How to Write News

Many writers struggle with producing a document aimed at garnering publicity or being printed in the news. They often miss one or more of the criteria of a news document: public relevance, timeliness, proper formatting or usefulness. These obstacles can be overcome by combining a SWOTI framework with the inverted pyramid. This strategy can then be adapted to the particular function of the news document: displaying thought leadership, capturing the attention of journalists or the public, or building a customer base.

SWOTI is an acronym and framework of thinking about information to alchemize relevance to publics. It will allow you to see information not in a vacuum but instead as informing and being informed upon by the surrounding environment. Depending on how the framework is used, SWOTI can make information appeal to mass audiences or more niche ones, but I'm getting ahead of myself. First, I'll instruct you how to conduct a SWOTI analysis.

• Strengths (internal): What are your personal or company related internal strengths. Do you know a lot about investing or roofing? Do you have high credibility in the African-American community or in the Chicago region? List your strengths focusing on those that make you or your company unique.

• Weaknesses (internal): What are are your internally held weaknesses? Do you lack credibility, an audience or consumers? Is your business structure lacking in pliability and adaptability?

• Opportunities (external): Opportunities deals with external trends that align with your personal or company expertise. If you teach an online learning class, then the upswing in the popularity of online learning would be an opportunity. What are the social trends that produce a need for your expertise?

• Threats (external): What are the externally related threats to your person or company? Are you a print publication threatened by the increased availability of information online? Is there a proposed legislation that would make your company's inventory unusable? Write out external threats in your environment.

• Implications (putting it all together): Now combine one or more internal strengths or weaknesses with one or more external opportunities or threats. Strengths combined with opportunities capitalize on what you or your company can offer the public. Strengths combined with threats can detract or counteract threats in the external environment. Weaknesses combined with opportunities provide you the opportunity to minimize organizational weaknesses by drawing on opportunities in the environment. Weakness with threats provides an opportunity to minimize both internal weaknesses and combat external threats. However, It is the most difficult position to be in. It requires that you find identify strengths in your weaknesses or opportunities in your violent external environment.

Depending on the size of the external threats or opportunities being capitalized on, a news document can be generalized to a mass or more niche audience.

Once you have developed a slant that prioritizes the value of your information to a public, you can move on to writing a highly structured piece of journalism that will be easy to digest by publics and media representatives alike.

The inverted pyramid refers to a way of structuring information. It requires that you structure an article in the order of the most important to the least important information. It may prove helpful to list out the: who, what, when, and where of the article. Then prioritize the value of each to the audience before deciding what order you want to present the important facts in.

While the inverted pyramid, necessitates that information be presented in order of most to least important, you can start your intro sentence in a variety of ways. Some suggestions are: a surprising fact, a question, an evaluation of current perspectives on the subject, a quote or a statistic. Another tip that will prove helpful in structuring your article is to list the paragraph's topic sentences on a line and focus the paragraphs on connecting the topic sentences in an easily comprehensible and logical progression.

The article can be ended in a variety of ways: a sudden stop, suggesting other considerations, a question asking the audience to share exceptions or additions to your logic, a call to action or provide commentary or advice on information that was previously presented. If the article is long, I suggest also including a summary of the information. If the article is short, a summary will likely seem redundant, especially if your information flows logically--which it should.

Follow these instructions and your article will have news relevance, the most important criteria in getting your article published, shared and spoken about. It will also be easy to skim or read.