What are the essence of a news story for MacTech or MacNews? This is the crux of all news – you need to know five things:

Who? What is the company name or the person that the news story is about?
What? What is the news? What is the price? What are the versions or models?
Where? What is the web site or other contact information to find out more?
When? When does this take place (e.g., what are the relevant dates)
How? Is there any specific information on how this will take place, or how people should take action?

The Inverted Pyramid

This refers to the style of journalism which places the most important facts at the beginning and works “down” from there. Ideally, the first paragraph should contain enough information to give the reader a good overview of the entire story. The rest of the article explains and expands on the beginning.

A good approach is to assume that the story might be cut off at any point due to space limitations. Does the story work if the editor only decides to include the first two paragraphs? If not, re-arrange it so that it does.

The same principle can apply to any type of medium.

Crafting a Lede

A lede, which is a journalism slang term for the first sentence or two of a story (i.e. lead), is an incredibly important part of the process. You need to hook readers with your lede and, in some cases (as discussed above), relay the important parts of your story. You need to draw a reader in while telling him why the story matters.

Nutgraf

A nutgraf, another journalism slang term, is the summarization of what the story’s about. A nutgraf (also written with as “nut graf”) can be a sentence or a paragraph and, sometimes, may also be your lede.

Nutgrafs are incredibly important, and some might argue the heart of a story, since they relay why the story matters. A nutgraf needs to address why the story is being written, whether the piece is about something like the aforementioned murder, or a profile of a famous celebrity. Like ledes, nutgrafs vary wildly from story to story. Nutgrafs can also be harder to identify than ledes so a good exercise to read lots of different stories and try to find the nutgraf. (If you do this outside of a classroom setting, it might be a good idea to find someone who can go over your findings with you.)

Keep it Objective

You are completely impartial. If there is more than one side to the story, cover them all. Don’t use “I” and “me” unless you are quoting someone. Speaking of quoting…

Quote People

For example: “We’re really excited about this competition,” says coach Bob Dobalina, “It’s the highest target we’ve ever set ourselves”.

Don’t Get Flowery

Keep your sentences and paragraphs short. Don’t use lots of heavily descriptive language. When you’ve finished, go through the entire story and try to remove any words which aren’t completely necessary.

Edit Yourself First

Before you submit an article to an editor to review, you need to edit it yourself. A couple of tricks that you can use. First, before everything else, make sure to spell check the article, and if you have a grammar checker (like in Microsoft Word), use it. Second, read the piece out loud — you’d be surprised how many more things you catch that way. Third, if you are looking for typos — read it backwards!

More info at:

http://mediacareers.about.com/od/thenecessaryskills/a/WritingSkills.htm
http://stripe.colorado.edu/~yulsman/storystructure.pdf
http://www.mediacollege.com/journalism/news/write-stories.html

Note: Substantial portions of the above taken from mediacareers.about.com/od/thenecessaryskills/a/WritingSkills.htm, and http://www.mediacollege.com/journalism/news/write-stories.html