3min Writing Tips: Producing Stories for the News

3min Writing Tips: Producing Stories for the News

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Janet WeinsteinTamar Levi interviews Janet Weinstein on the craft of writing for the news.

A freelance journalist working in Washington DC for the BBC and the Associated Press (AP), Janet Weinstein shares top writing tips in 3 minutes flat.

T: How do you choose the angle?

Each editor has a vision of what they want reported based on their target audience. For AP Horizons, it’s  the lighter stories that AP News doesn’t have time to produce. For BBC Magazine, it’s more about creating a short film that makes the viewer think.

I bring a notebook with me everywhere I go in case I see something that could fit either genre. Day-to-day life seems is the easiest form of inspiration!

T: What writing challenges do you face?

I always, always, ALWAYS have trouble finishing a piece. For AP Horizons, it’s best to end on something witty and tongue-in-cheek. Usually by the end of a script, my brain is too fried to think of clever alliterations.

T: What tips on writing for television news?

I always finish the video edit first, then write out the script after (journalists can do it in either order). Then, I try and watch the video all the way through while imagining it being on television – what would the anchor say? What would make sense? I also keep a diligent log of things I learned from the shoot – how long has the subject done such and such? Why? I try to answer all those questions in an anchor’s pace. A couple read-throughs out loud always help.

T: What tips on writing for print news?

In my opinion, quotes and anecdotes make or break a piece. The more sources and personal narratives, the better.

T: What writing advice might you give to early career journalists?

No story is EVER too trivial. The general public need a platform to speak – that’s why journalism started. If you’re enthusiastic about your interviews, higher ups will see that and will trust you to be that passionate with other stories. Write each piece as if it’s the biggest news scoop of the century.

Watch and read Janet Weinstein’s stories here.


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Non-Fiction Writing
Tamar Levi
Writing for the news Freelance Janet Weinstein News Online News Print News Producer Television News AAP The Associated Press AP Horizons TV BBC Washington DC BBC Magazine Creative Writing
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Alaskan raised, Cornish-Jewish, Belgium-based author and illustrator Tamar Levi has spent her life triangulated between desk, bookshelf and easel.Beginning by writing and illustrating whilst studying in London and Cambridge, Tamar also consulted for a leading multinational company. She's now come full circle, back to where she belongs, writing and illustrating again.


Send me your message using Contact form. Alternatively you can email me on tamarmagan[at]gmail.com.