News writing is to deliver news most effectively and attractively. A hard news and a feature story may look different but it would not change naija news the basic layout of news writing. There has to be, what is popularly known as, 5W’s and an H to complete news. The sequence of what, when, where, who, why and how may be different depending upon what is more important and what could attract the viewers more. For example if the news matter has Hollywood or White House as location then “where” should take the prominent place.
A news story starts flowing with the most important at the top and the least important at the bottom. The sequence is then made up of a headline, a lede, the news proper, comments and quotes. This is called an inverted pyramid structure.
Headline must be highly attractive so that the eyes of a reader taking a cursory view of a newspaper or online news freeze on it instantly. 99% readers read selective news. They go through the entire gamut and select a few to savour. Readers have to manage their time. Headline such as “How the Waste was Won” or “Coalition Government future imperfect” make perfect headline which seldom a few would like to avoid.
Lede is journalism slang and is placed next. It tells the entire story in one or two sentences and features as the opening part of the body text of news. Lede is what makes a news channel or a news paper more popular. It is the art of writing an entire story in few. It is a kind of breaking news or rhetoric used by media to attract viewers. In fact, it tells the substance of a news story in 30 to40 words and in one or two sentences.
Body text is the next in line. This is broken up into 3 to 5 paragraphs of about 3-5 sentences. The most important part of news takes up the top notch and the least important or affiliate part makes up the end. The quotes, if any, are inserted in the middle or at the end depending upon its importance and relation density with the news.
News writing is both an art and science. You have to develop the science of truthfulness and the art of judicious layout. Your style and penmanship would work as jewels in a crown.