Teacher Resources: Activity - Writing concisely (15 mins)

This activity will help you develop your own concise news writing style by replicating what BBC online journalists have to do every day.

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Journalists writing for the BBC News or BBC Sport websites have to be able to write very concisely because their stories also appear on the Red Button text services, which are usually just four paragraphs long.

So the stories have to sum up all the important facts - the 5 W's - in four paragraphs (before expanding on them for the websites).

In some stories - especially politically sensitive ones - you would also need to reflect both sides of the argument as well.

That means every word counts.

Cont. below

This is the same story on the BBC Sport website and the Red Button text service This is the same story on the BBC Sport website and the Red Button - but the Red Button text service has only four paragraphs to tell the story, while the website goes on to expand on its report

Find a story that interests you in a newspaper, magazine or other reliable source and try to tell the whole story in four paragraphs, which equates to about 80 words.

What kind of information do you have to cut out? What do you notice about the language you use?

This is a useful discipline to have in journalism. Try sticking to it if you are going to write text-based online reports - it really helps keep your stories engaging for the reader. And you can always go into more detail after telling the key points.

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