42 is the Right Answer, Day 18

newspaper pile sToday’s creative writing prompt is to write a newspaper article.

Imagine your local newspaper editor has been in touch asking for a 400-word article on the experiences of COVID-19 in your neighbourhood.

This isn’t the same as a rant in your journal, or an opinion piece giving your views on what’s going on. This is local journalism – news reporting.

Under normal circumstances, you would be expected to knock on doors or go out into the street to get ‘vox pop’ stories from strangers, but that’s not possible just now. Instead, you can listen to local broadcasting, speak to friends and neighbours (via the phone, of course) and trawl social media and the internet for information about what people are up to in these trying times. Failing that, use your imagination (because this is not for publication, it is just a writing exercise).

Newspaper reporting is a style of writing in which you must get most of the important information into the first paragraph (because readers often don’t go beyond that) and follow the old ‘who, why, what, where, when, how?’ mantra. The headline (aka the title) of your piece is important, too. Try to make it catchy enough to draw in a reader.

‘Human interest’ is the key to this article. Your reader will want to know how many toilet rolls someone has stashed away, who has invented a ceiling treadmill for his dog, how many couples are likely to divorce or produce another baby as a result of their close confinement, who is fearful of divine retribution because isn’t it nearly Easter and what about all the chocolate already eaten?

You’re writing in the style of a news reporter here. Unlike the real world where it matters if you’re being truthful, on this occasion you can be as far-fetched with Doomsday stories as you like. Have fun!


Back to Basics – if you need to catch up, it began  here

I intend posting prompts here each day (until May Day) at 5pm – alive at five (Dublin time).