How to Write an Informative Article

1) What to write? What is new?

The term “new” is seemingly easy to define. This is all happening again around us: current events, issues of time, new projects or initiatives. But a newspaper does not publish only the news of the day. It also publishes further analysis, opinions and articles of human interest.

Recognize what will be good news may be more difficult.

The journalist must choose between the flow of information and events that reach him from his community and throughout the world. His usual criteria are: size, ability to move, timeliness and interest. Note that these factors are not necessarily all present simultaneously in each article!

2) “Hard news” or “soft news”? Articles or reports of substance?

Sections of “hard news” (roughly 600 words) are the record of events or incidents lately. They constitute the bulk of the new one from a regular day.

The beginning (first paragraph) summarizes the facts. What happened? Where? When? Who / By whom? Why? This summary should be very short. The rest of the text is there to give details.

Writing must be clear and concise. Above all, it should give readers the information they need. If the federal government yesterday announced a new program of major importance for young people is a good news story for today.

Sections of “soft news” (roughly 600 words) are common characteristic of not being connected to the news immediately. They may be portraits of individuals, profiles of organizations or programs. The primer here may be more literary.

The depth stories (roughly 1500 words) take step back to the new one. They explore a question. Even if they are more distant from the immediate present, they are as important journalism. They can be a good way to explore issues too complex for the telegraphic style of a new topical. Example: a report on homeless youth. A longer text will reflect the complexity of their individual stories.

The depth stories are at the heart of journalism. A good story to give life back to your community, their struggles, their victories and their defeats. A background report chooses an angle (eg black youth back to church) and explored by interviewing the people involved and drawing conclusions from their statements. The author addresses the question of the important time and tells the reader through the comments of people involved.

Recommendation: Do not forget to “balance” your text. Present different views of people on an issue and let the reader choose who to believe. Your personal opinion should not appear. These are quotes from people interviewed who build the report. You are the narrator.

The editorial: An editorial expresses an opinion. The editorial page of a newspaper allows authors to express their own views. All editorials are personal, but they must be of interest to the reader.

3) How to structure your text

News articles ( “hard news” or “soft news”) and depth stories all have the same basic structure: an introduction, then the body text.


The first or first two paragraphs are among the essential elements of a new text. Journalists call it the beginning (or “lead”). Its function is to summarize the content when it comes to news stories, to hook the reader, when it comes to general news.

In the “hard news”, summarizes the primer that follows and answer the best 5 questions traditional journalism (who, what, where, when and why). (Example: “Young homeless expressed on Sherbrooke Street in Montreal, Wednesday afternoon, claiming the mayor emergency housing during the winter.” Can you identify the 5 basic questions in this primer?)

In the “soft news”, the theme is presented in a less direct and more literary. The author tries to catch the reader’s attention as would a novelist. (Example: “There are four years, Simon was sleeping in the streets or under bridges?” Once the reader hooked, the journalist respond to 5 questions in the text, but not necessarily at the very beginning.)

Body text

It incorporates the views of those interviewed, some facts and your own narration that structures the text. Beware though, you have no right to “editorialisation, that is to say to express your own views in any way whatsoever in this type of article.


The role of a journalist is to discover and report the different views of people involved in a given situation. Their comments should represent the bulk of the text. The narrative helps to weave it all into a coherent whole. Recommendation: Do not treating one topic per article. There may be a variety of details, but all must be related to the original idea. (Example: if you want to deal with relationships of young blacks with the police, you SHOULD NOT get lost in the biography of a young in particular.)

As journalists, you are the eyes and ears of the reader. The visual details are important to give life to the text (for this, the interviews in person are always preferable to telephone interviews). You must also “feel” about you, that is to say, develop an understanding of the emotional context of the issue involved and the views expressed by those involved.

Agree? Here are two examples that summarize each case essentially to cover.

Young people come together to form an organization. You must say why they do it and what changes they are trying to promote in society. You must also specify who they are and what strategies they plan to use.

An artist is exhibited for the first time. Why? That thinks it’s art? His creative process is it rational or emotional? What works like his?

4) Some other tips

How to find ideas:

* Keep your ears and eyes open, listen to what your friends are talking about.

* Read everything that comes to hand, find ideas in other newspapers and magazines.

* Discover the views of young people in a matter of time.

* Work on a subject that interests you and you would like to learn more.

* Talk to people involved in a particular area to see what they attach importance.

How to search for information

* Find up articles on the subject.

* Tell your friends and associates.

* Contact associations and organizations specialized in the field or interested in the issue.

* Get a list of people to interview, cover both sides of the story by interviewing people who have different viewpoints on the issue.

* Find government statistics and study of old reports and press releases on the subject.

Do’s and Don’ts in an Interview

* Always be polite.

* Explain the basic rules of interviewing people who know how the media. In other words, tell them that everything they say can and will be published. What if they want one or more parts of their statements are not published, they must absolutely you specify.

* Save the interview (for a proof if challenged).

* Build a relationship of trust with the interviewee.

* Start with easy questions, keep the most difficult for last.

* Pay attention to body language of the interviewee, if a question is on the defensive, leave to return later.

* Never be aggressive.

* Keep control of the interview does not allow the interviewee to get lost in long speeches or out of the topic.

* Do not, on the other hand, your preconceptions about what it should say color the interview. Always remember that the interviewee knows more than you on the issue.

Organizing Information

* Gather your notes, interviews and searches in a single folder.

* Read them.

* Look for the common theme that emerges.

* Select quotes and interesting data.

* Expand the focus of your article.

* Summarize this axis in two or three sentences.

Writing and editing

* Remember that your role is to tell, to shape a story.

* Do not be afraid to rewrite and correct.

* Write as clearly and concisely as possible.

* Adopt a direct style.

* Tell a good story.

* Give the reader what you think he wants to know.

* Ask yourself what is the specific topic of your article.

* Read the article aloud, listen carefully to you.

* Look for the common theme that emerges.

* Select quotes and interesting data.

* Expand the focus of your article.

* Summarize this axis in two or three sentences.