Whether it is for a whimsical at-home project or a school assignment, making a story look like newspaper article can be done fairly quickly and easily. Professionals use expensive desktop publishers such as Quark Xpress or Adobe InDesign. However, a simple homemade project can be created with virtually any text-based application.
Microsoft Publisher provides newspaper templates for users to personalise, but even a word processor, though it has no advanced layout features, has enough publishing tools to do a basic job. To make a newspaper article, include the following elements: headline, byline, folio, body text, graphics and perhaps an ad.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Word processor or other text-based software application
- Graphics program (optional)
Set your page to four to eight columns. Most text programs have a columns feature. Consult your help menu if unsure how to use yours.
Format your text. Newspapers typically use 10-point type and a standard font such as Times New Roman or Arial.
Break up your text. Large blocks of text intimidate newspaper readers, so paragraphs are created for visual appeal as well as to conform with the conventions of standard English.
Delete tab spaces. Most tab keys indent too far for a newspaper article. Instead, strike the space bar once to indent.
Type a headline at the top of the story. Include active verbs and omit articles, such as "a," "an" or "the." Headlines stretch across the entire story, and are not centred or boldfaced.
Type your byline -- the author's credit -- just above the first sentence. Professional bylines typically feature the reporter's title under his name. After the byline, skip a line or two before beginning the story.
Insert a dateline. This optional step may add an extra twist to your story. The dateline is the city where the story occurred. It is written in all capital letters, just before the first word of the story. Datelines are followed by a dash, and then the story begins. For example:
HOUSTON -- Two men were found shot dead this morning in a north side apartment.
Insert a header into the document for your folio. A folio is a newspaper heading printed on each page. This should not be confused with the masthead, the publication's official title box on the front page. A masthead includes the official logo and highlights for the big stories, but the folio is a one-line heading that includes the name of the newspaper, the date, the page number and the section name. Some of these elements many not apply, so include as many or as few of the details as you would like. Some publications use black or white text against a shaded background; others simply insert a line under the information. Examine your local newspaper to decide how to format your folio.
Choose at least one graphic for your article. For best results, use a photo. However, a piece of clip art will work for a fun project.
Frame the graphic or photo with a border. A black hairline border looks professional, but novelty borders can achieve a fun effect.
Insert an unframed text box under the photo for a caption.
Use a different font and boldface type for the caption. Captions should be one or two sentences, and are followed by a photo credit.
Create an ad for your page. This is optional, but will add a special twist. Newspaper profits come almost entirely from ads, so virtually every page features an ad. It is best to create your ad in a graphics program and then paste it into your story.
Tips and warnings
- News articles are written differently than regular English composition. Instead of an introduction, they begin with a lead -- a one-or-two-sentence paragraph that tells the entire story in 20 words or fewer.
- After the lead, details are arranged in order of most important to least important.
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