Writing a news story calls on different skills than writing a traditional essay.

Updated an older instructional handout with a bunch of new examples and some fancy red/green color coding.

To write a news story, you’ll use many of the skills that help you write good personal essays; however, the two kinds of writing have important differences, so what counts as “good writing” is also different.

English Essay: Driven by your thoughtful analysis of long quotations from already-published sources (written by experts).

  • It’s a good English essay if it’s powered by the author’s thoughtful engagement with already-published texts.
  • It’s not a good English essay if it depends mostly on quotations from people you talked with. (Your English professor wants to evaluate your ability to think and write.)

News Story: Driven by the timely, first-ever publication of short quotations from eyewitnesses, participants, decision-makers, or perhaps random citizens directly affected by a current event.

  • It’s a good news story if it’s powered by fresh, unpublished quotations from credible sources you’ve interviewed yourself.
  • It’s not a good news story if it’s powered by your own summaries of or commentary about already-published statements. (Your reader doesn’t want to be impressed by or even notice your writing skill.)


Jerz > Writing > Journalism > News Story vs English Essay

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