Online news articles are no different from printed news stories. They use the same journalistic standards. Their creation is based on the same news writing principles whose ultimate purpose is to deliver fresh, relevant and detailed information or current events.
Online news articles are different from other types of articles that are written for online publication, but their average lengths are somewhat similar which stand between 400 and 700 words.
Here are the elements of effective news articles:
1. Captivating Headline
The headline is the very first item that readers see in any written article. It should be able to capture reader curiosity and interest. It is seldom made of a complete sentence.
The most important thing in a news article headline is its appeal that compels the reader to read the news story. Good headlines contain popular keywords that help to make it visible to the search engines.
2. Compelling Lead
In a news article, the lead refers to the opening sentence of the story. It introduces the story to the reader. It is the sentence that either hooks the reader to your article or makes him press the “back” button. The ideal length of lead sentences is not longer than 35 words and no more than two sentences. It usually gives answers to the 5 W’s of journalistic writing.
A captivating headline and compelling lead can take the reader to the news article body where the details of the story are written. You should structure your news article body in the fashion of an inverted pyramid with the most interesting items in the upper paragraphs and the supporting information at the lower portion of the body.
Break your story down to short paragraphs of not more than 5 sentences long. Long paragraphs can deter visitors from reading. See to it that each paragraph is limited to a single idea.
News articles should be written in the third person.
Editing is a very important aspect of every writing task. After assembling your news article, be sure to edit it to check and rectify grammar and spelling mistakes. Always verify names and see to it that they are spelled correctly.
News stories come with sources that you have to cite accordingly. If you are writing for a news website, you should know its rules for citing sources.
You should have more than a single source for any particular news story. This will help you to confirm the veracity of the report you are harvesting. Avoid writing news articles that are not verifiable.