How to write a newspaper for kids

How to write a newspaper for kids

Stories abound about problems within the newspaper industry. However, the serious problems are with large newspapers. Anyone thinking of getting into the business can be heartened by the fact that smaller newspapers often do quite well. Newspapers serve a vital societal function. They can be fun and profitable for an entrepreneur, but they require time and hard work—lots of both—plus a solid financial plan, to be successful. If you want to publish a newspaper, it is important to know your audience and how to attract money to keep the publication in business.

Creating a plan

Survey your community and find out which audiences might not be well served by other publications. Talk to people to get an idea of their interests and needs. Look at businesses that could be potential advertisers for your publication.

Find an affordable and reliable printer. Newspapers cannot be printed at the local copy shop, and printing is likely to be your top expense. Shop around—local daily and weekly newspapers that own their own printing presses often are willing to take on other jobs but some printers specialize in publishing community newspapers.

Establish advertising rates that will cover the costs of publication, including your own pay. You can find examples online or get rates from similar regional publications. It is important to set rates that advertisers can afford and will cover your bills.

Decide how you will get your newspapers to readers. Direct mail can saturate a wide area but is expensive; home delivery is time-consuming and will likely involve paying delivery people. Most efficient, especially in the beginning, is to ask local businesses to carry your paper near the checkout.

Develop contacts by joining the Chamber of Commerce and local service organizations. You will meet leaders in the community as well as business owners. When they know who you are and what you’re doing, they are more likely to support you than if you show up at their door.

Organizing coverage

Set up your staff. If you cannot afford a staff, consider the possibility of accepting interns from the local college or high school. Every community has wanna-be writers; check out the home-grown talent, including retirees with prior writing or newspaper experience who want to stay active.

Contact local schools, businesses, government agencies, social organizations and other groups. They can provide free information for your paper as well as built-in readership. Be ready to edit or rewrite the content.

Get familiar with publishing programs such as InDesign or Quark Xpress. Knowing how to use a digital camera and Adobe PhotoShop is essential. Readers will expect a competent job of editing and layout.

Prepare your publication according to your printer’s specifications. These days nearly all newspapers send portable document format files (PDFs) directly to the printer by email or file transfer. Once printed, the papers can be delivered to your door, ready for distribution to your waiting readers.

Deadlines are vital to an efficient operation. Set deadlines for stories, editing and layout and hold everyone accountable to them–especially yourself.

Check into grants for establishing a newspaper. Female and minority entrepreneurs, for example, might network through local social agencies to find available grant money.

Warnings

Many computers come equipped with free layout and photo editing software, which can save money, but is not always compatible with a printer nor as flexible as the commercial programs.

Use caution in accepting volunteer contributors. Undependable and untalented writers can cause more problems than they solve.

Publishing a newspaper is extremely time-consuming. Be prepared for long hours and missed weekends until money is available to hire a staff.

  • “Publish Your Own Magazine, Guidebook, or Newspaper,” Thomas A. Williams, 2004.
  • National Newspaper Association: Annual readership study shows good news for small papers
  • Deadlines are vital to an efficient operation. Set deadlines for stories, editing and layout and hold everyone accountable to them–especially yourself.
  • Check into grants for establishing a newspaper. Female and minority entrepreneurs, for example, might network through local social agencies to find available grant money.
  • Many computers come equipped with free layout and photo editing software, which can save money, but is not always compatible with a printer nor as flexible as the commercial programs.
  • Use caution in accepting volunteer contributors. Undependable and untalented writers can cause more problems than they solve.
  • Publishing a newspaper is extremely time-consuming. Be prepared for long hours and missed weekends until money is available to hire a staff.

Loran Lewis has been a newspaper reporter and editor for many years, including launching his own community paper. He co-founded a personal fitness magazine. In recent years, Lewis has taught college journalism courses. He enjoys sports, comedy and beer tasting.

How to write a newspaper for kids

Okay, your teacher has assigned you to create a newspaper. To help you with your assignment, we not only have hundreds of templates you can use, but this little tutorial is designed to assist you in your homework assignment.

To begin, it is important to understand the various elements of a newspaper so that you’ll have a good idea what you need to gather together by way of content. A newspaper is primarily about the written articles, so ultimately, you will design and layout your newspaper around your articles. Here is what you will need to gather together minimally—your teacher may have more requirements:

  1. 2 to 3 articles per page. On a tabloid sized newspaper, you will be able to have 2 articles of around 750 words plus images or 3 articles of around 500 words. This article is a little over 500 words long.
  2. At least 1 corresponding photo per article. 2 images would be great. Remember, it is always easier to resize images than it is to resize articles (this is why a newspaper is often built around the articles, not the images).
  3. Graphic Design Software. Your teacher might have suggestions, but if you are at a loss, you can use MakeMyNewspaper’s Cloud Designer and templates. Just be sure to mark the project as “homework” when you save it to get a 90% discount on the PDF ($1.99).

Once you have the articles and images together, insert the articles into the newspaper software first. Adjust the column lengths so that all your words are in the textbox.

Layout and Design Tips

  1. Insert all your articles first and get them situated well.
  2. Using 11pt or 12pt serif fonts (such as Times New Roman) for the body or copy text.
  3. Using 14pt or 16pt font size for article titles (except for the feature story, then choose a size somewhere between 16pt and the main newspaper title font size…this should be the largest text outside of the newspaper name itself).
  4. Use 3 or 4 columns for tabloid sized newspapers.
  5. Keep at least an 1/8th of an inch between each column. Whatever you choose, it is important to make it consistent between all columns.
  6. Leave the same amount of space between textboxes and images as you have between columns.
  7. Don’t use too many fonts. 2 or 3 at the most, and make sure that all fonts are consistent. In other words, don’t change fonts for the titles of article A and B. Keep all titles the same fonts and all copy text the same font.
  8. Align everything up well.
  9. Crop pictures to fit the space you have. Generally, if you must stretch or shrink an image you want to always keep them proportional. Otherwise, they will look too fat or too skinny. So to get an image to fit, crop it.
  10. Don’t get your newspaper too crowded. Having extra white space between articles, titles or columns is not a bad thing.

Free Cloud Designer Templates

Our templates are 100% customizable, super user-friendly, and designed specifically to help you create outstanding school newspapers with our free Cloud Designer. Below are a few of the 100s of templates available to you.

Sometimes it is hard to know what to write about. Since we specialize in printing school newspapers, we have a good idea of what schools like to write about. Below are a compilation of article ideas that we have found schools utilizing in their newspapers.

Other Essential Newspaper Tools

  • Free Newspaper Design Software
  • Lowest Newspaper Printing Prices
  • Free School Newspaper Templates

Student Spotlight

Interview a student or more than one (even a particular group) and write an article about that individual or group. Try to discover some atypical information from them that would make an intriguing article. Ask questions such as:

  • If you had a magic wand and could change anything about the school, what would be the number one change you would make and why?
  • If you were the principal and found yourself in charge of us, what would be the first thing you would do?
  • What makes a good teacher/principal?
  • What makes a good student?
  • Here is a list of 10 teachers and administrators, what move/TV actor most resembles each teacher or administrator?
  • If school were a movie, what movie would we all be in?
  • What is fame and what is the route you intend to take to get there?
  • How do you define peer-pressure and is it dangerous? Why?
  • If you had the power to hire anyone in the world to be your teacher, who would you hire and why?
  • What is the best kept secret on campus that you’re willing to spoil?

Popular Culture

Write articles about the latest movies, music, literature and art. You can write reviews, make recommendations, take polls, and become a critic. Be sure to add screen shots or photos to enhance the article.

Student Life

Write articles about the daily happenings around the school. Write about sporting events, activities, accomplishments, changes in policy, rules, teacher changes, and more. Things to consider writing an article about are:

  • Your sports teams
  • Your clubs
  • Your teachers
  • Your administrators
  • School changes
  • The cafeteria food
  • Extra-circular activities
  • Field trips
  • School needs
  • Information about upcoming events and activities

Rivalries and School Elections

Every school has that arch “enemy” so to speak, that other school that always seems to be the one school everyone wants to beat in sports. Writing about them and past and future rivalries make for good articles. Write stories on those running for class offices and talk about their strengths and weaknesses.

School History

Every school has history. Some of it can be quite interesting. Try writing articles about the founding of the school, the history of the school name and/or mascot, former principals, former accomplishments and more.

Local News

Write articles about local news. You might even be able to interview the mayor, city council, and other city or county officials. In writing about local news, make sure it relates to the students in your school in some way.

Editorials and Opinion Pieces

Solicit students to write opinion articles,letters to the editor, and editorials. Some great topics to write on are:

  • New governmental policies
  • Trending stories – stories that polarize people, cause social upheaval, or that most people are following.
  • Social issues (parenting, divorce, dating, religion, marriage, diversity, racism, etc).
  • School policy and rules
  • School curriculum

Self-Help Articles

You can write articles that help people overcome certain addictions, bad habits, and fears. Write articles on what to do if someone tries to take advantage of you, how to overcome the fear of authority, how to approach the principal, what friendship really is, how to make friends, how to study, ways to get better grade, study tips, and so forth.

Other Ideas

These ideas should get you going in the right direction. Don’t forget to add things like:

  • Comics (particularly student drawn ones)
  • Guest articles (from staff and faculty)
  • Polls
  • Contests
  • Puzzles
  • Hide an icon, picture, or logo in your newspaper for students to find
  • Popular product reviews
  • Popular services reviews

Free Cloud Designer Templates

Our templates are 100% customizable, super user-friendly, and designed specifically to help you create outstanding school newspapers with our free Cloud Designer. Below are a few of the 100s of templates available to you.

News articles are designed to relate the news. The article is written to inform readers. It is factual, meant to present information in a quick, digestible form. The following elements of writing a newspaper article are important, so heed them well.

Research and Fact Gathering

Perhaps the #1 rule of writing a newspaper article is that you are factual. You do not want to make assumptions or fabricate information. Before you can write your article, you must have as many of the facts as you can gather. Here are some facts that you will need to find out:

  • What? The specific event that took place.
  • Who? The people involved.
  • Where? Places.
  • When? Date and time.
  • Why? Reasons for the event taking place.
  • How? Connecting the facts.

You will also need to gather as much detail as you can. This will involve:

  • Interviewing people connected to the story.
  • Gathering quotes from people (be exact…never paraphrase what they said). Cite names, unless they specifically request to remain anonymous.
  • Resolving conflicting facts from individuals.
  • Researching public information (always cite your sources, so write them down).

Once you have all your facts, you can begin to write your article.

The Headline or Title

For a news article, this is where you have most of your creativity. The headline must grab the attention of the reader. It needs to be catchy, emotion evoking, or creates curiosity. Be creative with it. In many instances, you will spend more time trying to come up with the perfect headline than you will in the actual writing.

The Article Body

The main news article itself is written from bottom down. In other words, the most important information comes first and each paragraph gives less and less details. Whereas a novel, for example, starts you out with little information and you must read to the end to get all of it.

In news article writing, however, you want to provide the key information right up front. You start with the 6 questions you should have already answered in your research:

  • What?
  • Who?
  • Where?
  • When?
  • Why?
  • How?

Your first two paragraphs need to answer all these questions. For example:

The Varsity football team beat Smith High School last Saturday, 21 to 7, in a rematch that vindicated Coach John’s prediction of a win during Friday’s pep-rally. Our first home win this season at our very own Jane Doe Field was a morale booster to the entire student body. Quarterback, Joe Baker completed 18 out of 24 passes to cement the win.

This was only a simple example, but almost all the questions are actually answered in the first two sentences. From here you can add more inconsequential details, such as receiving yards, rushing yards, and so forth. You will at some point include quotes from people such as the coach, the quarterback, a receiver, a fan in the stands, and perhaps the principal. Although for quotes, you don’t want to include too many, but having two or three is important. By the time you get to the end of the article, you are simply expanding upon what the reader already knows from the first two paragraphs you wrote.

Don’t make your paragraphs long—two to three sentences each. Your word count will need to stay around the 500 word count or less, generally speaking.

SEE WHAT OTHER SCHOOLS ARE DOING

Below are just a few examples of what other schools are doing with their newspapers. Take a look and become inspired and find ideas.

It's similar to writing academic papers, but with vital differences

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  • Writing
    • Writing Research Papers
    • Writing Essays
    • Journalism
    • M.Ed., Education Administration, University of Georgia
    • B.A., History, Armstrong State University

    Techniques for writing a news article differ from those needed for academic papers. Whether you're interested in writing for a school newspaper, fulfilling a requirement for a class, or seeking a writing job in journalism, you'll need to know the difference. To write like a real reporter, consider this guide for how to write a news article.

    Choose Your Topic

    First, you must decide what to write about. Sometimes an editor or instructor will give you assignments, but you’ll often have to find your own topics to cover.

    If you get to choose your topic, you might be able to pick a subject related to your personal experience or family history, which would give you a strong framework and a dose of perspective. However, this route means you must work to avoid bias—you may have strong opinions that could affect your conclusions. You also could pick a topic that revolves around a personal interest, such as your favorite sport.

    Research for Your News Article

    Even if you end up with a topic close to your heart, you should begin with research, using books and articles that will give you a full understanding of the subject. Go to the library and find background information about people, organizations, and events you intend to cover.

    Next, interview a few people to collect more information and quotes that give perspective on the topic. Don’t be intimidated by the idea of interviewing important or newsworthy people—an interview can be as formal or informal as you want to make it, so relax and have fun with it. Find people with backgrounds in the topic and strong opinions, and carefully write down or record their responses for accuracy. Let the interviewees know that you will be quoting them.

    Parts of a News Article

    Before you write your first draft, you should be aware of the parts that make up a news story:

    Headline or title

    The headline of your article should be catchy and to the point. You should punctuate your title using Associated Press style guidelines unless your publication specifies something else. Other members of the publication staff frequently write the headlines, but this will help focus your thoughts and maybe save those other staffers some time.

    • "Lost dog finds his way home"
    • "Debate tonight in Jasper Hall"
    • "Panel chooses 3 essay winners"

    Byline

    The byline is the name of the writer—your name, in this case.

    Lead (sometimes written "lede")

    The lead is the first sentence or paragraph, written to provide a preview of the entire article. It summarizes the story and includes many of the basic facts. The lead will help readers decide if they want to read the rest of the news article or if they are satisfied knowing these details.

    The story

    Once you’ve set the stage with a good lead, follow up with a well-written story that contains facts from your research and quotes from people you’ve interviewed. The article should not contain your opinions. Detail any events in chronological order. Use the active voice—not passive voice—when possible, and write in clear, short, direct sentences.

    In a news article, you should use the inverted pyramid format—putting the most critical information in the early paragraphs and following with supporting information. This ensures that the reader sees the important details first. Hopefully they'll be intrigued enough to continue to the end.

    The sources

    Include your sources in the body with the information and quotes they provide. This is different from academic papers, where you would add these at the end of the piece.

    The ending

    Your conclusion can be your last bit of information, a summary, or a carefully chosen quote to leave the reader with a strong sense of your story.

    A newspaper photo caption attracts readers so they want to read the rest of the article. Photo captions are the most read body type in a publication, according to the University of Kansas. When writing a photo caption, provide enough details so readers know the context of the image, without explaining the obvious. Write in complete sentences and use the present tense in the first sentence — or in all sentences — of your caption.

    Explore this article

    1 Relevant Details

    Develop a caption that clearly explains who or what’s in the picture and why they’re important, according to the University of Kansas

    You don’t want readers to struggle to identify what’s in the picture or misunderstand the purpose of the photo.

    Identify people from left to right, and note whether photographers have used the lowercase letters “cq” — an abbreviation for a Latin term that indicates the information has been fact checked — after names that don’t have common spellings, such as “Jamie Smyth (cq).” Provide ages of any children younger than 18 in your caption.

    2 Avoid the Obvious

    Explain what’s happening, when and where the incident occurred, why people in the photo appear as such, and how or why the event occurred, recommends the University of Kansas. Avoid giving details that are already obvious from the photo, suggests Portland State University.

    For example, if you’re writing a caption for a photo of the high scorer in a high school basketball tournament, include the name and location of the event, the player’s name and his game-time statistics. Don’t explain that the student is shooting a layup or that he’s wearing jersey No. 15, if that’s obvious from the photo.

    3 Specifics About the Date

    Include specific information about the date. If the photo is less than a week old, include the day of the week, but don’t include the month, day or year. If the photo is more than a week old, state the month and day, such as “Feb. 15.” Use the entire date, including the year but not the day of the week, if the photo is from any previous year.

    4 Style and Format

    Keep your photo caption to two sentences when possible, but don’t neglect to answer all the basic questions, according to “Convergence Journalism.” Focus on the “Five Ws” — who, what, when, where and why. Don’t editorialize or offer opinions and evaluations of the photo. The objective is to present the facts clearly and concisely. Double check your spelling, including people’s names, and always use proper grammar. Follow Associated Press guidelines for capitalization, spelling, abbreviations and punctuation.

    Watch this video to see how a group of students, with help from the BBC’s Sophie Long, go about it and read the advice below.

    How to make a video news report

    What’s the story?

    Before starting any news report, the most important point to remember is: Keep it simple. Think about how can you tell the story in the most engaging way, without making it too complicated.

    As with any story, you must plan how you want to start your report and how you want to end it. This will keep your story heading in the right direction, and you won’t miss out any important information in the middle.

    When planning your report, you will need to consider the five Ws. These are:

    What – What is the story? Get the facts right before starting your report.

    Why – Why is the story important to your audience? Which points do you need to focus on to get their interest?

    Who – Who is involved? Think about who will be able to tell their sides of the story in an interesting way. Make sure they’re available to film when you need them. Remember, if you want to film anyone under the age of 18, you must get permission from their parent or guardian. If you are filming at school, in school time, this permission can be given by the head teacher.

    Where – Where is the story happening, and where is the best place to film? If you’re shooting outside of school, you may need to get permission first.

    When – Has the story already happened, or is it about to happen? If there’s going to be a significant event you want to report on, make sure you get there on time!

    By planning each of these points in detail, you’ll know exactly what you need to film, where and when. That way, you won’t miss out on anything when you’re on location, or waste tape by filming things you don’t need.

    Once you have done all your planning, then you can start to film.

    A basic TV news report is made up of five parts:

    Introduction – This is where the reporter starts to explain the story. Don’t make it too long, keep it short and snappy.

    First interview – The first person you talk to will give their opinion on what is happening, and how it affects them.

    Second interview – You need to talk to someone with a different opinion, to provide balance.

    Extra shots – These show the audience more about the place and the people in the story. They make the report more interesting.

    Conclusion – This will be the reporter’s sign-off, where they summarise the outcome, or possible outcomes, of the story.

    Think carefully about where you want to set up each of the shots, using different backgrounds and angles to keep it interesting for the audience.

    For example, reporters can look straight at the camera when they do their introductions and sign-offs. These are called "pieces to camera".

    How to write a newspaper for kids

    Interviewees usually stand on one side of the frame looking over to the other side of the screen. This is because they are looking at the reporter, who stands on one side of the camera, so you can’t see them in the shot.

    Be very careful to check your audio levels too. Wear your headphones! Without good sound you won’t be able to use the video that goes with it.

    Always bring plenty of pens and paper, spare camera batteries and tapes. If you run out during an interview, you won’t be able to finish your story. And if you’ve got a tripod, take it with you to keep the shots steady.

    Health and safety

    When filming, you and your team’s safety is top priority. Don’t film in dangerous places – in the road, for example, or balancing on top of something. Be careful of cables and leads – keep them out of the way so people don’t trip over.

    Planning ahead can really help, so you know where you’re going and don’t get lost. Always make sure someone in charge knows where you will be.

    Whether you’re celebrating your first or your 50th, an anniversary announcement in the newspaper is the perfect way to share your love with the world. Announcements are also a great way to spotlight the anniversary of loved ones like your parents. Share the important details and fun little extras to make the announcement special and personal.

    Check the Newspaper Guidelines

    Before creating your anniversary announcement, review the guidelines for the selected publication. Newspapers may have certain requirements for the information you include in the announcement. Check on the deadline for submitting the information if you want it published on a particular date. Some newspapers plug the anniversary information into a standard template while others let you create your own announcement, so check before starting. This research phase is also the time to check on the cost of publishing an anniversary announcement in the paper. Some newspapers print announcements free of charge. You may have to pay a fee if you want to include a photo.

    Gather Information

    It’s important to have all the necessary information before you start writing the piece. If you’re creating an announcement for your own anniversary, that information should be easy to gather. If you’re writing it for another couple, you may have to do a little digging to find details for the anniversary newspaper announcement.

    Common information in an announcement includes:

    • Names of the couple
    • Wife’s maiden name if she took her spouse’s name
    • Hometown
    • How long the couple has been married
    • Date and location of the wedding
    • Information on the couple’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren if applicable
    • Employment information, present or past, if the couple is retired
    • Any other information you want to share

    If the announcement doubles as an invitation for an anniversary celebration, include those details as well. Include the date, time and location if you want people to attend the celebration. Another common option is a card shower where friends of the couple send anniversary cards. For this option, include the mailing address for the cards.

    Create Your Draft

    Now it’s time to put your information into an announcement. You can choose a basic option by simply sharing the details. For example, you might start by writing, “Jane and Sam Smith of Norwalk are celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary on September 1. They were united in marriage on September 1, 1987, at the First United Methodist Church in Norwalk.” Continue with additional details. This is the traditional way of sharing anniversary information.

    If the newspaper allows you to create your own announcement, you can get creative with the wording. Consider the personalities of the couple when creating the draft. If they’re a fun-loving couple who enjoys humor, you might say something like, “Jane Smith has been putting up with Sam Smith’s antics for 30 years, and they’re still going strong. Their journey started way back on September 1, 1987, when a young Jane and Sam said, ‘I do.’ They didn’t know what life had in store for them, but it’s been an amazing 30 years full of kids and recently, a sweet little grandbaby.”

    Add Special Touches

    Once you get the basics down, consider adding a few extras. A photo of the couple is a nice addition to the print announcement. Consider adding one photo from the wedding day in addition to a current photo.

    Another option is to include a quote about love or a special message directly to the couple to add a sentimental and personal element to the announcement. You might include a famous quote about love enduring. You might also share how the couple’s love makes you feel. For example, if you’re writing an announcement for your parents, you might talk about the impact of their love on your life.