.
The language used tends to be fairly informal.
If you are asked to write a blog about a personal event(s) in your life write it in diary style.
If you are asked to write a blog about a particular topic write it in the style of an article.
For satirical news stories, check out www.theonion.com. Hilarious (if you like that sort of thing ;-0)
If you want more help writing your article there are some great resources here http://www.squidoo.com/newspaper-article