Generating Article Ideas
Analyze publications you enjoy reading.
There is a famous quote from Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu in his book The Art of War that goes, “To know your enemy, you must become your enemy.” How can you even say that you would want to work in a magazine publishing company when you yourself do not even know the first thing to even writing one? Now, each person has their own unique writing style. Some may be more well-versed in writing the news, while there are some who are meant to write stories, and there are others who may be suited in writing speeches, or even scholarly articles. There is no right or wrong in article writing. But there are some techniques that you can follow in order to enhance your writing skills better.
Just like reading your favorite book or watching your favorite movie, we all have our own favorite personalities, which is solely the reason why we liked them in the first place. Whether it is the author’s writing style or the director’s directing skills that you love, carefully analyze on how they execute it and gather some ideas that you yourself can apply in your own movie or book or article the next time around. Getting inspiration or insights from them does not mean you have to end up copying them entirely. Otherwise, that would just become a form of plagiarism. Even the best of writers and directors often get their inspiration from somewhere or someone else. You may also see some examples on how to write articles
Consider recent trends or topics you talked about with a friend or peer.
There is a very simple reason as to why it is called news and is written and published on a daily basis. Unless the world came to a standstill where nobody ends up doing anything whatsoever, then the newspaper industry will always have something to write about. As mentioned before, news tends to engage citizens into more meaningful discourse as it is talks about society’s happenings. Even magazines have the power to do so as long as the issues are still considered relevant in today’s time. Sometimes, the topics are not given to you. You have to find out what topics or stories you think deserves to be in the magazine. Walk around. Browse your social media accounts and check what interesting topics have made the rounds online. You may also see formal letter
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Look up upcoming events in your area.
If there is an event happening sometime soon or you perhaps want to focus on the local arts scene that has always been overlooked, you can try tapping into that as a newsworthy topic. But should you ever be assigned to cover a certain event however, you are expected to give it all your all for the sake of your readers. One tip would be to go through your local newspaper for human interest stories that may have national relevance. You could then take that story and pitch it as an idea for your article as the possibility of coming across a local story that feels incomplete or full of unanswered questions is high. This could then act as a story idea for a magazine article. You may also see memo writing
Consider what other writers are publishing.
Every morning, the editors and the higher-ups of newspaper companies would buy the different local newspapers and try to compare and contrast on what the others have prioritized or covered intensely over the other. It is more or less the same situation in the magazine business. They would normally compare the content of their competitors and from that they begin to conduct their own analysis and see what improvements they can work on for the next printed or digital issue. As mentioned before, you should not only constrain yourself by only exploring a limited number of topics of your own convenience. But oftentimes, the best topics are the ones that reporters and journalists would go great lengths to cover that particular story. Covering a serious and extremely newsworthy issue would take a considerable amount of time and resources to do so, which as a result would make a very interesting read and article for the public to do something about it. You may also check out writing examples
Think of a new angle on a familiar topic.
Just because a certain issue has already been covered by the news does not mean it is considered irrelevant afterward.
One of the best examples would be the priest scandal that was covered in the movie Spotlight. Before the new editor-in-chief took over for The Boston Globe, a newspaper report about a certain priest who was accused of raping a child never received a follow-up article after that. Over time, the issue was eventually buried thinking that the rape issue was already resolved when the Catholic Church decided to transfer the said priest to another parish. It was later when they discovered that the issue was much bigger and much deeper than it seems when the Spotlight team conducted their own research on the link between the raped victims, the priests behind them, and the lawyers who covered for them. In the article they have written, they have not only indicated the statistics of rape among the priests and their survivors, but also mentioned on how it has become a phenomenon as they often target a particular kind of victim and how the system deep down in the Catholic Church is corrupt when the cardinal knew of this and just let it slide like that.
It is the trick on how you get an issue that has been previously reported before and turn it into something fresh and new that the public never even knew about it, which makes an issue worth digging through and newsworthy. You may also see 5-minute writing examples
Research your article idea using sources like books and published texts.
Now that you have an idea on what your tentative article might be, it is high time for you to conduct some research on your end. Conducting research is what separates your article from landing in the opinion section. If you are writing about a certain politician and all you have to back it up are the opinions and comments about what other people say about him without substantial basis whatsoever, you will just end up sounding idiotic and stupid in your article as you will be judged by the readers and the editors themselves based on facts and accurate data.
Although Google is known to be a very powerful search engine, it would actually help if you made use of scholarly articles and documentaries and other forms of literature as your sources since it adds to the credibility to the article you are writing. Keep in mind to avoid plagiarism at all costs, otherwise you might just end up getting a lawsuit from someone you do not want to be messing with. You may also see application writing examples.
Locate individuals who could be good sources.
After you are through researching, the next thing to do would be to look for good and credible sources who could share their insights, their thoughts, their feelings, their hopes and dreams on a certain issue. Try reaching out to as many sources as you can since you will never know who might actually be available for interview. But if the possibility of interviewing someone of a high position is present and available, go for it as not every person who works for that certain company has the background information you might need or require for your article. Because at the end of the day, you cannot really guarantee that you will be able to use all of them. At most, 2 to 3 sources are sufficient enough for magazine articles. You may also see formal writing
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Interview your sources.
Once you have already confirmed on who your sources are going to be, the next part would be to set an interview with them. For magazine publications, a face-to-face interview is always the best form of interview there is. But if it could not be avoided, you can always settle for a recorded phone call interview or even an interview through Skype. The only downside to that would be that you would not be able to insert or include other related content during this interview which is helpful when adding it online to your website or through your social media account, which attracts more viewers that way. You would have to set up an appointment with your sources beforehand in order to find out whether they can spare the time for your interview or not. You may also see essay writing
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Transcribe your interviews.
Now that you have finished interviewing your sources, you can start transcribing your interviews. Even in magazines, it would be wise to remember that not everything is going to be utilized as the point of an interview is to highlight only the main points that seem to be the most striking and most meaningful that the public would want to know. If your source would happen to speak in anything other than the vernacular that you are using for the magazine, it would be best to get a translator who can help you translate whatever the source says to the language you need to write it on. The risky part about this is that sometimes the true meaning of the word gets lost in the translation process. Try your best to make the transcribed interview as brief and as relevant as possible. You may also see examples on how to create emails
Create an article outline.
Before you dive into writing the article, you should set aside some time to create an outline. Read over your research, including your interview notes. Highlight any good quotes from your sources and key pieces of information from your research. You can then lean on these to create the article outline. You may also check out free writing examples
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Use a hook first line.
A strong magazine article will draw a reader in and hook them from the first line. In fact, the lead paragraph of your article is considered the most important paragraph in your entire article. You can generate a hook first line to engage and inspire your readers in several different ways. You may also see reflective writing
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Weave in quotes from experts or reliable sources.
In news articles, weaving in quotes from your sources are also said to add spice and color to a report as it is not just purely data and facts alone. Quotes also give the opportunity to let the public know his or her stance on the said issue. Without quotes from your sources, no one would actually want to take the time to read your article unless if it is a PR article. You may notice that every article in a magazine or a newspaper, no matter how short, has a quote to add substance. If you want to know on how to write a simple and basic report, you may also check out 50+ report examples
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End on a strong concluding statement that illuminates or expands on your article topic.
Have you heard of the phrase “Start strong, and end strong”? That applies to every article ever written by journalists and reporters. You would want to to leave your readers more educated and more engaged by the time they finish your article. Leave your readers thinking that would eventually make them care about the issue which enables them to do something about it. You may also see some examples of writing templates
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