Five key principles to help when you are writing news stories for your community

Read some top tips from Seb Murray- journalist & consulting editor for publications including The Times, Guardian, Financial Times and Economist.

In the age of online news, readers have a tsunami of content to wade through – so you need to grab their attention!  Seb outlines five key principles to help when you are writing news stories for your community:

  • Significance – Does your story cover a subject that had an impact on your institution?
  • Proximity – How does your story involve your institution? An interview or profile of an alumni is great example of fulfilling this criteria.
  • Urgency – Can you connect your story to recent events at the school or topical news? For example, lots of sites have been publishing stories about alumni involved in the First World War due to the centenary this month.
  • Know your reader – A point to bear in mind when writing news for your community is that you’re looking to appeal to wide demographic, both recent and not so recent leavers.  A great example of this is the hugely popular interview with the legendary ex-head teacher of Concord College – a familiar face to generations of alumni.
  • KISS (keep it short and simple) – Create a clear introduction with a few facts and figures that will tempt in a reader.

What makes a good headline? Seb’s advice for a good headline is to be specific on the angle of your story, use bold adjectives (don’t feel you have to go too click bait!) and use numbers where possible. You want to summarise your story in one sentence.

Remember, don’t forget to KISS when creating a great news story!