PARAMETERS FOR NEWS WRITING AND REPORTING

The success of any profession depends on the quality of rules and regulations he/she follows. Let’s consider few factors that guide news writing and reporting.

Never Pass A Verdict Or formulate A Judgment
It is not your duty as a reporter or writer to pass a verdict or make a judgment. Just gather the facts of the story, craft them into a story, present them to your audience and let them decide on whose side they will want to go.

Avoid Editorializing
Leave editorializing to the Editorial Writers. News reports must be as to the point and objective.

Avoid The Use Of unusual Jargon
Do not imagine that your audience knows the meanings of the unfamiliar jargons you are using. Always use familiar words.

Keep yourself and other reporters out of the story unless you and they are a vital part of the news.

Avoid the use of “told me”, “told this writer” or “told our reporter” phrase. An interview will serve your
purpose.

There must be perfect precision in writing and reporting. Always keep the fact in mind, when in doubt, leave it out.

There must be no stubborn distortion of facts in either news or headlines.
Never tamper with the facts of a story no matter the benefits that may accrue to you as a result. This is an unforgivable offense in journalism.Any reporter who tampers or fabricates the so-called facts of a story is finished in the industry. You become leprous, untouchable and hence unemployable.

Guard against publication of defamatory statements.
The good reporter is the one who lives to write another report and see the fame of the previous reports come to him. Avoid writing your way into jail. Defamatory statements should be avoided because of its capacity to keep you in jail and close down your media organization because of insolvency resulting from the inability to pay court fines.

Use simple words.
News writing and reporting are not the platforms to impress anybody with long sounding and big words. Always use the nearest simple word. A good news report is the one the average reader reads and understands.

All news copies must be typewritten and double-spaced.
The era of hand written copies is gone. Therefore, a reporter must know how to type his story using the computer. It must also be typed in double space so that Sub-Editors and Editors will be able to edit the copy.

The first page must carry the reporter’s surname, a slug line and date in the top left hand corner.
Slug lines must be short- preferably one word.

Start your story half-way down the first page.
You must give enough space for your superior editorial staff to work on your copy.

Leave at least 1(inches) margin at left, right, top and bottom of each page. Don’t overcrowd the
pages. Leave appropriate margins as suggested.

Each page must be numbered or lettered. The correct letter or numeral is in the form of “B copy next” or “page 2 next”. This type of numbering must appear at the bottom right hand corner of each page except the last.

Always make you lead interesting. Guard against misleading leads. Leads sell a story. Therefore, to get and keep the attention of your audience, the lead must be interesting.

Use the inverted pyramid format when writing your news story.
This is the generally accepted format for writing news reports because it presents the most important elements of a story in the first few paragraphs. The format also makes it easy to cut stories from the bottom without losing any substance of the story.

You must quote accurately. Use quotes only where necessary to brighten up your story. Never overdo this in your copy.

 Use SAID if you want to write in the present tense and SAID THAT if it is reported speech. This style helps the copy retains currency and live.

 Always read your copy carefully and connect all typographical spelling and grammatical mistakes before turning it in. This is a primary rule even in ordinary or everyday writing. No amount of speed could justify a badly written copy.

 Your copy must be submitted in duplicate and both copies must be properly edited.

 Never underline words or phrases or titles of books in your copy.

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