Reporting and Writing

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The ability to write reports that are both fascinating and instructive is a very valuable skill in the realm of journalism, which places a premium on information as the most important commodity. In its purest form, reporting is a complicated dance that entails collecting, synthesizing, and communicating information to an audience in a way that is both clear and compelling.

REPORTING

Reporting is the art, the skill, and the business of gathering information for immediate communication to others. It is a complicated job that includes gathering, analyzing, and presenting a lot of different kinds of information. It connects different groups of people to events, ideas, and information, allowing them to learn from each other and gain new insights. This practice requires a careful method in which the data is carefully sorted, checked, and put together into a story. Reporting enhances the informed communication by combining the art of telling stories with the precision of finding facts. This helps people stay informed, interested, and in control.

Researching the Story: At the heart of every successful news report lies thorough research. Journalists are akin to detectives, meticulously piecing together fragments of information to present a coherent narrative. This process involves exploring primary and secondary sources, conducting interviews, and gathering data from reputable channels.

Collecting the Relevant Data: The process of data collection is akin to mining gold. Relevant facts, figures, and insights are meticulously compiled to provide readers with a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter. The meticulous attention to detail in data collection is a hallmark of exceptional reporting.

Gathering Facts: The foundation of a news story rests on the bedrock of facts. These objective, verifiable pieces of information form the backbone of a story, lending it credibility and substance. A skilled reporter sifts through the noise to extract the essential facts that form the core of the narrative.

News and Its Significance

News is defined as something that must be factual, new, and interesting. News is a new piece of information (new thing) about a significant and recent event that affects the readers / audience and is of interest to them.

The definition of a news item is dependent on:
The Size of the Community (Audience).
The Periodicity of the publication (daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, yearly, etc…)
The Social character and economic strata of the community.
The emphasis of the community

A NEWS is judged on the basis of the following elements

N – The report should be ‘Newsworthy’, i.e does the news story include news value?
E – ‘Emphasis’ – Does the introductory paragraph emphasize the most
significant & exciting fact?
W – Are the answers for the 5 ‘W’ and 1H available in the news story?
S – ‘Sources of information – Does the news story point out or emphasize the source wherever necessary?

A news organization is basically a news-gathering organization. Being able to identify what will interest readers is called having ‘news sense’.

Why is a news report called a ‘story’?

The word ‘story’ applied to a news report stresses that it is something crafted and constructed to cater to the interest of a reader rather than an unstructured presentation of facts. The dictionary meaning of the word ‘story’ does not apply here.

The NEWS Story consists of a point of view or a way of looking at something, a point of presentation of facts with the reporter’s interpretation of events.
The most important point when writing and reporting a news story is that it should be clear and precise.

A news story usually follows the 5 Ws and 1H writing style i.e, Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How. The introduction of the story may be an answer to either one or two or all of these questions.

NEWS CLASSIFICATION

Hard news

News which is about ‘real’ or ‘serious’, ‘important’ events affecting people’s lives. It is mostly event-centric and a narration of an event. The Hard news items are centered on, “what, when, and why”.

    Soft news

    News about ‘trivial’ incidents. It explains what has happened, analyses interpret, is logical, and gives conclusions. It is becoming a very important segment of the daily newspaper and daily news bulletin.
    Example: such as a boy falling down a pit and being rescued by the army.

    Spot news

    The news that occurs unexpectedly and is reported immediately on spot. Example: Terrorist attacks, fires, heavy accidents, plane crashes, tsunamis, earthquakes, and sometimes reported as the breaking news or flash news

    Planned news

    The news covered and well prepared in advance before its telecasting, broadcasting, or publishing is called Planned News.
    Example: Editors assign reporters to do interviews, personality, sketches, profiles, and detailed stories with complete background information.

    What is important in Reporting and Writing?

    To Know the Media of COMMUNICATION
    To Know the AUDIENCE

    MEDIA OF COMMUNICATION

    Print Media
    Telecasting Media
    Broadcasting Media
    Online Media

    Based on various media of communication; the audiences are different as well as the way of Journalistic Writings also differs.
    ⇒ Print Media – Newspaper writing & Magazine writing
    ⇒ Telecasting Media – Television
    ⇒ Broadcasting Media – Radio
    ⇒ Online Media – Websites

    KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

    Your Audience are all those who are going to
    Listen to you
    See you
    Read you

    REPORT COLLECTION

    Reporters are arranged well in advance to cover maximum events, a public meeting, the monthly meeting of the municipal council, and election or a political defection, etc… on a daily basis.
    Reporters gather news from various sources
    Primary Sources (Direct Sources)
    Secondary Sources (Indirect Sources)

    ⇒ Primary Sources

    These are the direct sources of information that gather news and distribute it to newspapers and other news publications.
    Example: United News of India (UNI) and Press Trust of India (PTI),
    The people who are directly related to the news story are also called the primary sources.

    ⇒ Secondary Sources

    These are the People indirectly related to the news story. Such as the doctors, experts, specialists, etc…

    Reporters should be skilled at seeing, hearing, note-taking, and researching, finding information, and supplementing it by asking questions, checking, verifying, analyzing, and interpreting information.

    Reporters should respect deadlines, they must be able to gather information and they must be able to generate ideas and present them in news format as fast as possible.

    EDITORIAL SECTION

    Once Understanding who the targeted audience is, the writing can be accordingly decided and proceeded. The editorial section is divided into Desks and Beats.

    ⇒ DESKS

    It includes an editor who manages the desk, and reporters and/or producers who supply the content.
    Example: Special Desk, Political Desk, Election Desk, etc… the sections that deal with different areas of news.

    ⇒ BEATS

    Some of the Reporters work in specific areas called BEATS. A beat is nothing but a particular topic or the areas of operation for reporters.
    Example: Crime beat can be allotted to a reporter while another one may look after the municipality. Yet another one may cover hospitals, etc…

    TYPES OF BEATS

    Sports
    Fashion & Lifestyle
    Civil Administration
    Crime Reporting
    Culture & Human Interest
    Business
    Agriculture
    Environment
    Education
    Films

    A few reporters may have been kept on standby. They are known as general assignment reporters. They are assigned stories as and when they break.
    They are kept in reserve for anything that needs to be covered or any situation that arises suddenly. Eg. earthquakes, Natural calamities, riots, plane clash, etc.

    BUREAUS

    A news bureau is an office for gathering or distributing news. The person in charge of a news bureau is often called the bureau chief.
    Suburban bureaus like Kottayam
    State Capital Bureaus like Mumbai, Cochin
    National Bureaus like New Delhi

    NEWS STRUCTURE

    News Structure is the form or style of presenting the news story or the order in which the information is introduced in the story.

    The Traditional News Structure
    The Alternative News Structure

    TRADITIONAL NEWS STRUCTURE

    The simpler the report, the more the number of readers it will attract. A traditional structure includes a simple form of structure that is called Inverted Pyramids. In Print Media, such as in Newspapers and Magazines, the pattern of the inverted pyramid that is Traditional Structure is usually followed.

    INVERTED PYRAMID STRUCTURE

    The inverted pyramid basically consists of three segments.
    Lead or Introduction
    Body
    Conclusion

    LEAD

    The LEAD or INTRODUCTION of the news report contains the essence of the story. The lead gives an idea about the story as well as helps the desk to put an appropriate heading or title for the news story.

    The lead is the most essential part of the story as it is responsible for grabbing the interest of the reader, and should ensure that the reader goes through till the end of the story.

    The sentences should be short and each paragraph should be made up of 4 to 5 lines. The lead may not provide answers to all the 5Ws and 1H. But, in order to discover the basic essence of the news story, these questions should be answered. After this, as per news value, essential elements will come in the intro.

    Different forms of LEADS

    Simple Lead – The introduction will report a single incident. These are easy and simple for writers as well as clear for the readers. Example: Newspapers
    Complex Lead – It involves more than an incident where similar or related incidents are put together in one story, in the intro.
    Direct Address Lead – It addresses the reader directly or narrates an interesting subject or talks about an incident with a universal appeal.
    Staccato Lead – It consists of short clipped words, phrases, and sentences, sometimes separated by dots or dashes. It is casually disruptive and should not be used if the facts of the story do not justify it.
    Parody Lead – It tries to play with words, using popular proverbs, quotations, song titles, popular sayings, book titles, and other expressions to help establish a connection with the reader.
    Descriptive Lead – It is also termed situation or picture lead, it mentions an interesting person, place, or thing to grab the attention of the reader for the story.

    BODY

    The body should provide complete information and give all the details in the space available. The move from the lead to the body of the news story should be smooth. There should be a connection between the two.

    CONCLUSION

    It is the end of the news. It should not only sum up the entire news story without being repetitive but also leave the reader with some factors for self-thought.
    It must give the readers and viewers the idea of the news in totality and conclude it with the solutions and suggestions and leave the audience to think further.

    In traditional news structure, the language of the news story should be very simple and easy to understand, even by any average reader. There should be no jerks between the introduction (lead) and the body so that the reader makes a smooth transition from the former to the latter.
    The body should provide all the necessary facts, details, and information.
    The use of long and complicated sentences should be avoided.
    The conclusion may be deleted while editing due to space constraints if it does not have any significant bearing on the story.

    ALTERNATIVE NEWS STRUCTURE

    The alternative form of writing presents a refreshing departure from conventional styles, embracing innovative structures and perspectives. It consists of three different styles.

    NARRATIVE STRUCTURE

    It conveys the news story in three elements: a beginning, middle, and end (or lead, body and conclusion). The writer tells a chronological NARRATIVE complete with detail, dialogue, and background information.

    It is not the proper format if you are trying to deliver information. This format works better with feature articles that provide the time and space for character and story development.

    HOURGLASS STRUCTURE

    It begins by asking a broad question, then narrows it down by providing information, such as facts and figures and observations; then the scope of the story broadens again by offering conclusions and generalizing back to the question.

    It is not as commonly used as an organizational style in journalism. It is reserved for writing longer stories, such as feature articles for a Sunday edition or an edition that comes once in a week or month.

    First, there is the strong lead in – typical of the inverted pyramid. But then the story turns to a more narrative style, as in the pyramid style at the end.
    The hourglass can be used in all kinds of stories: crime, business, government, even to report meetings.

    CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER

    A chronological structure has a place in journalism but is not as popular as the inverted pyramid.
    It is common when journalists are explaining the order in which something occurred, such as a tsunami, tornado, earthquake, flood, or other natural weather events, State cultural event, etc… It can be written in reverse order, as well.

    JOURNALISTIC WRITING 

    Journalistic writing is the style of writing used to report news stories in and for different media of communication understanding the different types of Audiences.

    Once Understanding who the targeted Audience are, the writing can be accordingly decided and proceeded.

    Types of Writing
    Descriptive

    The writing that intends to describe in detail that readers can feel news story about what it is been written. Descriptive writing & reporting Impact is that one can feel the news story

    Expository

    Expository writing Is a non-fiction writing. The writing that intends to give more information and describes purposely to make the readers get informed and avoids writer’s or reporter’s personal opinion.

    Persuasive

    The writing that includes aspects of descriptive and expository in providing details and information but could add writer’s or reporter’s personal opinion on the information being provided.
    Persuasive writing are stronger. It add writer’s opinion and ideas. It convince the audience and redirects the audience to think as per writer’s point of view

    Narrative

    The writing that intends in giving the information by narrating it as a story with an aim to entertain the audience.
    Narrative writing are Story telling and Entertaining. It provides events from beginning to end.

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