This training series examines the basics or fundamentals of news reporting and writing. News is at the heart of journalism. It is the most important product provided by the mass media. As a result, reporting and writing news properly is a sine qua non for journalists.
Moreover, as we have noted in an earlier post, “Writing is Central to Every Area of Mass Communication,” news writing and writing in general are part of the duties of communicators in media-related positions besides journalists. Such communicators include information officers in government ministries, media aides to prominent officials and corporate affairs officers of organisations.

We certainly cannot look at everything about News Reporting and Writing in a few lectures but I’ve noticed that there’s an urgent need to acquaint students at all levels and other aspiring journalists with the fundamentals of News Writing.
Many of the news stories submitted to The Record, the departmental newspaper of the Mass Communication Department, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) for online publication lack the elements, format, language and other characteristics required of a news story. Even when corrections are made, the students tend to struggle to effect them, sometimes resulting in the stories being trashed for being unusable or becoming stale.

So in this series, we intend to discuss various aspects of news reporting and writing as the former precedes the latter and must be done right to ensure that an excellent news story is composed.
Our main story of reference will be the story on the UNN matriculation ceremony linked below. We shall also refer to other recent stories on The Record‘s website as occasion demands.

UNN Places High Premium on Character, Humanity – VC to New Students

Take some minutes to read that story and a few other news stories on The Record, to apprise you of what we’re examining in this series.

Stories To Read (Note that these stories are not long.)

Security Operatives Raid POS Agents for High Service Charges

City Knock Arsenal Out From FA Cup

2023 National Census Will Be Fully Digital – DG, NIPSS

Students, Business Owners in UNN Demand Full Access to New Naira Notes

Be sure to pay good attention to this training and do the exercises in it. And kindly share the posts in the series widely.

God bless you! 💜

Without further ado, we commence with what makes an event newsworthy.


Not every event that happens merits coverage. Writing a story on a meeting of a students’ association is a wasted effort except something happens that makes the event noteworthy.

Some students think that they can write a few paragraphs on every trivial thing that occurs and get a by-line thereby. Except you are writing for a low-quality blog or tabloid, you need to do much better than that.

Below are three of the most important criteria for judging what you should cover. The questions beneath each one show how they should be applied in making news coverage decisions. Further research will expose you to other relevant criteria.

Is the story important enough to affect many people? Will people be endangered or make costly mistakes if they don’t get the information?

This is why we have given sustained coverage to the fallout of the CBN’s Naira redesign policy as you can see from The Record UNN’s website (Business Section).

Does the story concern one or more prominent people?

Is the story about something exceptional, something that is very unusual?

If your answer to the questions above is “Yes,” you have a story worth covering.

After deciding to report on an event, you need to cover it well. Otherwise, you will discover that your story is full of errors or has many holes when you submit it. Bearing the following in mind will, therefore, help you turn in a standard piece.

  1. Be punctual to the event.
  2. Stay at a position where you can see and hear well.
  3. Record the event electronically, in addition to taking notes.
  4. Collect any handouts distributed, like speeches and brochures.
  5. Interview some people at the event, especially those who can answer important questions you have about it.

If there’s a dispute or conflict, talk to people on both sides.

And talk to a cross-section of people, not one class alone.

  1. Take pictures of the event and people who participated.


  1. Briefly explain why each of the steps mentioned above is crucial to turning in a good story.

(Do not muddle up your answers. Take the steps one after the other.)

  1. Suppose you covered a skills acquisition programme hosted by an NGO at Ekpo Refectory, UNN:

a. Who would you interview at the event?

b. Describe the pictures you would take to illustrate your story.

This training continues in the second segment.
Remember to share this post and add your impressions/questions in the Comments section below.



  • Ukaegbu Chris

    Thank you Aunty Edith. I work in the Directorate of Corporate Services of an MDA. I find this lecture very useful not only for myself but for associate development purposes.
    I look forward to the next in the series and won’t mind if such is forwarded to my email address.
    Thank you.

    • Glad to hear from you. If you follow the blog, you’ll get email notification whenever I publish a new post.
      Meanwhile the entire series has been published and can be accessed through the arrow keys at the end of each one.
      Have a blessed week!

      • Egbue Precious

        Wow! Ma I wonder how you take time to help us to write these things. It shows you are a compassionate lecturer who cares for her students. Before I didn’t really understand the tips for news writing when reading myself in class but this has become an eye opener for me the way you explained it in such simple terms

  • I find this post useful, I’m familiar with most of the tips. And for it to keep recurring shows how important this tips are. Our lecturers have in one way the other mentioned oddity and prominence as news values in my first year n even now in my second year. And I’m sure it will still be mentioned in my other years because of its importance.

  • Treasure Emone

    Thanks ma
    I will surely try the exercise

  • Ezeokoli Nnenna

    Well understood ma’am

  • Nora

    As a student of Mass communication (practicing journalist) I find this post very useful as it will help me in my course of study

  • Ahueze Vivian Isioma

    Firstly,I Appreciate You Ma, for taking your time to give such a detailed and educative Lecture.
    I find the Above Steps very Crucial because each of the steps help serve as a guidelines that are to be duly followed when writing a News story, it also provide ample knowledge about the criterion to put in mind when writing a News story for any Media Outlet.
    And this Steps are not things that can be disregarded, hence that makes it very crucial.

  • Akamadu Oluoma Francisca

    I find these tips familiar because I was taught in Reporting class. The good thing is it has stuck more as I read it again. Hopefully, the knowledge won’t try to evaporate, lol.

    Thank you, Aunty Edith for taking out your time to explain. You are a rare gem and definitely deserve some flowers. 🌹🌹

    • Awwww! Thanks a lot! 🥰

      • Akubue-Izundu Ifeoma

        I love the part about interview the most. This is because when we interview the wrong people, we won’t write a good news story. Knowing who to interview is as essential as covering the story.

    • Nwije Vivian Onyinyechi

      I enjoyed reading this article on news writing. This particular phrase caught my attention “Not every event that happens merits coverage…” this is so true rather as a mass communicator, one should apply the important criteria for writing a news worthy for consumption by the masses. Thank you ma for your time

  • Johnnylizzy

    Thank you ma
    For this wonderful piece
    Form this post I came to the understanding of what makes a news worthy of being published.

  • Bassey Gideon

    Thank you Ma for this, a brilliant piece that’s offered knowledge in a simple manner. I would greatly benefit from this series as others have.

  • Sharon

    Thank you very much ma for this wonderful information
    This piece is going to serve as a very good guide for effective news writing and it will also help to create good writers and journalists amongst us
    We are learning from the best

  • Nwije Vivian Onyinyechi

    I enjoyed reading this article on news writing. This particular phrase caught my attention “Not every event that happens merits coverage…” this is so true rather as a mass communicator, one should apply the important criteria for writing a news worthy for consumption by the masses. Thank you ma for your time

  • Mandy Angel

    Thank you Aunty Edith for buttressing how important these news determinants are. Little wonder they keep recurring in literally every reporting class.

  • Aniaku Oluchi Victory

    I find this post very instructive as it reminds me of what was learnt last semester and it would be invaluable during my IT in the next couple of months. Thank you very much ma for this.

  • Ihuoma Ogochukwu Chinonye

    Thank you so much, Aunty Edith.
    These tips are helpful and I believe it is also a great reminder for me.

  • Thank you, Mummy.
    As I was reading the tips for news gathering, that is, how to cover an event as you told us in class,I noticed that if we as student apply this very tips in our academic pursuit,we will surely learn a lot.
    You said we should be punctual,sit at a right position, take notes and record electronically, collect hand-outs and interview some important persons to answer the question we might have about the event. Thank you,ma.

    And also,one of the things I noticed about this blog is the language you use in writing. I believe that if I visit this blog consistently, my language will improve and become better.

    I celebrate you once again,ma.

  • Chiemerie Regina Okoye-azi

    Thank you so much, Aunty Edith. I feel so ashamed now and I can’t stop thinking about the pointless piece I sent to your DM in the name of a story. I am glad I know better now. Henceforth, this is my online go-to-hub for extra tips on news writing. ❤️

  • Deborah Ella

    I love this article, it’s diction is easy to understand.

  • Naomi Mbah

    Wow Ma, so instructive!

  • Gbatalibe uchenna Mildred

    I have been coming across the word ‘oddity’ without knowing the meaning and importance in journalism but I know it now. Thank you very much, ma.

  • Eleke Jane Somadina

    This article is so simple to understand. We just learnt about this about a week ago or so. I’ve gained more clarity.

    Thank you ma’am.

  • I assume pictures of the interviewees would be a nice illustration to my story, it should help readers connect with the people behind the story.

  • Eneje chidimma ekene

    Proper news gathering techniques, such as timely arrival, interviews, and quality visuals, are the cornerstone of impactful journalism.
    This is really helpful in my field of study.

  • Chukwunta Philip Ozioma

    Thank you very much, ma. This piece is very important.

    Being punctual to an event is one tip that stood out for me. We Africans are used to “Africa time,” though not all.

    Punctuality is essential in gathering news.

    Once again, thank you ma.

  • Tom Teme

    This lecture is so helpful. It’s amazing that we can always come here for reminders. God bless you na.

  • Sunday Chinenye

    I would interview participants, organizers from the NGO, and possibly any notable figures present, such as university officials or guest speakers.b. I would capture candid shots of participants engaging in skill-building activities, organizers facilitating workshops, and the vibrant atmosphere. Additionally, I’d take pictures of any displays showcasing the skills learned and perhaps close-ups of participants sharing their experiences.

  • Chukwunta Chinemerem Claire

    Thank you ma. This is not only simple to understand but interesting to read over, as they say no Knowledge is a waste.

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