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How to Write a News Story: Definition, Structure, Types of the News Story

The news story refers to the journalistic writing style that is used in the mass media: television, the Internet, newspapers, magazines, and radio.

What Is a News Story

News stories are widely used by the media to inform the audience about current, significant, and interesting events.

A news story is a journalistic presentation of a new event or fact.

Most often this is a short message. 

The news function is to answer the questions: what, where, and when happened.

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Features of the News Story

The features of the news stories are:

  • reliability of information;
  • brevity;
  • relevance;
  • minimal details;
  • news stories must be clear and easy to read;
  • attractive to all classes;
  • widely known terms (exchange, broker, exchange rate, transaction, market);
  • the use of words and figures of speech that are typical for business writing style (have activities, during the reporting period, take into consideration);
  • noun predominance;
  • sentences are usually complex. 


Example of News Story

News story “March For Our Lives: Tens of thousands rally for stricter US gun laws” (excerpt) :

Thousands of protesters are gathering across the US to call for stricter gun laws in the wake of last month’s mass shooting in Texas.

Gun safety group March For Our Lives – founded by survivors of the 2018 Parkland school shooting – said some 450 rallies were planned for Saturday.

It said it would not let politicians “sit back” as people continue to die.

US President Joe Biden backed the protests, calling on Congress to “pass common sense gun safety legislation”.

Nineteen children and two adults were killed in the 24 May shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas.

That attack, and another days earlier in Buffalo, New York, in which 10 people were killed, has led to renewed calls for action on gun control in the US.


Main Functions of News

The major function of the news stories, just like other texts related to journalism, is to provide information about some socially significant event. In addition, the news may contain assumptions, hypotheses, forecasts, recommendations, and regulatory and evaluation information.

The purpose of a news story is not only a detailed analysis of an event. The most important thing is to inform the mass addressee about an event that has happened or will only happen in the future. 

If the news needs to be covered in more detail, then the journalist can indicate the sources of information, add quotes and provide statistics.

How to Write A New Story: The Structure and Method of Writing

The Inverted Pyramid Structure

To write a news story, journalists use the traditional structure that is typical for the journalistic writing style: information is presented in descending order, that is, its value and importance decrease from the beginning of the text to its end. This way of writing news is called the inverted pyramid.

Inverted Pyramid Structure in journalism
The inverted pyramid structure

A news story written using the inverted pyramid structure consists of 4 parts:

  1. Headline. The headlines of new stories in the media are most often quite informative – within 10 words. The heading itself usually illustrates the main idea of the news. 

For example:

Global markets fall after rough week on Wall Street; yen hits two-decade-low” 

2. Lead. The lead is the first or leading paragraph of the news story, the chapeau or abstract of the article, which outlines the main idea of the text, only the most valuable information.

For example:

Hong Kong/London (CNN Business)Global markets and US stock futures fell early Monday, indicating a downbeat start to the trading week after a broad sell-off on Wall Street following surprisingly strong US inflation data.”


3. The body of the text. It is a description of the event, details, evidence, photographs, quotes, etc.:

The Dow (INDU) plunged 880 points, or 2.5%, on Friday. The S&P 500 (SPX) shed 2.7% and the Nasdaq (NDX) dropped about 3%. The US consumer price index rose by 8.6% in May, raising fears that the Federal Reserve will have to act even more aggressively to try to tame price rises.

The shockwaves were felt most acutely in Asia on Monday. Japan’s Nikkei (N225) closed down 3%, and the yen weakened to the lowest level in more than 20 years. The Japanese currency has declined rapidly in recent months because of a strong greenback and ultra-loose Japanese monetary policy.

The Japanese central bank and government warned in a rare joint statement on Friday that they are concerned about the sharp falls, suggesting a potential intervention by Tokyo to stem the decline.

The yen wasn’t the only Asian currency seeing a steep fall. The Indian rupee fell to an all-time low of 78.2 against the US dollar in early trade.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (HSI) fell 3.4% on Monday. Korea’s Kospi fell 3.5%. China’s Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP) was down 0.9%.

In Europe, France’s CAC 40 (CAC40) dropped 2.47% in early trade, while Germany’s DAX 30 (DAX) was down 2.3%. The FTSE 100 (UKX) slipped 1.8%, while the pound slipped to $1.22 after new data showed the UK economy contracting for a second consecutive month in April.

In the US, Dow futures were down 1.9% at 5.20 am ET. S&P 500 futures were down around 2.3%, while Nasdaq futures were down about 2.9%.


4. Ending. The final part of the news story is additional information, similar, interesting materials, and journalistic assessment. This part is optional. 

For example:

“The hangover from Friday’s US CPI data isn’t helped by concern about China walking back some of its economic reopening, or more dire economic data in the UK,” Societe Generale strategist Kit Juckes said in a research note.

A number of neighborhoods in Shanghai faced another temporary lockdown at the weekend, as authorities launched mass testing just days after Covid restrictions were eased for most of its 25 million residents.

Authorities in Beijing’s largest Chaoyang district announced Thursday the closure of all entertainment venues, just days after allowing their reopening.


News Story Structure

Usually, the journalist tells the reader:

  • About the event – what happened?
  • About time – when?
  • About the place – where?
  • About participants – who?
  • About the circumstances – how?
  • About the source of information – how is it known?
  • About the predicted development of the event – what happens next?

Which of these questions the journalist will answer in the text of the news story and the number of these questions will depend on the amount of information that he has and on the purpose of the news. These questions can be arranged in the most varied order, at the author’s discretion.

Another thing to keep in mind regarding whether the new event needs to be related to others that have already happened before and are widely known to the audience. In this case, the structure of the news story will be more complex, because it is necessary not only to talk about the event but also to connect this fact with the information already available.

How to Write a News Story: Types of News

Before you start writing, you need to decide in which genre you need to write, and what type of news story is suitable specifically for this news event.

So that you can quickly navigate and make the right choice, further in the article we will consider the types of news stories. 

There are two general types of news stories according to structure:

  1. Informative or straight news. The aim is to give the facts of the news. 
  2. Feature or human interest news story. The aim is to take material of little or no news value and make it interesting for the audience. 

According to the method of writing, news stories are:

  1. Narrative.
  2. Descriptive.
  3. Expository.
  4. Combination of these types. 

According to the scope, there are the following types of news:

  1. Local: news story takes place within the immediate locality. 
  2. National: news takes place within a country. 
  3. Foreign: the event takes place out of the country. 
  4. Dateline: news preceded by date and place of origin or the place when it was written. 

According to the sequence:

  • Anticipated news or announcement. An announcement is a message about upcoming events (for example, about the construction of new buildings).

Such news stories attract the public to visit various cultural events.

The main purpose of the announcement is to give brief but objective information about the time and aspects of the planned event, about its most important prerequisites and stages.

  • Spot news. News that gathered and reported on the spot. The journalist is the eyewitness to the event. Such type of news is reported immediately. 
  • Coverage news. News has been written from the given beat. 
  • Follow-up news. A sequel to the previous news story.

According to the source ofinformation news stories are:

  1. Interview story. 
  2. Speech story. 
  3. Quote story. Information is presented primarily through quotes. These news stories are based almost entirely on an interview or a speech. 
  4. Fact story. 
  5. Action story. A description of an event that involved a lot of motion. For example, war reports, competitions, and sports games reports. 

According to the content:

  1. Science news. 
  2. Police reports. 
  3. Developmental news. 
  4. Sports stories. 
  5. Routine stories: celebrations, graduations, election stories reported year in and year out. 

Minor forms of news stories:

  1. News brief. It is a short news broadcast. News briefs are a good way to describe events that do not need in-depth treatment. 
  2. News bulletin. It aims to give the gist of the news. 
  3. Flash news. Flash news is a bulletin that conveys the first word of the event. 
  4. News-featurette. It is a short news feature usually used as filler. 


Used sources of information:

  • Types of News Writing. Willard Grosvenor Bleyer.
  • Campus Journalism and School Paper Advising Fourth Edition 1997. Ceciliano J. Cruz.
  • Style Palette. Textbook on Russian language style for foreigners. Authors: Nina Afanasyeva, Tatyana Popova.
  • Literary editing strategies. Authors: Zueva T. A., Ivanova E. N.
  • Russian language and speech culture. Authors: Tatyana Balykhina, Mikhail Rybakov, Marina Lysyakova.
  • Image:

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