Chapter 5: News Writing Basics
Straight news/Hard news
Stories that report only the most essential information in a concise and impartial manner are referred to as straight or hard news stories. This type of story typically follows the inverted pyramid style, which organizes information by descending order of importance or places the most newsworthy information at the beginning of the article. This style will be discussed in more detail below. Examples of hard news stories include those about political topics and crime.
The primary difference between a feature story and a straight news story is the style. A feature article is more in-depth than a traditional hard news article and uses the types of storytelling devices and details that you might find in novels. Feature stories are considered soft news and do not focus merely on the basic facts.
Writers typically have more flexibility to use a wider range of formats, provide rich descriptions, and include scene-setting anecdotes. Features often are given more space on the page and are accompanied by pictures, illustrations, graphics, maps, and other visual components. A profile of an athlete or a political figure is an example of a feature article. The characteristics of feature writing will be explained further in the next chapter.
Although journalistic ethical standards call for general news writing to be objective in content and tone, newswriters also have the opportunity to communicate personal points of view about current events and topics. The editorial is a type of news story used to develop an argument about an issue and even sway readers’ opinions. The essay also represents the official view of an editorial board that determines what views to share after some kind of deliberative process.
Click here for an example of an editorial.