Exercise answers

Answers to writing the news story exercise

Here are suggested answers for the news story writing exercise. These are not the only way news stories could have been written from the information you were given, and your stories may be correct even if they differ from ours in some details. Compare your stories with the following suggested answers, to see if you can improve what you have written.

Story 1

A government scientist has produced the biggest pig ever to have been bred in Papua New Guinea.
The adult male pig weighs 350 kgs.
It is the result of a ten-year breeding project by the Department of Primary Industry.
Scientist Dr Michael Kai hopes to use the animal to breed other very large pigs.

Notice how, even though the information was about a pig, we have included people by talking about the scientist who bred the big pig. Also, see how we have limited the story to a maximum of two concepts (ideas) per sentence.

Story 2

More than 30 children escaped serious injury when a school bus crashed in Suva today.
The 36-seater bus, which was carrying children to Veiuto School, ran off Queen Elizabeth Drive.
It narrowly missed an electricity pole and came to rest with most of its windows smashed in a garden.
Eye-witnesses said the children were helped from the bus screaming and shouting and in a state of panic.
Although none of the children was seriously hurt, some of them were grazed jumping out of the bus.

Notice how we started with the most important key point - the children. We told our audience that the children had narrowly missed serious injury in a crash. Because a lot of people might want to know who the children were, in the second paragraph we gave them details of the school they attended. Finally we told the story in chronological order, the order in which the event happened.

Story 3

A cleaner at the Nuku'alofa dog pound has been sacked for biting one of the animals in his charge.
Mr Sione Tuanuku was an assistant at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals pound.
He said he had bitten one of the dogs to teach it a lesson.
"The dogs always barked at me and sometimes they tried to bite me," Mr Tuanuku said. "I didn't like it.
"I got fed up with one dog that tried to bite me, so I bit the dog in the leg to teach it a lesson."
Mr Tuanuku had worked at the RSPCA pound since last year.
Manager Mrs Anita Chan confirmed that she had sacked Mr Tuanuku for mistreating one of the dogs.

As we said in the Writing the intro exercise, this is the classic "man bites dog" story, with the added human angle of Mr Tuanuku's sacking. Notice that we kept the title of the RSPCA out of the intro, and gave it almost a whole sentence to itself because it is so long and complicated that it might otherwise have confused our readers or listeners. We later used the abbreviation, for those people who only know it as the RSPCA. We used Mr Tuanuku's quotes in full because they were so lively.

Story 4

A Majuro couple and their three children died when their pick-up collided head-on with a semi-trailer.
Mr John Erikub, his wife, Laura, and their three children were driving home yesterday afternoon after shopping in Uliga.
Their Toyota pick-up was passing the cemetery when it ran out of control and collided with the semi-trailer.
Mr and Mrs Erikub, their son Paul, aged nine, and daughter Rachel, aged seven, died instantly. Their youngest daughter, Miriam, aged three, died later in hospital.
All three children had been riding in the back of the pick-up.
The semi-trailer, which was carrying a 12-ton bulldozer, belonged to Pacific Earthmoving Inc.
Driver Mr Lewis Kili, who comes from Jaluit Atoll, suffered only minor injuries. He was treated in hospital for shock, but later allowed home.
Police have interviewed Mr Kili and say they are unlikely to charge him with any offence.
The semi-trailer was slightly damaged, but the pick-up was a write-off.

Notice how again we focused on the human tragedy and put the damage to the vehicles at the bottom of the story. Although we named the family in the second paragraph, we did not give the names of all the children until the fourth paragraph, to avoid overloading any sentences, especially those early in the story. There were lots of details, but notice how we spread them throughout the story, again to prevent overloading.

^^back to the top


Index of exercises
  1. Writing the intro exercise
  2. Writing the news story exercise
  3. Robbery at Nuriz Pharmacy
Chapters associated with this exercise:
1. What is news?
3. The shape of the news story
4. Writing the intro - simple steps
5. Writing the intro - golden rules
6. Writing the news story - simple steps
7. Writing the news story - golden rules

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