As the name suggests, a news brief is a brief news story; a tidbit that highlights the news. Typically, a news brief is printed in a newspaper, though it can also be found on digital versions of newspapers, on a news-based website, or on any other news source that can be found on the Internet. A news brief can also be read aloud by broadcasters on television or on the radio. In this article, we provide an overview of the news brief.
News briefs are a condensed version of the news. Their purpose is to provide a snapshot or an introduction to a news story. The purpose of a news brief is to share newsworthy information in a thorough, yet quick and efficient manner.
Standard news articles are longer, typically between 300 and 700 words in length, while a news brief is shorter, usually 100 words or less. The contents of a brief is broken down into two or three short yet concise paragraphs with the aim of communicating a news story in a shorter amount of time than a standard news article.
News Briefs and the Five Ws (and One H)
A news brief should be written in a way that it answers the five Ws and one H:
- The who
- The what
- The when
- The where
- The why
- The how
For instance, if the intention of a news brief is to announce the opening of a new hotel, the story should include:
- What the hotel is
- Who is opening the hotel and who is invited to the opening
- There the hotel is opening up
- When the opening will occur
- Why the opening of the hotel is important
- How the opening will occur
These elements should be addressed in the introduction of the news brief, as close to the introduction of the story as possible.
The Inverted Pyramid Structure
Most forms of news writing use a structure that is known as the inverted pyramid, including the news brief. However, in a news brief, the inverted pyramid is more condensed than it would be in a longer news story.
As the name indicates, an inverted pyramid is a pyramid that has been turned upside down. This is the structure that a news brief should be present the information it is aiming to supply. In an inverted pyramid, the structure is as follows:
- The most pertinent information is presented first
- The details of lesser importance – those details that offer extra information, but aren’t critical – are closer to the end of the story.
When a news brief is written using the inverted pyramid structure, should a newspaper not have enough space to print the entire brief, the bottom portion of the story can be eliminated and the most important information will still remain. Therefore, the most vital information is not lost.
The “Nut Graph”
The “nut graph” is comprised of additional details and information that supports the main message of the brief. When writing these paragraphs, an author should think about the reason why the news brief topic may be interesting or of importance and offer quotes from statistics, sources or various other forms of supporting evidence in order to highlight the importance of the message that the brief is aiming to share.
Template for a News Brief
A sample template for a news brief is as follows:
- First paragraph. A single sentence opening paragraphs that summarizes the most important information.
- Second paragraph. A direct quote from a source that is responsible for the news, or a source that is affected by the news. Try incorporating background information about the speaker.
- Third paragraph. Offer new or background information that supports the lead paragraph. This paragraph should be no longer than three sentences.
Other important rules associated with a news brief include:
- It should not contain promotions or opinions
- It must feature a quotation; a direct quote is preferable.
- Information should be factual and to the point