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Next Meeting

Date of the next Meeting - 21/03/2011
The next meeting will be held on 21st March 2011 at the Marriott Tudor Park Hotel. at 7.30pm.…

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Thurnham Parish Council are pleased to publish news articles (subject to editorial) that are of interest to local residents and visitors to our Parish.

We invite local residents and visitors alike to submit articles and pictures relating to Local News, Events and other items of interest such as local history, the environment, etc., relevant to Thurnham and the surrounding area.

Please submit your News/Events articles in MS Word (if possible) to:


Tips on writing a news article

Kit required: Pen, notepad, tape recorder and a digital camera!

What is News?

News is an account of what is happening around us. It may involve current events, new initiatives, or ongoing projects or issues.

Choose what you will write about

Select your story based on its importance to you and your community, its emotional impact, its timeliness and its interest.

Note: all of these factors do NOT have to coincide in every story!

Identify What Kind of Story it is!

Hard News:

(+/-600 words) This is how journalists refer to news of the day. It is a chronicle of current events / incidents and is the most common news style on the front page of your typical newspaper.

Soft News:

(+/-600 words) This is a term for all the news that isn't time-sensitive. Soft news includes profiles of people, programs, or organisations.


(+/-1500 words) A news feature takes one step back from the headlines. It explores an issue. News features are less time-sensitive than hard news, but no less newsworthy. They can be an effective way to write about complex issues too large for the terse style of a hard news item.


· Begin collecting articles on your subject
· Talk to friends and associates about the subject
· Contact any agencies or associations with interest or expertise in the area
· Create a list of people you want to interview; cover both sides of the story by interviewing people on both sides of the issue.
· Collect government statistics and reports on the subject · Get old press releases or reports to use as background

Interviewing Techniques

Develop a positive, polite, but still objective, relationship with the person you are interviewing. Explain the ground rules of the interview, and mind your subject's reactions to your questions. Pace the difficulty of your questions according to your subject's responsiveness. Maintain control over the interview. Don't let them stray away from the topic. Tape record the interview for your records. Don't try to predetermine what quotes or information you will come away with. Remember: your subject is the expert on your topic, not you.

Organising the Information

· Gather your notes interviews and research into a file
· Review your notes
· Look for a common theme
· Search your notes for good quotes or interesting facts
· Develop a focus
· Write the focus of the article down in two or three sentences

Structuring Your Article

The structure of a news story (hard & soft news, & features) is simple:
1) The lead
2) The body

The Lead

Among the most important elements of news writing are the opening paragraphs of the story. Journalists refer to this as the "lead". Its function is to summarise the story AND/OR to draw the reader in. Its function differs depending on whether it is a "hard" or "soft" news story.

The Body

The body of the story involves combining the opinions of the people you interview, some factual data, and a narrative which helps the story flow. A word of caution. In this style of writing you are not allowed to "editorialise" (state your own opinion) in any way. There is no great difference in structure between the body of a hard news story, and the body of a soft news story. The contents of a news story, however, dictates how it will be told. For example, an organisational profile will almost necessarily be descriptive, while the reporting of a timely event will likely be reactive in tone and detail. Stick to one particular theme throughout the story. You may add different details, but they all have to relate to the original idea of the piece. As a reporter, you are the eyes and ears for the readers. You should try to provide some visual details to bring the story to life - take your (digital) camera with you at all times!