Study Materials

Tips on Writing a Good News Article

  • When writing for a general audience, emphasize the big points. Why does the decision matter to the reader? Who does it affect, and how? What was at stake, and what does the decision mean for the future? Try to put the story in human terms.
  • You don't have a lot of space, so pick the three most important points, rank them in order of importance, and then write about them in that order.
  • The quality of writing is important. Write, revise, revise, and revise. Avoid redundancy. Even if the subject is boring, your article should still be interesting and well-written.
  • Avoid jargon at all costs! Explain things in simple, clear language. Don't use specialized legal or technical words, or if you must, define them for the reader. Avoid acronyms unless all readers will know them.
  • Test your article out on your roommate or friends. If they don't understand what you're talking about, the general reader won't either. Rewrite anything that's not 100% clear.
  • The best reporters steal. Read some other good writing about court decisions (from The New York Times, The Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, etc.) and copy their style.