The following five rules of journalism offer RAFTS to the sinking student, and were adapted from The Elements of News Writingby James W. Kershner (Allyn & Bacon, 2005).
1. Remember the basics
Tell the reader who, what, where, when, why and how. Use standard English spelling, punctuation and grammar.
2. Accuracy, accuracy, accuracy!
Joseph Pulitzer's three rules of journalism hold true today. Make sure you get it right. Facts, figures and spellings must be accurate.
3. Find your focus
What's the story? What's the point? If you can't say it in 25 words or less, you probably haven't found your focus.
4. Think short
Use short words in short sentences in short paragraphs in short articles.
5. Strive to be objective
Don't let your opinions or those of the sources get in the way of a straight, objective story. Remember, your main obligation is to the reader, who wants the unvarnished truth. Write what the reader wants to know, which is not necessarily what the source wants to say.
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UAM Student Publications 2005
Revised 082012 http://www.uamont.edu/Organizations/TheVoice/sm/rafts.htm