Different forms of Journalistic writing

mass media Journalistic writing

There are following different forms of Journalistic writing the details is as under

1. News writing

News writing follows a basic formula; there are key elements every news story follows. While styles can diverge more dramatically depending on the kind of story a feature story may look and sound very different than a hard news one  all news stories are cut from the same mold. The first element of news writing is, of course, to deliver the news.

Most people have heard of the 5 W’s, even if they’ve never taken a journalism class. The W’s in question, as you probably know, refer to the Who, What, When, Where and Why that every story should address. Depending on what the story is, how and when you answer those W’s may change. If, for example, you’re reporting on a drive-by shooting in a city, we likely start with where the crime happened (what street or area of town for the local paper) and who was involved.

Figuring out what details to give a reader, and when, is key in constructing a story. The answer, of course, depends on the facts. If you’re working on the above story, and the murder happens to be one of a string of similar crimes, that may be the point you open the story with. If, however, the above story revolved around someone of note being shot, that might be what you start your piece with. (A story about a notable name being shot is a very different story than one about a private.

2. Column Writing

Column writing is very different from other forms of writing because unlike straight news and feature writing, columns have dedicated readerships. A columnist develops a following because his readers feel they can gain knowledge, insight and entertainment from reading his writings. It’s a great honor to be given a regular column but remember; to do it well requires a great amount of dedication to the craft.

1. Write with conviction: Put forward your opinion as something you truly believe in. Argue your case with conviction. Come down hard on one side of an issue. Be unequivocal. Never ever sit on the fence.

2. Maintain your focus: Make your column about one thing and one thing alone. Don’t muddle the message. Maintain your focus. That’s the only way to make a strong impression on your readers and to convince them that your point of view is correct.

3. Understand opposing viewpoints: Be mindful of the opposing argument. Anticipate objections to your point of view and deal with them convincingly with sound reasoning. If you’re not familiar with the opposing view, you will not be able to argue your points well.

4. Refer to facts: Your arguments, however logical, will not carry much weight unless they are accompanied by facts that support your position. Don’t overdo this and inundate your readers with statistics and figures. But do make use of facts from reputable sources.

5. Use analogies: Analogies are useful for illustrating a point, especially when the topic you are writing about is somewhat complicated or technical. Using a simple analogy from everyday life makes the issue more understandable and relevant to the reader.

6. Be critical: People like reading columnists who dare to criticize real life people – not just nameless concepts and policies. Naming names might create a bit of controversy but as long as you do not libel anyone and don’t go overboard in your criticism, it works well to make your column an interesting and exciting read.

Straight news is deemed to be boring covering press conferences and reporting who said what. Feature stories involve too much reporting and require discipline to follow a set structure. Columns, which are essentially opinion pieces, are much looser and therefore easier. Or so it seems.

Anybody can be trained to write straight news because it’s very mechanical. Feature articles, though also somewhat formulaic, are harder because they require good writing. But column writing is the hardest type of writing of all because it requires good thinking.

To write a good column requires more than just the ability to articulate an opinion. Your opinions must make sense, provide insight and be convincing. And you must do all this in an entertaining way. Shaping a powerful argument takes practice and requires both breadth and depth of knowledge as well as the ability to critically analyze a particular issue.

  • ·        Write with conviction
  • ·        Maintain your focus
  • ·        Understand opposing viewpoints
  • ·        Refer to facts
  • ·        Use analogies:
  • ·        Be critical
  • Do reporting

3. Review of literature

The format of a review of literature may vary from discipline to discipline and from assignment to assignment.

A review may be a self-contained unit an end in itself or a preface to and rationale for engaging in primary research. A review is a required part of grant and research proposals and often a chapter in theses and dissertations.

Generally, the purpose of a review is to analyze critically a segment of a published body of knowledge through summary, classification, and comparison of prior research studies, reviews of literature, and theoretical articles.



4. Feature of story

While the distinction between published features and news is often clear, when approached conceptually there are few hard boundaries between the two. It is quite possible to write a feature in the style of a news story, for instance. Nevertheless features do tend to take a more narrative approach, perhaps using opening paragraphs as scene-setting narrative hooks instead of the delivery of the most important facts.

5. Editorial

An editorial is an article that presents the newspaper’s opinion on an issue. It reflects the majority vote of the editorial board, the governing body of the newspaper made up of editors and business managers. It is usually unsigned. Much in the same manner of a lawyer, editorial writers build on an argument and try to persuade readers to think the same way they do. Editorials are meant to influence public opinion, promote critical thinking, and sometimes cause people to take action on an issue. In essence, an editorial is an opinionated news story.

Editorials may also be in the form of editorial cartoons typically, a newspaper’s editorial board evaluates which issues are important for their readership to know the newspaper’s opinion. Editorials are typically published on a special page dedicated to them, called the editorial page, which often also features letters to the editor from members of the public; the page opposite this page is called the op-ed page and frequently contains opinion pieces by writers not directly affiliated with the publication. However, a newspaper may choose to publish an editorial on the front page. In most English language press, this is done only rarely and on topics considered especially important; however, it is more common in some European countries such as Italy and France

In the field of fashion publishing especially, the term has been adapted to usually refer to photo-editorials in particular – features with often full-page photographs on a particular theme, designer, model or other single topic, with or (as a photo-essay) without accompanying text

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