Researching and writing your stories

For most stories you will need to interview staff or students, or both, so think up some questions and write them down. A good way to do this is to base your questions around the five Ws and one H. So, who, what, where, when, why and how all need answering in your interviews.


It is a good idea to write your questions down, and make sure you write down the answers! It can help to work in a pair, with one asking the questions and the other writing the answers.


Once you have the interviews done, it is time to write the story up. Try to start off with the most interesting piece of information, this is called the hook or the angle. The idea is to get your reader interested in your story from the start and make them read it!


Avoid constructing your story in chronological order and in the first person, try to write it with the most interesting information at the top and then let the information cascade down. After about three or four paragraphs, try to insert a direct quote - this helps to bring the story alive.


Don't worry about how long your story, if you have all the relevant information in, that is the most important factor. A good newspaper has long and short stories. So a 100 word story is just as important as a 250 word story. Try not to write above 500 words and try to keep your paragraphs between 30-40 words long.


Make sure you check all the information is correct - is that number right, that person’s age, the spelling of their name. Print it out and read it. Read it again. Get somebody else to read it.



You will also need to take pictures to go with them. So everyone you talk to (who is going to be quoted in the story) will need their picture taking. You might want to take a photo of the new sports hall, or ICT suite or the wall display done by your class, or of a new teacher or perhaps the vegetables grown by the gardening club. Make sure you have the names of all the people in your photos.


            To read more about researching, writing stories and taking photos,                please see the PDF to the left.


When you have your story idea(s), there's a few steps you can follow to researching and writing your story in the best possible way.