News Stories

How to write a news story

Most successful fictional stories follow the conflict – climax – resolution story structure. For instance, in Harry Potter, the conflict is when Harry learns of an evil person who wants to kill him, and the incidents that lead to Voldemort’s take over. The climax is the fight at Hogwarts. The resolution is when Harry wins the fight and peace is restored. This conflict, climax, and resolution can be applied to news stories, but needs some modification.

There are many ways to write a news story, but here is one. There are four main parts:

  • Orientation (introduction)
  • Key events (in chronological order)
  • (if possible) resolution (outcome / conclusion)
  • Sources / References / Related links (if possible)

The news story must answer the eight wh-questions:

  • Where – It happened
  • Who – Is involved
  • What – Happened
  • When – It occurred
  • How – It happened
  • Why – It happened
  • Who said what – Include quotes
  • What looks like – Include a picture

Prepare these answers on your topic research sheet. Possible topics can include: Sporting events, cultural events, political events, technology, arts, science, economics, business, health, and more.

(Fictional) Example

  1. Discuss with your partner if you can see the four parts and eight questions in this fictional example below.
  2. What is the difference between references, sources, and related links?

Nagoya Zoo gets New Wombat

The zoo in Nagoya city Japan, received a new wombat from the Healesville Sanctuary today. The wombat, named Doug Burrows, was sent to help marsupial researchers in Japan learn more about the biology of the species.

Doug was chosen from many wombats that were kept at the Healesville Sanctury on the outskirts of Melbourne. Dr Jane Green recommended Doug to go to Japan saying, “He’s a lovely little guy with a friendly persona. I think our Japanese colleagues will really like him”. The research programme Doug will be involved in is about sleep, and the sleep-wake cycles of the hairy-nosed wombat. Japanese marsupial researchers believe that wombats sleep more in colder temperatures, than they do in warmer ones. Dr Green said, “The temperatures in Nagoya can get colder than here in Melbourne, and so it will be interesting to know if this changes their behaviour”.

Wombat snuggling. Photo by Shami Chatterjee CC 2006. https://flic.kr/p/vmEXW
Wombat snuggling. Photo by Shami Chatterjee CC 2006. https://flic.kr/p/vmEXW

Being an ambassador of the Healesville Sanctuary to the Nagoya Zoo, Doug Burrows was flown in first class by All Nippon Airways (ANA) direct from Melbourne International Airport to Tokyo, where zoo officials greeted him. Stewardesses on the flight said that he was curious, but enjoyed his luxury grass meals fed to him, and the toys provided. Nagoya zoo officials reported that Doug seemed so tired from his journey that he slept on the bullet train from Tokyo to Nagoya.

Doug will have his own pen next to the other Nagoya Zoo wombats, and will be viewable to the public for two weeks. After this time, Doug will be kept in a special pen, away from the public, so that biologists can monitor his sleep-wake patterns and behaviour.

Related Links

Practice

  1. See this news story: Eel-airplane hybrid named Japan’s best mascot. Do you see the four parts, and the eight questions answered?
  2. Now, write your own story with this heading, “Nanzan Uni Lion Voted Best University Mascot in Japan”. Use your imagination to write this.
  3. Make your own news story. It can be based on truth, or fictional. Keep it simple. If it’s a fictional event, please state it is not true with “(fictional)” in the title. If it’s a real news event, DO NOT plagiarise (you may get 0% for copying). Example:
    1. A famous person visiting your university/class
    2. Your class doing a special trip to a special place
    3. How your class helped the community in a special way
    4. A special holiday event held at your university
    5. (anything)

Teaching & researching EFL listening in Japan