News Writing, Editorial Writing, Column Writing and Feature Writing


Write comprehensive notes on the following forms of journalistic writing:

1.News Writing

News is defined as information about an event, idea or opinion that is timely and that affects and interests a large number f people in a community.  News must fulfill the following requirements

–               It should not have been published any where before;

–               It should come to the readers for the first time;

–               A news must relate in one way or the other to the human activity;

–               It should have an element of interest for the readers

–               It should impart some sort of information or education to the readers;

–               It should be concise and accurate

News Characteristics

A.         It is accurate

1.         Factual accuracy means that e4very statement, every name and date, every age and address, every quotation is a verifiable fact

  1. Accuracy means not only correctness of specific detail but also correctness of general impression, the way the details are put together and the emphasis given.
  2. Accuracy is difficult to achieve because of the myriad facts which go into a story, the speed involved in modern journalism, the many people who help to produce the finished story;
  3. A report must exercise ceaseless vigilance to achieve accuracy.  He must check every note and other details.B.           It is balanced.
    1. Balance in a news story is a matter of emphasis and completeness.  It is a reporter’s giving each fact its proper emphasis putting it in proper relation to every other fact, establishing its relative importance to the meaning of a story.
    2. Balance means selecting and arranging facts so as to give a balanced view of a news event.
    3. News is the factual report of an event not the event as a prejudiced person might see or as the reporters or sponsor might wish it to have been.
    4. A reporter should report news impartially and honestly
    5. It is difficult to understand all fact of the story.  When objectivity collides with complexity a good reporter should help the consumer see the objective facts in perspective.
    6. A news story must follow the inverted pyramid form and be written so tersely simply and clearly that the meaning is absolutely plain.
    7. Effective reporting is painstakingly precise in word choice, yet full of life and vigor, colorful, yet without personal tinting affectation or overwriting.
  4. E.           It is recent.
    1. The element of time is of prime consideration to reporters.
    2. Readers want the most recent information on topics in which they are interested.
C.           It is Objective
D.           It is concise and clear


2.         Editorial Writing

Editorial page has occupied an importance place in the newspaper industry.   Editorial reflects the newspaper ideology and is considered the mouthpiece of the newspaper management.  Editorial is an important tool to build public opinion in a positive and constructive way on important national and international issues.  The basic principles of Editorial writing are:


Every editorial is made up of three parts:

  • Introduction
  • Body
  • Conclusion

a.         Introduction

The introduction is the first paragraph. It often begins with a general statement about the topic and ends with a more specific statement of the main idea. The purpose of the introduction is to:

  • let the reader know what the topic is
  • inform the reader about your point of view
  • arouse the reader’s curiosity so that he or she will want to read about your topic

b.         Body

The body of the editorial follows the introduction. It consists of a number of paragraphs in which you develop your ideas in detail:

  • Limit each paragraph to one main idea. (Don’t try to talk about more than one idea per paragraph.)
  • Prove your points continually by using specific examples and quotations.
  • Use transition words to ensure a smooth flow of ideas from paragraph to paragraph.

c.         Conclusion

The conclusion is the last paragraph. Its purpose is to:

  • summarize your main points, leaving out specific examples


Kind of Editorials

Editorial are of four (4) kinds:

I           Civic editorials

II          Policy editorials

III         Big News editorials

IV        Obituary Editorials


A good editorial makes three things clear

–                      The subject or news peg –  the news event or current situation or occasion evoking editorial

–                      The reaction – clear-cut for or against, what the editorial writer wants the reader to think about.

–                      The reasons – facts or logical arguments to back the statement.  This organizational order is not only the most logical but it is the easiest for the beginner to learn.

Classification of Editorials

Editorials can be classified on the basis of functions as follows:

–                      to influence opinion;

–                      to call attention to a wrong/evil to enlighten readers

–                      to praise or to congratulate;

–                      to comment lightly on the news


3.         Column Writing:

Column is the creative expression covering all fields of journalism.  It also contains personal opinion of the writer, which is not welcomed in other form of news story writing.


A column may pass the projected judgements, make recommendations and may write freely without following the accepted boundaries of news writing.


The style as well approach of column writing is neither serious nor compulsive.  A column can be written on any aspect of human interest, it can be humorous, entertaining, sport, talking about people’s life, politics, good governance and may also deal with socio-economic issues such as finance, industry etc.


Qualities of a column, editorial and sometime a feature are intermingled, however, column offer an opportunity for variety in content that no feature or editorial can approach.


A Column should always carry the writer’s by-line and where necessary photographs may also be used.  Columns appear at regular intervals and usually in the same location in the publication in order to facilitate the readers.


Columns may be subject oriented such as those in hobbies or crafts and project the writer’s personal opinion and personality, offering humor, opinion and anecdotes.

Types of Columns:

Columns are considered very useful piece of material, which is flexible enough to fit in at various placed.  Columns can be divided in the following major types and classifications:


A)        Reporting-in-Depth Columns:

In this category background info, perspective and interpretation are given to any happening as a follow-up of any hard news.  The current news events are presented by relating to the past information and projecting future perspective.


b)           “I Think” or Opinionated Columns

Seasoned/experienced columnists usually write this type of columns.  The writer put himself at the driving seat and gives his opinion/observation as a specialist on the topic under discussion.


c)            Gossip Columns

The reader is attracted to this type of columns because it contains a juicy bit of gossip.  Column contain little expect its titillating value which may not be the writer’s exclusive domain.

d)        Humorous Columns

This type of column is considered light weight.  The writer tries to find the humorous aspect in life and write an article that will amuse reader.  These columns also spotlight on an event more clearly than thousands of words of explanation.


e)         Essay Columns

This require a perceptiveness or possible just and cover powering interesting in people that all authors do not possess.


f)             Personality Diary Columns

Diary columns come from public figures and usually written by writers who claim to be close with the concerned personality.  Such columns also may emanate from those who have special place in public like politician, super stars etc.  Most writers occasionally attempt this kind of wring.


g)           How-to-do or Advice Columns

This kind of column is intended to educate the readers through gentle instructions and usually appear on editorial pages.

4.         Feature Writing:

Feature is a non-news article giving background information on certain prominent events or personality in the news.

Features cover all the underlying causes as well as the background of the news story.  It provides guidance as well as entertainment to all the readers including those who are already well aware of the facts and figures of the subject.

The task of writing is usually much easier if you create a set of notes which outline the points you are going to make. Using this approach, you will create a basic structure on which your ideas can be built.

  1. PlansGet used to the idea of shaping and re-shaping your ideas before you start writing, editing and rearranging your arguments as you give them more thought.


  1. Analyze the questionMake sure you understand what the question is asking for. What is it giving you the chance to write about? What is its central issue? Analyze any of its key terms and any instructions. If you are in any doubt, ask your tutor to explain what is required.


  1. Generate ideas

You need to assemble ideas.  Make a note of anything, which might be relevant to your answer. These might be topics, ideas, observations, or instances from your study materials. Put down anything you think of at this stage.


  1. Choosing topics

Extract from your brainstorm listings those topics and points of argument, which are of greatest relevance to the question and its central issue?




  1. Put topics in order

Put these chosen topics in some logical sequence. At this stage you should be formulating a basic response to the question, even if it is provisional and may later be changed. Try to arrange the points so that they form a persuasive and coherent argument.


  1. Arrange your evidence

All the major points in your argument need to be supported by some sort of evidence. Compile a list of brief quotations from other sources which will be offered as your evidence.


  1.  Make necessary changes

Whilst you have been engaged in the first stages of planning, new ideas may have come to mind. Alternate evidence may have occurred to you, or the line of your argument may have shifted somewhat.


  1. Finalize essay plan

The structure of most features plans can be summarized as Introduction – Arguments – Conclusion. State your case as briefly and rapidly as possible, present the evidence for this case in the body, then sum up and try to ‘lift’ the argument to a higher level in your conclusion.


  1. RelevanceAt all stages, you should keep the question in mind. Keep asking yourself ‘Is this evidence directly relevant to the topic I have been asked to discuss?
    1. Personalities
    2. Commemoration
    3. Social and Cultural Sources
    4. Science and Technology
    5. Psychological Features
    6. History
    7. Instruction and Educational sources
    8. Investigative features

Sources f Feature


5.         Writing Interview


Defining Interview:

Different scholars have defined interview differently, however, most of them agreed that

Asking questions to obtain opinion, ideas or special information on a topic of interest to the public from a prominent person or a recognized authority”

Due to the public acceptance and popularity amongst the reader, the newspapers regularly include interviews in their publications.  Interview is one of the most widely used forms of journalistic techniques.


Interviews have four major categories

a)            Informative Interviews: it involves gathering of information about new events or issues

b)            Feature Interviews: Usually conducted with a celebrity like a movie star, sports hero, politician etc.

c)            Opinion Interview: – Conducted with prominent persons to sought opinion on an active issue.

d)            Symposium Interview: it involves several people talking on the same topic to get a variety of viewpoint.


Art of Interview:

Before conducting interview the moderator or interviewer needs to be prepared thoroughly.  He/She must follow the following general criteria before conducting an interview:

  1. Selection of topic for interview
  2. Selection of Interviewee
  3. Contact with the Source
  4. Selection of place for interview
  5. Selection of date and time for interview
  6. Conducting research on interviewee.
  7. Gathering all relevant research/information on the topic
  8. Gathering information related to interviewee e.g. his/her special interest, his past accomplishments, personal ideology and weaknesses.
  9. Preparing a comprehensive list of questionnaire
  10. Arranging all technical requirements and equipment needs.


The interviewer should following these interview techniques:

  1. Introduce yourself clearly and accurately;
  2. Be sure to get the person’s name and title;
  3. Be friendly, sympathetic and courteous;
  4. Begin the interview with light and interesting question
  5. Avoid Yes/no questions
  6. Be courageous and prepared to draw questions from the ongoing discussions
  7. Avoid ambiguous question
  8. Do not allow the interviewee to take control of the situation or to misguide you
  9. Never agree to ask pre-agreed questions
  10. Make sure that you understand what the interviewee had said
  11. Keep on probing until the point is fully explained.


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