Writing news articles for online publication is different than writing other types of online articles or blog posts. News pieces have to follow similar journalistic standards followed by print publications. They have to have attention-getting headlines, great leads and they have to deliver thoughtful, relevant and detailed information in an entertaining way. That's a lot to expect in 400 to 700 words, the average length of a news article. The following tips will help you when you are writing online news articles.


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Headlines are the first thing your reader sees and should make them curious. They seldom involve a complete sentence. The headline is a fragment, a string of words meant to get noticed and pull the reader into the story.


The term lead comes from the fact that it is the leading sentence in the story. It is the introduction to the story. It here you either hook your reader or lose him. Leads should be no more than 35 words and no more than two sentences. It tries to encompass the Five W's of journalistic writing - who, what, when, where and why - while putting the most important details foremost in the sentence.


With a strong headline and a good lead, you can pull the reader into the body where the real guts of the story are. The paragraphs of the body from an inverted pyramid, with the most interesting or relevant bits contained in the upper paragraphs and the back story or underlying information offered in later paragraphs.

Paragraphs should be kept short, three to five sentences each. Internet readers grow bored quickly. Long paragraphs are daunting to them and they will quit reading. Limit each paragraph should to just one idea to help keep them short.


As with any type of writing, editing and revision are critical. Spell check your work. Check for punctuation and grammar. Double check the spelling of names. Avoid contractions and words like "that" or "next. " Always write news pieces in third person.


It is important to cite sources. Check with the site that will be publishing your work. Each site has its own rules for how cited sources should be handled. Some prefer them listed at the end of the article. Others prefer the sources to by hyperlinked to relevant words in the article. In online news pieces and print articles, it is a good idea to have multiple sources for your information. If a source is questionable find another, and another. If you are uncertain, leave the information out.

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