A guide to help potential contributors develop their skills.
If you are considering contributing to Exeter Observer please see our contributors guide.
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.
|1. Hook||What has happened (or is/will be happening) that makes the story newsworthy? cf. news values||Determine this first|
|2. Value||What makes the story important to readers?||Explain why the hook is interesting|
|3. Public interest||Why is publishing the story in the public interest?||Explain why the hook matters|
|4. Angle||What view of the topic will the story express?||Helps editors understand the journalist's perspective|
|5. Core story components||Who, what, when, where, why and how?||Set out each in turn|
|6. Lead||Where story starts, captures essence of story, usually addresses who, what, when, where, why and how.||One or two sentences which succinctly express the core story components, not necessarily in the same order|
|7. Key questions to answer||What does the reader need to know to understand the story?||Maximum 2 questions (for a short report)|
|8. Background issues to explain||What additional information what does the reader need to place the story in context?||Maximum 2 issues (for a short report)|
|9. Required research||Which pieces of information are needed to tell the story effectively?||Maximum 2 pieces (for a short report)|
|10. Sources for information||Where will the required information come from? cf. information sources||Maximum 2 sources (for a short report)|
|11. Sources for perspective||Where will perspective on the story come from? cf. perspective sources||Maximum 2 sources (for a short report)|
|12. Required collateral||Photos, infographics, video, infoboxes, tweets? cf. multimedia collateral & copyright||Minimum 2 pieces to illustrate story, no stock images: original material only|
|13. Collateral value||How does the required collateral illustrate the story?||At least one piece must complement the headline and standfirst|
|14. Headline and standfirst||These complement each other to summarise the lead and highlight the story's hook, value and public interest||Write these last, thinking of them as working summaries|
If you’re submitting a news brief for consideration, please look at our submission guide first.
- News writing
- What is news?
- Objectivity, neutrality, impartiality & balance
- Information sources
- Perspective sources
- Multimedia collateral & copyright
- Feature writing
- Research resources
- Data protection & media law
- Local government transparency & information access rights
- Exeter regional democracy & governance
- Exeter regional planning & place
- Exeter regional transport & mobility
- Digital information and communications security
Guides covering other Exeter regional policy and practice areas are also being prepared.