James P Devellis – How to Write a News Story
In my view James P Devellisis one of the finest journalists here in Boston and I have followed his career for many years now. James has really risen through the ranks here in Boston and he is widely regarded as one of the best local news writers out there. James started off in a very small way writing for community papers and writing gossip columns, before rising up the ranks and getting involved in high level stories. In fact James has recently written an outstanding piece which dispelled false allegations of misconduct which had been leveled at his paper. James is someone who you can learn a great deal from and I caught up with him to find out some tips on how you can write a great news story.
The first thing that James discussed was the rules of a story which you should have in your mind and how these should never change. For him the rules are telling an accurate story, providing value and information for the reader and always focusing on truth above everything. If you have these rules in your head then no matter whether you are writing about an incident with a fox or foreign currency, you can always ensure that the piece will come out well.
When you are looking for some facts and sources for your news story it is important to remember that very rarely do people voluntarily come to you with information, it is up to you to go and find out. Make sure that you always check your facts and your sources properly, failure to do so will see your integrity questioned, something which is never good for a news writer.
The style with which you write a news story is far different from one which you would use when writing a novel for example. Usually you will be restricted by column inches so the challenge which you have is to tell the complete story with the space that you have. In order to do this you need to use direct language, spell out the facts and keep the details succinct. Readers of news articles rarely wish to pore over thousands of words and they want to know what is going on as quickly as possible. Try not to write in a long winded style, the keys to a news article is short and sharp writing.
If you are reporting the news then your opinions should largely stay out of it and it is your job to present the facts to the reader, not influence opinions. This can be difficult at times and this is why it isn’t always easy to write in this way. some people will eventually get opinion pieces but in the main you should look at doing nothing more than presenting the cold, hard facts.
Keep practicing and maybe one day you can be as successful as James P Devellis.