TYPES OF REPORTING II: INTERPRETATIVE REPORTING

Introduction:
The limitations of straight news reporting inevitably gave rise to other methods of reporting, the first of which we will consider in this post. It is called interpretative reporting. As its name implies, it is the method of reporting that seeks to add meaning to news reports by breaking down the issues raised in them. The skeletal report given in straight news is often unable to answer many of the readers’ questions. For example, you read a story that Nigeria’s Central Bank (CBN) has banned cryptocurrency accounts in the country and you want to know what cryptocurrency is. You wonder how it differs from regular currency like Naira and Pound Sterling. You also want to know why the CBN took this stance. In other words, you are curious about the benefits and dangers of dealing in cryptocurrencies and what the position of other countries is on it. You are not likely to find the answers to all these questions in a straight news story. But an interpretative story will furnish you with them and more. As we consider the characteristics of interpretative reports, their similarities to and differences from straight news stories and their usefulness will become apparent.

Characteristics of interpretative reports
Just like straight news stories, interpretative reports are written about important matters which people are eager to know more about- symptoms of a new disease, ways of preventing its spread and treatment options available or in the works; the provisions of a new bill in parliament, who will benefit from it, who is sponsoring it, who is opposing it and why?
The interpretative report is not written with the straight-forward approach of straight news. The writer can decide to use a preamble to introduce the subject of the story. For example, a story that explains how kidnapping negotiations are done can start with two or three paragraphs narrating the experience of a family whose member was recently kidnapped, showing how heart-wrenching their ordeal had been before getting to the issue of negotiations that determine the fate of victims.
Interpretative reports are not written with the simplest language possible as straight news stories are. The writers can use slightly elevated and adorned language but they are not to use hi-falutin expressions or grandiose language that make their reports incomprehensible to many readers. Literary devices, like familiar, not obscure, figures of speech, are welcome in interpretative reports. The attractive language helps to keep the interest of readers since the explanations might get lengthy and would be boring if presented in plain language.
Interpretative reports are not usually as timely as straight news reports. When something important happens, the first stories on it would usually come in straight news format. Subsequently, reporters in that area (politics, education …) take some time to research the matter and write fuller reports on it.
Interpretative reports are not as objective as straight news stories, not because the writers are allowed to clearly editorialise but because in writing such long reports, they have more latitude to add from their own store of knowledge and choose sources in such a way that weights the matter less evenly than straight news writers would.
Interpretative reporters are not bound to any order of writing unlike straight news writers who use the inverted pyramid. An interpretative report can start with, among other things, a quotation from one of the sources in the story, an epigram, a figurative expression or a narration of a key scene from the original event that warranted the report. Sometimes, deciding how to start the report can be tasking as the options abound unlike straight news which has a laid-down format.

Beyond his choice of a lead, how the vast volume of material gathered for the report is woven together is left to the discretion of the writer. The bottom line is that the report must carry the reader along from start to finish since unlike a straight news story where reading the beginning gives one the gist of the story, the interpretative report needs to be read through to be totally useful.
The interpretative report is usually lengthy. As stated earlier, it seeks to elaborate on the issues raised in straight news or, as some have stated, add flesh to the skeleton of straight news. What are the things it adds?

Elements of news interpretation
By elements of news interpretation, we mean the things the interpretative report needs to include to be comprehensive. This refers to those points which help to give the reader a broad and deep understanding of the subject of the report often lacking or only briefly touched in straight news reports about it. Note that the interpretative report should contain the 5Ws and H of the story it is elaborating on to avoid talking over the heads of readers who may not have the basic facts of the story. They are presented hereunder as things the journalist should do.
Explanation of meaning: In covering issues and events, journalists come across unfamiliar terms, some of them technical or foreign. The absence of a proper explanation (in terms a lay person can understand) of what they mean invariably hampers the understanding of the story at large. My example on cryptocurrencies in the Introduction refers.
Ranking: Interpretative reports help readers to understand the relative ranking of persons, events and other things in the news. This is not only done by how much time or space is devoted to them but by the use of words that clearly spell out how significant they are, like “history-making event” and “the most critical decision of this administration.”
Backgrounding: Interpretative reports help show the history of what they discuss. If someone wins a public office, for instance, their family, education, professional career and political journey to date would be provided to the public. If a war breaks out, the beginnings of the conflict will be chronicled down to the escalations that resulted in the war, along with efforts at mediation along the way.
Building of context: There are interrelationships between many people, issues and events that are not obvious to the average person. Individual stories written separately in straight news fashion do not always show these interconnections but interpretative reports do. What is the link between a political conflict and religious divisions in the country affected? How does the devaluation of a country’s currency affect the rest of its economy? Since no event occurs in a vacuum, showing its interrelatedness with other events is an important aspect of interpretative reporting.
Tracing of precedence: This involves finding out if the event being reported is the first of its kind and if not, has it happened locally or elsewhere? Also, how regularly has it happened? Using the current news of the kidnapping of over 300 girls from a secondary school in Zamfara State, Nigeria, the reporter goes back to the kidnapping of 276 girls from a girls’ secondary school in Chibok, Borno State in April.2014 and the other incidents of mass abduction that have taken place since then. It is also important to tell the reader if this is a uniquely Nigerian problem or if mass kidnapping of school children is also experienced in other countries with problems of insecurity.
Advancing likely causes and effects: One question that rings in the minds of readers of many stories is, “Why?” The straight news story does not often have the correct or full answer because it is too close to the event in time. Further digging helps the interpretative reporter to arrive at more accurate and comprehensive answers. For example, in the case of what appears to be a suicide but where no note has been found, friends and neighbours may proffer what they think may have led to the deceased taking his life, say, financial or health troubles. But by the time the interpretative report is published, more information may be available, say, through a file in the deceased’s laptop, that shows the actual cause of the suicide to be romantic trouble or that even suggests there was foul play, requiring a homicide investigation. In adducing possible causes of a matter, the reporter should rely on facts and authorities and not make wild or biased guesses. Still, he should leave the door open to further discoveries down the line that may question his conclusions.
The same goes for advancing possible effects or implications of an action or event.
Localisation of the story: It is important to show readers why they should be interested in a story by showing the relevance of the issue it is about to their lives. If you discuss a disease like Lassa fever without showing people they are living in an area where there is an outbreak or that certain circumstances which they live under or are oblivious about could predispose them to contracting the disease, they may feel unconcerned. If you do not explain the full ramifications of a new government regulation to show people how it may affect them and their families, they may not be interested. It is called bringing the story home to the reader.
Another way of doing this is showing how the story affects the readers’ compatriots, faith community, racial group or idols (such as celebrities and political icons they admire). This evokes an attachment to the story or what in news values is called psychological proximity, no matter how far away the story took place. For example, in reporting the recent winter storm in Texas, if a Nigerian singer was caught in it while holidaying abroad, merely mentioning that will ignite the interest of Nigerian readers.
Localisation can also be accomplished by including the local equivalents of things in the story (like weights and other measures). This would require conversion from pounds and ounces to kilogrammes and grammes, from foreign currencies to local, for instance. This enhances understanding of the story.
Presenting diverse opinions: An important part of any news report is people’s reaction to the issue covered. While straight news stories do include the opinions of sources, interpretative reports contain more of these by virtue of the research process that precedes their writing and the length of the resulting stories. Take the Nigerian military’s clashes with the Eastern Security Network (ESN) formed by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as an example. A story on that, beyond the accounts of those directly involved or affected, would need the views of supporters and opponents of IPOB, both those who share ethnicity with it (Igbos) and people of other ethnic groups in Nigeria. It would need the views of military and federal government sources, state governors in the South-East geopolitical zone where IPOB operates, IPOB leaders, human rights advocates and constitutional experts too who will weigh in on the constitutionality of IPOB’s formation of this security outfit or otherwise.

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Goal of interpretative reporting/Role of the media it serves
As can be deduced from the discussion so far, interpretative reports do not merely provide information. They go the extra mile to provide education. They help to produce an enlightened citizenry by going beyond the superficial accounts in straight news to deepen understanding of the issues in the news and broaden people’s access to ideas and viewpoints concerning important current events.
They also entertain by virtue of the impressive language used to craft them and the beauty of their organisation because, as stated earlier, the writers draw on their skills to keep readers engaged to the end irrespective of how long the stories are.

Popularity/availability of interpretative reports in Nigeria
Interpretative reports can be found in news magazines, inside pages of newspapers and in news and current affairs broadcast shows that do not focus on breaking news but news interpretation and analysis.
By their very nature, interpretative reports appeal to more educated and professional readers- the more intellectually curious. As the literacy level of society rises, there is a corresponding increase in interest in such reports. Many ordinary Nigerians are not literate enough to easily follow interpretative reports and the prevailing poor reading culture even among the literate here means that the more lengthy interpretative reports do not get the same attention as straight news stories.

Review Questions
***Supply the ways in which the interpretative report is similar to a straight news story.

***In what ways is an interpretative report different from a straight news story?

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***How can a journalist localise a foreign story for his readers/audience?

***With one example of a story each (as I did in this post), show how a journalist can add the following to his interpretative report:
a. Background    b. Precedence    c. Diverse opinions

***Write an interpretative report on one of the following topics:
a. School in the midst of COVID-19
(focusing on the changes made by schools due to the disease)
b. Kidnappings and banditry on the increase in Nigeria
c. Incessant strikes in Nigeria’s educational sector

Further reading:
MacDougall, C. D. (1982). Interpretative reporting. New York: Collier Macmillan.

Ohaja, E. U. (2005). Feature writing simplified. Enugu, Nigeria: El ‘Demak. (Chapter Two discusses news interpretation, explaining the historical circumstances under which it arose, its benefits and how it is carried out.)

Paper, S. & Featherstone, S. (2006). Feature writing: A practical introduction. London, England: Sage Publications Ltd.

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I am a university lecturer. I teach Mass Communication, mostly writing courses like Feature and Interpretative Writing, Magazine Article Writing and News Writing, and let’s just say I’ve been doing this for a long time. As you have probably guessed, I am a born-again Christian.

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148 comments

  • Isaac sopuruchi peace

    I actually didn’t know that both have a great difference.
    This is so enlightening.
    But I think I would prefer reading a straight news story than this.

    • 😀😀😀

      You are here to learn how to write different types of stories o, not to choose the easiest one to read.

      • Nnamaga Eunice Eberechukwu

        Wow, God bless you ma for this piece, it’s clearer here.
        Like I understood it without much stress. Thank you, ma!

      • Sambo Deborah Friday

        Both interpretative and straight news are unique in their own ways, but I think straight news are meant for common people, and the interpretative news is for scholars and more educated people.
        Interpretative news can be used to search for complete and concrete information, while straight news is just a lay-man understanding of the events that took place.

  • Orisakwe Ezinne amarachukwu

    This is very comprehensive and I will actually want to try an interpretative report soon.
    God bless ma.

  • Eche Divine Amarachi

    Evening Ma, I’ve never really understood interpretative report but this was comprehensive enough and I think I enjoyed the article.

    • I’m glad you did. I hope you will be able to practise what you learnt from the post because that’s the only way to excel. You are richly blessed in Jesus’ name.

  • Ikea Joy Chiamaka

    Wow! This is an entire feature writing textbook summarized in one elightening post. Thank you ma. This was really helpful.

  • Ezeh chimezie Amos

    Good morning ma. This is very comprehensive and self-explanatory. Feels more like I was in your class.(its still your class though… hahaha).
    Interpretative report seems harder to the reporter to write but I kind of like the fact that it gives more details to the reader.
    Learnt a couple of things from this.
    Thank you, Dr Edith Ohaja… Remain blessed ma’am

    • Tiger Freda Jarip

      Wow, this is very much explanatory and straight to the point. Writing an interpretative report now seems way easier than I ever thought. This is writing deeper than a straight news story.

  • Nkwocha chibueze Innocent

    Thank you ma for the clear presentation of straight news stories, and the different angles to it, I think I can try out writing some straight news stories. Your stories have been Educative, inspirational, and informative, keep up the good work ma

  • Ezeja talent chimezugorom

    The interpretative report is similar to straight news in the sense that it informs the people about important events, but then interpretative reporting goes more in-depth and adds more flesh to the news story, thank you ma, after reading this post it looks a lot easier to write a straight news story.

  • Ezike Winifred udochukwu

    This is really an enlightening roadmap to understanding how to write an interpretative report. I am very glad I came across this ma..thank u so much

  • Chioma Peter

    You gave a thorough explanation of an interpretative report, now I understand it better. Thank you ma and Happy New month.
    PS: Should I answer the review questions here in the comment section?

  • Joyce Jonathan

    Thank you ma for this. Everything is well explained and very easy to understand. Now I know the difference between straight news and interpretative reporting.

  • Nwalutum Chisom Doreen

    Very interesting breakdown on interpretative reporting
    God bless you Ma.

  • Glory Oluchi

    Interpretative reporting has been made clear to me by this lecture. Although I prefer straight news reporting to it, I’ll try it out with the review questions. Thank you so much ma

  • Chukwuneke adaeze jennifer

    This is very good ma’am I enjoyed reading the typed of reporting mostly the interpretative,enlightened me more on some few things we didn’t learn in class… Weldone ma’am

  • Eze Blessing Sopuruchukwu

    Thank you very much ma, this article was very helpful. It explained in details what interpretative feature is all about. The understanding of the characteristics and elements had reduced the confusion between what a feature story is from a straight news story

  • MBAM PATRICK CHINONYELUM

    This is very comprehensive and straight to the point. Sometimes, I feel like, if you had taught us through this medium, we would have achieved more academically during the lockdown. It’s really nice ma… Thanks🤝

  • Enukora Onyedikachi Blessing

    This helps differentiate between interpretative reporting and interpretative feature. Although, they lean on the same side in the roles and functions. Thank you ma.

    • I didn’t differentiate them. The latter is the product of the former. I did differentiate between them and straight news stories though.

      • Enukora Onyedikachi Blessing

        Ohh now I understand. Thank you ma. Straight news reporting and interpretative reporting are stark opposites while kindling some similarities along

  • Ezugwu Chiamaka

    Thank you ma for the insight

  • Wilfred Augusta Ojochogwu

    Wow, this post is really educative and comprehensive, thanks ma and I will be expecting more of this .

  • Okorie Mary

    Very explanatory ma

  • Fajimbola Joshua Olatunde

    Thanks to our mentor and great teacher for the detailed lecture on this important subject. The lecture actually simplified the concept, scope and issue-areas of interpretative reporting. It has expanded the boundary of knowledge in this field.

  • Joseph Chizoba Kingsley

    I really learnt a lot from this post. One of them is that interpretative reporting digs deep to facilitate deeper understanding of a news story unlike straight news reporting.

  • Chinecherem Stephens

    One would actually think that a straight news report and an interpretative report are irreconcilable. They are similar, yet different.

    This was very detailed. Thank you ma!

  • Ezike Winifred udochukwu

    Ma ..,, your posts is more like a window of understanding and comprehensiveness..thank u ma

  • Ugwoke Jennifer Chinecherem

    Before now,I could hardly tell what a straight news report is and what an interpretative report is. Thank you so much Ma. This post is an eye opener to me concerning Reporting in general. I pray to see more posts like this one on your blog,it is so enlightening. God bless you Ma.

  • Ugwu Amarachi Matilda

    Wow. This article is very explanatory. Thank you Ma for sharing this detailed piece on interpretive reporting. I really learnt a lot. I will try and practise this soon. God bless you.

  • Egbo Paul Uchenna

    Often times straight news stories leave the audience wondering about what happened afterwards. The main reason why I prefer watching Newsline on NTA than NTA News 24.

    Also, this can serve as a textbook if printed. What a content-filled article. No one teaches News Writing the way you do (to the best of my knowledge though). Kudos, ma! Thank you for carrying us along.

  • Abah Okpe Gabriel

    Good evening ma, after reading this awesome post what came to my mind is living in Lagos and living in a village, everything in Lagos is so fast, you have to be fast in virtually everything you do, to beat traffic, entering a bus, to even eat too, same thing applies to straight news reporting/writing, you must always watch the time. But living in the village you work at your own pace, you must have gathered a lot of information which was not provided or added in the straight news writing or report to flesh out your interpretative report.
    Thank you, ma, and God bless you richly!

  • Aṅulika Iwoba

    Weehooo very timely I’d say haha
    We’re required to write interpretative stories for the News Editing Course and the information contained here will definitely make the work a lot easier.
    Thank you so much, ma.

  • Nweke Kingsley Tochukwu

    That’s great Ma, u are always on point.

  • Erilem Happiness Chinaza

    This is very comprehensive.

    Thanks for taking your time to simplify interpretatitive writing.

    In summary
    The straight and interpretative reporting both inform the reader.

    But the style, timeliness, length are what differentiate the two types of report.

    While the straight news strives to break news as timely as possible, the interpretative goes beyond informing to educate and give the reader deeper insights into the story.

    God bless you!

  • Mark Favour Ezinne

    Interpretative writing affords writers the liberty to express themselves in the most suitable way, and just like you wrote, there are no rules on how they are to begin the story.
    The problem I have with straight news reports is how they manage to be so lengthy on the newspaper, yet do not answer all the questions in the mind of their readers to warrant the writing of interpretative reports.
    By the way, this article is very helpful as it would assist journalists and upcoming ones do good justice to reporting. Thank you.

  • Mark Favour Ezinne

    It’s a good thing interpretative writing isn’t as timely as straight news, else we will have half-baked news analysis and interested audience will not get to experience benefits from news reading.

  • Something new is always being added each time i go through your post.

    I really wish you exposed us to this medium of learning long before now.

    I had always attended the class during the lecture periods but I was never inside the class neither could I get anything out of the lecture.

    Thanks so much for this medium ma’am.

  • Egbo Paul Uchenna

    1.The interpretative writing is similar to straight news writing in this very aspect of News reporting goal which is aimed at informing the people of recent happenings around them. They have the same goal.

    2. The interpretative writing supply’s a more detailed story about the event or occurrence. The interpretative writer carries out proper investigation to make sure that all sides of the story is covered. While the straight news writer most times covers few W’s this is however due to time issues.

    3. A local reporter can achieve this by relating it to his audience by effectively explaining how what has happened affects them either politically or economically or health wise this will in turn illicit a sense of attachment from the reader. He/she can as well hand pick a public figure be it a celebrity or any notable personality that’s affected or is directly or indirectly affected by the event or happenings, this would avail the reader the essence to why they should read the story.
    Thank you ma.

  • Ibekwe Vincent Chukwuebuka

    This is super lit. The lesson was broad and understandable.

    But ma can we also refer investigative reporting as interpretative Reporting. If not, what’s the difference.

  • Always have new knowledge added in me each time I go through your post.

    I really wish you had exposed us to this medium of learning long before now.

    I had always attended the class during the lecture periods but I was never inside the class neither could I get anything out of the lecture.

    Thanks for using this avenue to pass across your intellectual properties to us.

    Remain blessed Dr.

  • Chukwurah Nnenna

    I sincerely got more deeper knowledge on interpretative report and the comprehensiveness of this article is top-notch . God bless you ma

  • Paschal Odigonma Victoria

    This is very detailed and valuable. With this knowledge, we can put it into practice and make excellent reports on the record online.

    I will be answering question 1 and 2.

    Similarities between straight news reporting and interpretative reporting
    – They both report on important matters concerning the public
    – They contain the 5ws and H of news writing
    – Individual stories can be included to build context in both
    -The opinion of sources (e.g through interviews) can be found in both.
    – Interpretative and straight news reporting report facts.

    Question 2
    Difference between straight news and interpretative reporting
    -The straight news has a straight forward approach while the interpretative reporting can make use of preambles
    – Interpretative reporting embraces elegance in writing while straight news reporting uses the simplest language possible.
    -Straight news reporting is very timely, interpretative reporting are not that timely
    – Interpretative reporting can be subjective, straight news reporting must be objective
    – Straight news reporting uses a strict format, while interpretative reporting is not bound to a specific format.

  • Interpretative reporting and straight news talk about important matters, but the interpretative reporting adds more depth by answering some of the questions we can’t have access to in straight news. Straight news has a laid down format but in interpretative reporting you can use either an epigram,a figure of speech or a quotation from the source. I learnt so much from this write up, thank you Mom.

    • The things you can start an interpretative report with mentioned here are just examples. There are a host of other things one can start such stories with. Just thought I should clarify that. Cheers!

  • Nwankwo Chinonyelum Gladys

    Good morning ma! This is a very comprehensive guide on writing an interpretative story, thanks for the practical questions I’ll try them out with the knowledge I got here about interpretative reporting.

  • Ikea Joy Chiamaka

    We could definitely scale through in our news writing exams just by reading your awesome posts😊. Personally, I prefer reading feature stories because then I wouldn’t have to wonder about the rest of the story. Remain richly blessed ma for all your efforts.

  • Onuma Salome

    Good day Ma,
    This post is so enlightening! The detailed explanation really opened my understanding on interpritative report especially. Thank you so much Ma

  • Thank you ma. I have some questions to ask ma;
    Can we say that news feature and Interpretative reporting are the same?
    And what’s the difference between backgrounding and precedence in Interpretative reporting? because I can’t see any. Once again thank you for your efforts ma. God bless you.

    • A news feature is a story that is reported as quickly as straight news but with a feature format. It is not the extended interpretative report. For example, if an alumnus grants scholarships to some students of Mass Communication to mark his birthday, the report that comes contemporaneously with his birthday but that is written in the entertaining style of a feature is a news feature.

      Precedence talks about if something has happened before, how often and where. For example, you hear about a maiden edition of a tournament, or centennial edition.
      Backgrounding is about history. How did this issue or event come into existence and develop to the present stage. Still using a tournament as example, it started as an amateur competition between secondary school students in Lagos in 1955. Six years later, the then newly-formed Athletics Association of Nigeria took it over and within three years, it had become a nationwide competition for professional athletes. (This is a hypothetical example.)

  • This is quite lucid ma. Thank you for bringing to the fore the importance of Feature reporting and the steps guiding Feature reporting. This was really impactful and I’m glad I read it to the last.

  • Eze vivian Nkiruka

    Thank u so much ma, its so detailed and easy to comprehend and I will endeavour to utilize it.

  • Nkpozi miracle Chidinma

    This is nice, God bless you ma

  • Both straight news reporting and the interpretative story writes about relevant matters. They both seek to inform and educate. However this is not the case at all times. Since straight news stories are bony in nature and may not leave room to educate the reader. Interpretative writing on the other end may not always write about things that are very important to everyone at a time.

  • I would vouch for interpretative reporting anytime, making reference to the example you made about CBN banning crypto currencies, I read the story and honestly if I didn’t know a thing or two about crypto currencies I would have been completely lost. I would say its the upgraded version of straight news reporting coming with more information.

  • NWACHUKWU VICTORIA TOCHUKWU

    As a very understandable and explanatory piece I read, this has taught me the vast difference between a straight news and an interpretative report, even if they have a few similarities. Having your explanation in mind, I won’t get confused. Smiles!

  • Haruna Precious Ikilama

    The bane of interpretative writing is to give in-depth explanation, buttress or add “meat” to a skeletal news story. This is nonfiction written with the liveliness of good fiction. It is unpretentious, it avoids the coy and cute but gives information in an elegant and entertaining manner. More so, it unites a message content in a way that the audience understand better and the said content lingers in their minds. This much I’ve been able to digest, all thanks to this detailed article.

  • Ikechebelu Ginika Francisca

    Thank you so much Ma. After going through this, I am well assured that I can now write interpretative report with ease.

  • Pamela Chigbu

    I used to think that Straight news writing was the same as interpretative writing but by reading the Feature and Interpretative Writing textbook and this piece, I’ve finally found out that they really differ from each other. I learnt more reading this piece. Thank you ma and God bless

  • Ochei Anthony Arinze

    Thank you so much ma’am, this piece is really helpful and easy to comprehend. You are blessed!

  • Pamela Chigbu

    I learnt that the interpretative writing is an in-depth story that will be meaningful to the audience while straight news focuses on events that happened or are about to happen and it is usually more concise.

  • Chima Emmanuella chisom

    This is a work Weldon, now I have a clear understanding of what interpretative writing is all about. Thanks ma.

  • Ebele obikeguna

    Good evening ma ,
    This is a very comprehensive guide on writing an interpretative story, thanks for the practical questions I’ll surely try them out after i read this post again to fully understand…

  • Ijoma, Chisom Jessica

    I had few questions on straight news story writing as regarding the lead. I find it difficult abit to be concise and straight to the point in my lead, but I thank God, I have received great help…. Thanks alot Ma. God bless you

  • Unigwe Juliet chiemelie

    I actually thouht that a straight news report and an interpretative report arell. They are similar, yet different.

    This was very detailed. Thank

  • Ukpai-Uma Lucy

    If I actually understand what you mean, Interpretative writing in an extensive, precedent and elaborate detailed writing which in course could also contain analysis about a situation. It’s beyond giving brief news stories like the straight news story but expositorily reporting a news story. Is that?

  • Paul-kayode praise chidiebube

    Very detailed explanation ma, I understand the text better now!

  • Aleke Juliet C.

    Ma, personally, inasmuch as interpretative writing gives an in depth explanation of a subject matter, my preference for straight news writing cannot be overemphasized; and that’s why I am not a fan of Vanguard newspaper. This is so because in most cases, I like a straight forward information. Just felt like sharing… But Thank u ma for the impact.

  • Jibulu Ngozi C

    Interpretative report gives explanation of meaning and presents diverse opinion,this is a well detailed explanation and I’ve learnt something from it
    Thank you ma

  • Gabriel chinasa

    Very Impactful thank you ma

  • Okonkwo Sophia Ogechukwu

    Interpretative reporting is Just like an icing on a cake. I said I liked straight news story but after reading this piece. I just realized how educative an interpretative reports can be.
    This is enlightning. Thank you Ma

  • Collette

    Thank you so much ma, for throwing more light on this topic. Now I can proudly differentiate interpretative reporting from other kinds of reporting clearly.

  • Ossai Chidimma Linda

    I better understand the roles of tracing of precedence and background,as well as building of context. I believe I can better use them now.

  • Ejiofor Emmanuel

    Interpretative feature is the fun in news stories. It is not too serious as the straight news story is which can serve as a break from the inverted pyramid format styled stories.

    The examples you gave on this topic are so easy to relate to. Thank you, ma, for breaking it down to the things we can easily associate with.

  • Unigwe Juliet chiemelie

    I actually thought that a straight news report and an interpretative report are the same …..they’re very similar, yet different

    • Omeje cynthia

      Going through the line’s of this lecture, undoubtedly it narrows and touches the very nukes and crannies of interpretative reporting. It has really embroaden the vast resource in the topic to my little understanding.
      I will answering Question 3
      How can a journalist localise a foreign story for his readers/audience?
      A journalist can localize a foreign story by bringing it closer to what the people can identify. This is because people put interest in stories that concern them.
      Example:
      If there’s an aircraft crashes in United Kingdom, a journalist should inquire if Nigerians were on board, find out their identities and fate and give that information prominence in his story.

      thanks you ma

  • Ugwuanyi Collette

    Thank you so much ma for this educative piece on interpretative reporting, I learnt a lot about it the characteristics and elements of interpretative reporting and with that I can attempt the review questions and other questions relating to interpretative reporting.

  • Oba Cindy Biobele

    This write-up is very educational and super helpful for someone like me who’s studying mass communication. Knowing these points will really help when the times comes for me to write an interpretative news story. Thank you so much for this knowledge.

  • Thank you so much Ma for this self explanatory write up, you really made understanding of Interpretative reports easier for me, from the characteristics, to the elements and it goals. I learnt alot especially on matters like localisation of a story; how to show your readers why they should be interested on a story by showing the relavance of the issue, it is about their lives. Thank you once again, God bless you Ma.

  • Interpretative reporting and straight news reporting are clearly not the same. In as much as both try to inform, interpretative writing tends to elaborate more on what has been reported in straight news reporting. Well done ma.

  • Cynthia jenny

    Thank you so much ma, honestly I really learnt alot.God bless you ma

  • Nweze Mary Chioma

    Wow ma. This is so enlightening. I got cleared up on some misconceptions I had about interpretative writing/reporting. Thank you so much. I actually think that straight news stories would be easier to write because interpretative reports require a lot of mental effort.

  • Paul-kayode praise chidiebube

    I pray the reading culture in nigeria changes (speaking to myself too), Interpretative reporting shouldn’t be only of interest to the intellectually curious. The nature and analysis of the report is so intriguing, thank you for the explanation Ma!

  • Orie Precious

    Such a great work.. more grease to your elbow ma.

  • Obeta Lillian Chiamaka

    So much to learn from interpretative reporting. It gives flesh to skeletal reports which helps to add depth to news stories.
    With the details and explanations you’ve given it would make writing an Interpretative report much easier. Thank you ma’am

  • Ibe Favour Kalu

    This gave me a detailed analysis and full understanding of interpretative reporting. Thanks for the examples you gave, it gave me a better understanding of how to write an interpretative report.

    We are blessed to have you, and may God bless you. Thank you, ma.

  • Ezidimma Odinakachukwu Oluchukwu

    I am able to fully understand the difference between straight news reporting and interpretive reporting. Both gives information on important news but the interpretative report gives a broader and wider explanation. We clearly understand this ma

  • RICHARDS MERCY ORIGHOMISAN

    THANKS A LOT MA FOR THIS, I’M SURE ANY STUDENT OF COMMUNICATION WHO PAYS ATTENTION TO THIS WILL DO MARVELOUSLY WELL IN WRITING INTERPRETAIVE STORIES

  • Kooyon Abigail Aershimana

    The xenophobic attack on Nigerians in South Africa in 2019, is an example of localisation of a story.
    During the period when this incident occurred, it evoked reactions from many Nigerians home and abroad. This means that the story was brought home to it’s readers/viewers.

  • Obi Chisom Vanessa

    Thanks for an amazing insight on interpretative reporting, never really knew or understood the difference in it and straight news reporting now its very clear. Thanks Ma!

  • Anokwuru Catherine Ihuoma

    Explaining the characteristics of the interpretative report in comparison to that of the straight news report makes it so much easier to understand. Thank you ma for taking out the time to summarize and simplify things for us.

  • Lawrence Cletus

    I like the fact that it is pointed out here that interpretative news makes an enlightened audience.
    It goes to explain the linkage function of the mass media that do not just report stories but help people make meaning of what is reported.

  • chukwuneke adaeze jennifer

    this helped broaden my understanding of what a hard and soft news story is all about now I really know what to answer when am being asked the question I just browsed about the characteristics of soft and straight new so I can know more beyond your post ma’am thank you so much for this write up Ma..

  • Oluchi Opara

    Very simple and the depth is intriguing.
    I learnt interpretative reporters are not bound to any order of writing unlike straight news reporters. They could possibly begin their stories from any angle, depending on the writers choice, which can be tasking because it abounds.
    Ma, my question is, how do prospective interpretative writers overcome this state of confusion because it can be exhausting at times?

    • This is where reading a lot comes in. From the wealth of knowledge gained from reading other people’s writings, the reader will be able to easily choose how best to start his or her stories, according to the nature of each story and the facts available.

  • Ezeh John Onyekachi

    Well crafted lecture. Concise but comprehensive. A sure guide to success.
    May the good Lord bless you greatly for blessing and enriching us ma.

  • Nwabueze Ogechi Norah.

    Interpretative writing elucidated. Grateful.

  • Francis Okwukaeze

    This is easy to understand; while straight news reports provide only the facts without analysis, interpretive news reports analyse the story and provide the reader deeper knowledge about it.
    Nice lesson.

  • Onuoha Divine Nmasinachi

    This is very enlightening ma.
    Was very easy to read and understand.
    Thank you.

  • Ozukwe mirian chisom

    Well self explanatory ma. I now understand the differences and similarities of straight news reporting and interpretative reporting.

  • Okonkwo chinaza

    Thanks a lot Ma for sharing your knowledge with us .I learnt a lot from your excellent work .God Bless you Ma ,Thanks .

  • Chimezie Goodness Adimchinobi

    Thanks for this detailed analysis on how to write an interpretative news report more . I believe I can write an interpretative report now with so much ease.

  • Mark Favour Ezinne

    In response to question three.
    A journalist localises a foreign story through the following ways:
    * Writing how the story affects the readers’ economy, education, careers, health or family
    * References to similar story that might have happened before
    * Using local or familiar terms to explain foreign expressions.

  • Offor Priscilla tobechi

    Thank you ma for the post, it has elaborated the difference between straight reporting and interpretative reporting. it has also made us to understand context very well. God bless you, ma

  • Onyekachi Agbo

    The interpretative reporting is answer to some inadequacies of the straight news story. It provides explanations to some of the questions still bulging the minds of readers after going through a straight news story. It gives the writer the liberty of extensive expression through which he give adequate explanations to an issue in a news story. Though it may have it’s own setback which may include length of time it requires which the readers may not have but it does not leave readers, hanging.
    Thank you ma for this interpretative explanations.

  • chukwuemeka Ifunanya Abigail.

    The interpretative feature and the straight news are almost similar. While the interpretative feature throws more light on the issue being discussed. Thanks ma for teaching us. U are loved by us.

  • Ngoama Ayebainate wemi

    Thanks ma’am, this will go a long way in my career

  • This is fantastic. More light being thrown on the crucial aspect of interpretative news, writing and reporting. This has actually supplied the salient points ranging from characteristics to elements and the goals. Quite splendid. Nice work mummy!!!!

  • Ohanagorom Chigozie Comfort

    Am so glad and grateful ma for this wonderful piece made simple, l couldn’t really differentiate the interpretative report and that of straight news story in the past but now with your well-organized work, l believe l have understood it, l appreciate your efforts ma, may God continue to strengthen you and more of his protections from every evil.

  • Auwal Isa

    Thank you Ma for exposing us to new dimensions of writing skills. Wish I met you during my first degree. May God Almighty always take charge of your affairs.

  • Blessing Agbaje

    Honesty, this is very comprehensive. The best I’ve read on interpretative reporting. Thank you ma.

  • Nkan David

    The difference is clear, anytime anyday I prefer an intepretative report over a straight news report….

    Please Ma, what’s the major difference between a feature writing and an interpretative reporting, cos they look similar in a way, thanks.

  • Chukwu Joy Chioma

    This post is very detailed and understanding.
    It is made clear here that interpretative writing enlightens and broadens our knowledge.
    Under the characteristics, it does not make use of straight forward approach. Does it mean it is okay to present the stories in non-chronological manner?

  • Agbowo Emmanuel chiagozie

    Ma is interpretative reporting only for magazines.

  • Ekechukwu Francisca

    Well explained Ma. Interpretative reporting builds on straight news reporting to clarify issues.

  • Enlightening!

    Can one maintain simplicity in interpretative reporting?
    If Yes, does that then mean that simplicity Is more about using simple words than lengthy paragraphs or the reverse?

    • Sweetie, you need to learn how to ask questions. One at a time does it.
      The post says that simplicity is expected more in straight news writing than in interpretative reporting. But that does not mean that one should go overboard in using impressive language while writing interpretative stories or any other stuff for the mass media. The goal should always be to be understood.

  • Ugochi

    Wow! Never knew the difference between interpretative reporting and straight news reporting before. Now I know Straight news reporting uses the inverted pyramid while interpretative reporting does not.

  • Abiayi Ifeonuchukwu

    Wow! Thank you so much ma for this comprehensive and self explanatory post .Now I know the difference between Interpretative writing and straight news story. Now I know that straight news story uses inverted pyramid format and is not as detailed as Interpretative writing.
    Thank you ma …

  • Odumuko Oluchukwu Victoria

    Thanks for sharing ma
    The interpretative reporting seems to go against most of the principles we were taught in elements of journalistic style.

  • Adebanjo Adenike Rebecca

    I read one of the comments by Odumuko who said that interpretative reporting seems to go against what we were thought in elements of Journalistic style.
    I will like to answer, how? because we were thought of elements of writings to encompass brevity, clarity, e.t.c which interpretative reporting doesn’t abide by as what have read on this post, it makes use of lengthy- sentences to drive home its point to readers.
    Most readers doesn’t have patience to read long write up, though you said interpretative reports must learn how to make use of some languages that will capture the inherent of the write up. But to be sincere do people really have that patience to get to know what languages that will sustain their attention till the end of the report.
    That’s the angle straight news is on the advantage to interpretative reporting.
    I will like to say more power to your elbow ma, you really changed my pre-conception of reading from this blog.

    • There are different kinds of people consuming media content. Some want the summary of the news and go for straight news, others go farther than straight news to read the indepth reports to learn more. I’m one of the latter.

  • This post is quite educative and I so much learnt a lot. Thank you ma and God bless you

  • Fortune

    So interpretive reports, – interpretation.

    Sound indeed!

  • Eze Esther

    The whole thing is self-explanatory
    God bless you ma

  • Aroh Anthonia Ifeoma

    Well understood ma. But please, could you buttress more on the point “interpretative reports are not as objective as straight news stories”?

    • In straight news stories, you are only allowed strictly attributed comments from all sides of an issue (for balance), But due to the length of the interpretative report, the need for background and context, etc., the learning of the reporter on the issue in question can be guessed from the material he or she includes in the story.

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