How To Write A Breaking News Story With Examples

A breaking news story is a piece of journalism that’s being written from the field as it happens. It’s quick, urgent, and important and you probably see it every day in your social feed or on the local news. But how do you write one? What does it take to become a breaking news reporter? 

And where do these stories come from anyway? In this post, we’ll answer all those questions so that when the next big thing happens in your city (or even neighborhood), you’ll know exactly how to cover it.

7 Steps How to Write NEWS Story | Writing Practices – YouTube
Writing a breaking news story requires precision and skill.
Master the art of news writing by following our comprehensive guide.
Learn from real-life examples to deliver impactful news to your audience.
Keep readers engaged with compelling headlines and clear language.
Emphasize the inverted pyramid structure for effective storytelling.
Ensure objectivity by presenting facts impartially and avoiding bias.
Source information from credible and reliable sources.
Make your news stories newsworthy by focusing on timeliness and relevance.
Engage readers with powerful quotes and relevant visuals.
Craft strong narratives that connect with the interests and emotions of your audience.

What Is Breaking News?

Breaking news is a story that is happening right now. It’s often defined by the immediacy of the story or, as we’ll see later on in this piece, by its importance.

It’s usually characterized by a sudden development and very fresh details often before they’ve been confirmed or properly verified. Breaking news stories can sometimes be more important than others (like the one about an earthquake or terrorist attack), but they’re not always so dramatic. 

Sometimes they’re just stories that have happened recently and are still being reported on as they unfold: perhaps someone has just won an award, or maybe someone has been arrested for murder!

Writing a breaking news story requires precision and skill. If you want to master the art of news writing, check out our comprehensive guide on how to write a breaking news story with examples to get started and deliver impactful news to your audience.

Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is an essential part of writing a news story. You have to know what they want to read, watch, or listen to give them something they’ll enjoy reading.

You also need to know how much information they want and how much detail they’re looking for. This can vary depending on the platform you’re writing for and what kind of publication it is (a blog post versus a news article on CNN).

If you’re writing for a local newspaper, then people are probably looking for more details about events in their community than if you were writing about something that happened overseas or in another state/province/country.

Research And Communicate Like A Journalist

As a journalist, it’s your job to report accurate information. You’ll need to research the facts and get quotes from experts, witnesses, and the police. 

Try to include statements from victims (if they are willing), suspects (if they’re available), and family members if possible. Friends of victims or suspects may also have valuable insight into what happened. 

If you know any coworkers or people who knew them well at work or school, try asking them questions about the victim’s behavior before their death (or arrest).

Photojournalism plays a crucial role in storytelling. Improve your photojournalism skills with these 13 photo journalism tips to capture powerful images that convey the essence of your news stories.

Set The Scene

Every story has a setting, so it’s important to establish the scene and set the stage for your readers.

You can use the five Ws of journalism who, what, where, when, and why to do this. For example: “It was a sunny day in June when Sally Jones celebrated her 18th birthday with her friends.”

After writing that sentence you would think about what mood or tone you want to convey. Is it going to be happy? Sad? Perhaps angry? 

Whatever it is, write down how you want your reader to feel at that time. For example: “Sally Jones smiled as she blew out her candles on her birthday cake; she had been waiting all day to do that.”

Once you’ve established both place and mood/tone (i.e., written out “it was a sunny day” and “Sally Jones smiled”), ask yourself who else needs to be mentioned for them to understand what’s happening in this scene better…what characters are there beside Sally herself? 

What about another character whose presence will affect what happens next in this scene (i.e., antagonist)? This step alone can help get ideas flowing!

Write News As It Happens

When you write breaking news stories for your readers, it’s important to do so quickly. However, this does not mean that you should rush through the story or write it without thinking about what you’re writing. 

The most important thing is to focus on the facts and provide them in an organized manner.

In other words, if there was a bomb scare at an airport yesterday and now today there’s a fire at one of the terminals? Then you want to let us know all of those things while providing enough context so that we understand what’s happening right now.

Follow The 5 Ws Of Journalism, But Be Prepared To Adapt

As a journalist, it’s important to be familiar with the 5 Ws of journalism. This means you should always write down who, what, when, where, why, and how in your story. But this doesn’t mean you can’t change them around as needed for your situation.

You should also include quotes from experts who can shed more light on the topic at hand. For example: “The company is trying to get ahead of any potential issues before they happen.”

And finally, always start with the inverted pyramid structure when writing news stories. The inverted pyramid structure will help you organize all information so that readers can quickly navigate through it without having to read everything from beginning to end first!

Crafting high-quality news articles is essential for engaging readers. Enhance your news writing with these 15 tips for writing high-quality news articles and keep your audience informed and captivated.

Stay Organized And Don’t Panic

A breaking news story is a lot of pressure, but it’s also an exciting opportunity to show your skills as a journalist. You should treat it the same way you would any other assignment: with professionalism and care.

Don’t panic. This is probably the most important piece of advice on this list. 

A calm, collected demeanor will help you communicate more effectively with sources and write better copy and if things get out of hand (like when police start shooting tear gas at reporters), staying calm can save lives!

Remember that there are many steps before getting to the final draft and even then, there may be more work to do once it’s published online or in print form due to errors found by editors at some point during the process (which happens more often than we’d like).

Writing news stories that resonate with millions requires effective strategies. Uncover the secrets of successful news stories in our guide on writing great news stories and captivate your audience with compelling narratives.

Closing Thoughts On Breaking News Stories

The key to writing a good breaking news story is to follow the 5 Ws of journalism. When writing your breaking news story, you should always ask yourself:

  • Who?
  • What?
  • When?
  • Where? And
  • Why? 

In addition, you should be prepared to adapt. You may not know all of the information in advance but if you keep asking questions and speaking with people who do have that information then they will give it to you. 

This is why it’s so important for journalists to network! 

Also, don’t panic! It can be scary when something unexpected happens but remember that everything will calm down once everyone has been evacuated from the scene of an accident or natural disaster has passed through town without causing any damage whatsoever. 

Finally, don’t be afraid to seek help! If someone offers advice or assistance I would strongly encourage taking advantage immediately because we all need each other every day to thrive socially; this also includes those times when it’s most stressful (such as during disasters).

Ever wondered how journalists write their articles? Discover the process behind it in our expert overview on how a journalist writes an article and gain insights into the world of professional news writing.


Breaking news stories can be challenging, but they’re also a lot of fun. You get to use all your journalistic skills to figure out the best way to tell a story quickly. 

The most important thing is to focus on accuracy and speed and don’t forget that breaking news stories are just one type of journalism! 

If you want more practice with this kind of writing, check out our other guides for learning how to write for different audiences, or contact us at [email protected] if you have any questions about this post or need help getting started on your own breaking news story.

Further Reading

How to Write a News Story: Learn valuable tips and techniques for crafting compelling news stories that grab readers’ attention.

Example News Story from Imperial College London: Explore a real-life example of a well-written news story from Imperial College London, showcasing effective communication of research findings.

Writing a Good Online News Story: Discover the essentials of writing engaging online news stories that resonate with digital audiences.


How do I structure a news story effectively?

A well-structured news story typically follows the inverted pyramid style, with the most important information presented first, followed by additional details in descending order of importance.

What makes a news story newsworthy?

A newsworthy story usually involves factors such as timeliness, relevance to the audience, significance, human interest, proximity, and the unusual or unexpected.

How do I maintain objectivity in news reporting?

Maintaining objectivity involves presenting facts impartially, avoiding personal bias or opinions, and ensuring a fair representation of different perspectives.

What is the best way to source information for a news story?

As a news writer, it’s essential to rely on credible sources such as official statements, expert interviews, official documents, and reputable news outlets.

How can I make my news story engaging for readers?

Engage your readers by using a compelling headline, clear and concise language, impactful quotes, relevant visuals, and a strong narrative that connects with their interests and emotions.