A guide to help potential contributors develop their skills.
If you are considering contributing to Exeter Observer please see our contributors guide.
More contributor guides:
- News writing
- What is news?
- Objectivity, neutrality, impartiality & balance
- Multimedia collateral & copyright
- Sources & interviews
- Feature writing
- Research resources
- Local government transparency & information access rights
- Data protection & media law
- Digital information and communications security
Use a news brief to outline the elements necessary to tell a story succinctly.
It should summarise everything needed to put a news story together, clarify what is required to gather those elements and offer a rationale for its publication before you begin writing.
|Hook||What has happened (or is/will be happening) that makes the story newsworthy? (See news values)||Determine this first|
|Value||What makes the story important to readers?||Explain why the hook is interesting|
|Public interest||Why is publishing the story in the public interest?||Explain why the hook matters|
|Angle||Summarises approach to story||Helps editors understand the story|
|Core story components||Who, what, when, where, why and how?||Set out each in turn|
|Lead||Where story starts, captures essence of story, usually addresses who, what, when, where, why and how||Single sentence succinctly expressing core story components, not necessarily in the same order|
|Key questions to answer||What does the reader need to know to understand the story?||Maximum 2 questions|
|Background issues to explain||What additional information what does the reader need to place the story in context?||Maximum 2 issues|
|Required research||Which pieces of information are needed to tell the story effectively?||Maximum 2 pieces|
|Sources for research||Where will the required information come from? (See research resources)||Maximum 2 sources|
|Sources for quotes||Direct/indirect? Attributable/non-attributable? (See sources & interviews)||Maximum 2 sources|
|Headline||Could just be working title ...||Write this last with standfirst|
|Standfirst||Highlights interesting points, complements headline, might refer to points below lead||Write this last with headline|
|Required collateral||Might be photos, infographics, video, infoboxes, tweets etc. (See multimedia collateral & copyright)||Minimum 2 pieces to illustrate story, no stock images: original material only|
|Collateral value||How does the required collateral illustrate the story?||At least one piece must complement the headline and standfirst|
If you’re submitting a news brief for consideration, please look at our submission guide first.