Posted by Yaniv Morozovsky

Me and My Text Will Change the World

10 August 2020

Ready to cook-up your first articles? Get the winning recipe for accurate text, combined with the right spices that will make it interesting • Warning: All names in the examples are fictitious except one: Justin Bieber

We have reached the moment of truth. We were at the event, decided to summarize our impression of it, and were assigned 400 whole words (that's a lot in daily newspaper terms). What now? Here is the short guide to a winning article.


Focus on the Essentials

If you've been to Justin Bieber show in Israel (good for you!), what matters is just that, and not price of the soft drink. In formulating an article, there are six main questions to be answered. In the language of communication they're called "the five W's and How".

And these are the questions you need to ask yourself when wording an article:

Who? In our case, Justin Bieber is the object of the article, and so are you - as the critics of the show.

What? The show, of course. With which most of the text should refer to.

When? Don't forget to mention when it took place. When referring to news events most often they happened "yesterday", or "today" since the news occurred just prior to the day of publication. In our case, it should be noted that the performance took place this month, or this past summer - depending on the date of publication.

Why? Under this question one must explain the uniqueness in the article. Another performance by the international pop star in Israel, particular praise or criticism of the event, etc. These should be at the beginning of the text.

Where? Where did the show take place? As trivial as it may seem, the unanswered question of where the event took place may not be a positive thing. For example: "A big event took place this month" or "A big event took place this month in Lapland".

How? A question that usually needs to be answered, explaining the circumstances that led up to the event.


The following is an example of an opening paragraph for an article that answers these questions:


Justin Bieber, the huge pop star who has produced many hits, appeared in Israel last month. At the performance, which took place in Hayarkon Park in front of tens of thousands of spectators, he sang his greatest songs, danced and delighted the large of fan base that was there. We were there too.


Color and Shape

Not every piece of information fits every wording, but you can almost always tell a story with some key phrases that will add to your text. I try to open every piece of information with such a sentence. For example, in the text below:


The boy has grown up: Justin Bieber, the young pop star who has produced many hits, appeared in Israel last month. At the performance, which took place in Hayarkon Park in front of tens of thousands of spectators, he sang his great songs, danced and delighted the large fan base that was there. We, too, lost our voices roaring with the crowd as he took the stage.


Quotes, and Many of Them!

There is nothing better than interviews, which bring in quotes and add voices and color to the plot. When preparing the article it's important to gather them, transcribe them, and pick out a sentence or two. Often an interviewee says something beautiful in five sentences. The practice is not to change the wording of a quote, but it can certainly be edited without taking it out of context. It is important, too, to get the full name of the interviewee, his age, and his part in the event if this data is relevant for understanding the story.

Here is an example of a quote before editing:


Hila Asraf, 16, from Rosh HaAyin: "Wow, I can't believe I'm standing here and seeing him in person he's such a stud and sings so beautifully he's an amazing dancer I came with my friends by bus we waited in line for five hours to get in at first they didn't let me in there were problems with our tickets but in the end they even upgraded us to the Golden Ring I screemed like crazy and I lost my voice."


In this example, we have a pretty long quote, with no punctuation, with a spelling error (all in voiceover) and no color in our link section. Here's how it can be edited:


Among those celebrating just a hair's breadth from the stage we met Hila Asraf (16) from the Rosh HaAyin, who yelled out a few of her impressions. "I can't believe I'm standing here and seeing him in person! He's such a stud and sings so beautifully! He's an amazing dancer!" She told us enthusiastically: "I screamed like crazy and lost my voice." In fact, we actually heard her quite well.


Some quotes can also be referred to on order to make it easier to read and shorten the content. Here is an example:


Moshe Barak, director of "Moshe Barak Performances" who believed in the show: "As a company that believes that all top pop stars should perform in this country, and who thinks that Israelis deserve to see the best at a fair price, we put a lot of effort into the organization of the event in order for it to be successful. 20,000 tickets were sold for the show, and I believe he will be coming to Israel again soon. "


In this case, as in many cases, our interviewee is trying to market himself and his company in the quote he provided. It's easy to shorten it to one sentence like this:


Moshe Barak, director of "Moshe Barak Productions" who believed in the show, informed us that he sold 20,000 tickets to the show. "We put a lot of effort into the organization, and I believe he will be coming to Israel again soon," he said.


Preserve Structure

Newspaper articles have a permanent structure: title, subtitle, reporters' names, opening paragraph, running text, and closing paragraph. Each one is important, and the piece should be constructed so that there is no repetitive wording among the different parts.

Headline: This should express the essence of the story in 6-2 words. Tip: Sometimes the headline can go directly to the point ("A good performance for Justin Bieber in Israel"), sometimes it is based on a quote ("Bieber appeared, the fans lost their voices" or "Bieber effect:" I screamed like crazy ""). Sometimes two-word headlines do their own thing, and often look better on the page ("Bieber Mania" or "He Performed").

Lead: This should briefly elaborate on the news without repeating what has already been said in the headline. Tip: If we mentioned the name Justin Bieber in the headline, it doesn't need to be repeated: (The huge pop star appeared in Hayarkon Park in front of about 20,000 fans – both male and female • Show organizers: "Hope to be back soon" • We were at the show and we've come to our conclusions) In order to make the point between the sentences use a • (just enter Alt + 7 on the numeric keyboard).

By-Line: full names of the reporters, of course.

Opening paragraph: answers the key questions, but worded differently from the subtitle. This is the place to add some color, as I mentioned earlier.

Body of the article: will include our descriptions of the show, songs he sings, our critique, quotes we gathered, etc. Tip: Try not to repeat the same verbs or names. If you have already written the full name, you can now refer to that person by position or only by his or her surname. For example: "pop star Justin Bieber" for the first time, "pop star" for the second time, "Bieber" for the third time, and so on. If you wrote that he "sang" in the first sentence, you could write in the second that he "performed" the second song. This way you will not be using the same verb.

Split Lead: In many cases, it is possible and even desirable to take a short break between one section of text and another by using a mid-article headline. The headline, 3-2 words, can briefly describe the next paragraphs and "lighten" the sequence of lines in the article as well.

Closing paragraph: You can usually incorporate a minor detail about the topic here, a concluding sentence or a humorous ending. It is also possible to add both. Tip: Here's an example:

At the end of the show, the star disappeared via the back gate, and the fans who had hoped for a "Selfie" returned empty-handed. Still, one could say that Israel is already waiting for Justin's return, preferably before the age of 70.


Check before posting

Did you work by all the rules? Now for the most important part. At the end of the work, in most cases, our natural instinct is to send in the article without reading it again. Still, we invested a lot in it and maybe even got a little tired. And yet, it is very important not to skip the re-read. Often you will discover typos, convoluted wording that can be improved, paragraphs that should be rearranged, a sentence you forgot to write, or inaccurate information. If possible, send the text to another person and ask him/her to read it as well. This way you can be saved at the last minute from an unnecessary mistake after all of your arduous work.


Ready to go?

Print the guide and work on it. All the best!


An example of an edited article