Throughout the year you will be growing your knowledge of the world and expanding your non-fiction reading skills by reading news articles and writing about them.
Structure of a Newspaper Article
News articles aren’t generally written in chronological order.
Each newspaper article has a title (called the headline) that is set in large type. The writer of a newspaper article is often not credited; if the author is mentioned, this credit is called the author’s byline.
The beginning of each newspaper article (the first paragraph) is called the lead (one or two sentences long); the lead should summarize the main facts of the article, telling the 5 W’s (who, what, when, where, and why) and how. The first paragraph should also contain a hook, something that grabs the reader’s attention and makes the reader want to read the rest of the article. The nut graph is the paragraph that contains the core information about the story and tells the reader why the story is important.
The remainder of the article contains supporting paragraphs that go into more detail about the topic, often including quotes and interesting facts. The less important information should appear later in the article, since the article may be cropped (shortened) by the editor (the person who puts the newspaper together) to make the article fit on the newspaper page.
The reporter’s opinions should not appear in the article – only the facts. Use clear and simple language. Keep the article short and to the point. Use active verbs (for example: Man bites dog) and not passive verbs (for example: Dog bitten by man).
Each picture, graph or illustration should have a caption describing or explaining it.
Writing About Your Current Event
Summarizing the reading you did about the current event will help you as you explain and discuss the ideas with others, and as you use the information to link to other things you are reading about, as well as discussions you are having with others in class or in the world around you about the events or ideas related to the events.
1. Determine your purpose.
2. Preview the document.
3. Prepare to take notes.
4. Take notes to help you answer these questions:
• Who is involved?
• What events, ideas, or people does the author emphasize?
• What are the causes?
• What are the consequences or implications?
5. Establish criteria to determine what is important enough to include in the summary.
6. Evaluate information as you read to determine if it meets your criteria for importance.
7. Write your summary, which should:
• Identify the title, author, and topic in the first sentence.
• Be shorter than the original article
• Begin with a sentence that states the topic (see sample).
• Include a second sentence that states the author’s main idea.
• Include 3–5 sentences in which you explain—in your own words—the author’s point of view.
• Include one or two interesting quotation details
- Maintain the author’s meaning
- Organize the ideas in the order in which they appear in the article.
- Use transitions such as “according to” and the author’s name to show that you are summarizing someone else’s ideas.
• Include enough information so that someone who has not read the article will understand the ideas
Sample verbs to use: The author:
• focuses on
• points out
To read more about how to summarize what you’ve read, look here.
Understanding the structure of a news article can help you get the most out of the current event reading you will do.