Format for writing a Newspaper Article


Newspaper article are included in Paper 1, Section 1-Directed Writing for O-level English Language Paper. It carries 30 marks and the word count must be restricted to 300 words.

Format of a Newspaper Article

  •  Heading:

A very catchy headline relevant to the information should be added at the start which you intent to discuss.

  • Beginning:

The first sentence of the article has to be striking. It should instantly engage the reader’s attention. This is important to arouse the interest about the topic especially if your article is argumentative in nature. The first sentence may also anchor your opinion. Some effective openings could be as follows:

    • A provocative statement (Drinking can help boost your imagination),
    • Quotation (pen is mightier than sword),
    • A direct question (How do you feel the virtual reality over shadowing your children’s imaginative faculties?),
    • An unexpected claim (Technology is making humans more primitive),
    • A succinct summary of a situation (Global warming is responsible for most of the earth environmental problems)


  • Introduction:

Once the attention is grabbed the writer introduces the real purpose of the topic beginning with some general ideas relevant to his topic. And gradually broadens his theme. The beginning acts as a funnel starting from general to particular ideas of the topic.

  • Body:

The writer should broaden his point through adding illustrations and examples to compare and collate certain points.

The body should be nicely paragraphed. Each paragraph must begin with an effective topic sentence or a thesis statement that would engage the reader with the forthcoming information.

All paragraphs must be linked with transition words.

  • Ending:

Don’t end randomly. Try to avoid such obvious expression as In conclusion or To sum up. To conclude effectively, you might

ü  Refer back to an opening statement

ü  Look into the future

ü  Suggest a new angle

ü  Make an original observation

ü  Make a short definitive statement

ü  Quote a famous saying

ü  Make a humorous comment

  • Subheadings:

Subheadings are added to break the article up and highlight some important things (facts, examples, quotes, proverbs e.t.c) which the writer wants the  readers find in the article.

Simple, compound and Complex sentences are used in newspaper articles. There is a variation in using different sentence structures so as to avoid monotony in style. This helps in keeping the reader’s interest intact.

Read more about ‘Newspaper Article Writing’

Newspaper Article

Newspaper Article

Newspaper article is included in Paper 1, Section 1-Directed Writing for O-level English Language Paper. It carries 30 marks and the word count is

Newspaper Article

Newspaper Article

restricted to 300 words.

1.      These should not be confused with Newspaper Reports or with School Magazine Articles.

2.     Difference between Newspaper Article and Newspaper Reports:

  • The aim of newspaper article is to comment on a topical situation whereas a newspaper report aims to inform the reader about a situation.
  • Newspaper articles are discursive or argumentative in nature. That means the writer is expected to argue or present his views on a certain topic in a logical way.
  • The sentences are longer and complex in structure in a newspaper article contrastively as the writer may compare and collate certain points through illustrations and examples.
  • The facts presented in a newspaper article are expressed in a less condense manner unlike the way written in a newspaper report.
  • For example: in a newspaper article you might write that Margret Smith, who is in her mid-thirties, has two children, and used to be a teacher in a junior school, believes that…

Whereas in a newspaper report it will be written to the point such as 36-year old ex-schoolteacher and mother of two, Margret Smith, says…

3.     The Use of Pronouns.

The use of ‘I’, ‘We’ and ‘You’ in the article to show a relationship with the reader; the writer may use these pronouns to make a direct appeal about his personal references or view-points. However, such pronouns should be used sparingly otherwise instead of creating a relationship with the reader an overuse of pronouns will make the article sound highly personal. Therefore, a balance could be formed by citing facts, statistics and dates which will give an impression of knowledge and objectivity.

4.     Types of Newspaper Articles.

  • Newspaper articles can be non-fiction informative based on historical or scientific topics. These should be written in a formal style containing passive verbs, complex sentences and technical/sophisticated vocabulary, all contributing to the impression that the writer is mature, knowledgeable who has a command on the subject and the information provided is completely factual and unbiased. The words should be carefully used keeping in mind that the article is also read by general audience.


Words,Phrases and sentences for Letter of Advice


forethought  precaution  suitable  - consult  guidelines  desirable  rational 
Advantageous  advisable  principle  advocate  useful  appropriate-  valuable 
counsel guidance urge  debate prudent  insight  instructions 
reasonable warn apt direction recommend Open-minded weigh
beneficial encourage careful examine opinion resource wisdom
worthwhile caution expedient persuade sensible consider fitting
practical study


alert you to the possibility  look into  as I understand  it might want to  backseat driver  piece of advice 
compare notes so far as I know  consider carefully  speak for  I am convinced that  take care of 
I don’t like to interfere,  but take into account  I feel/assume/presume/think  I have the impression that  take it amiss/the wrong way  take to heart 
if you don’t mind  think about  in my estimation/judgment/ think through  opinion/view  to my way of thinking  I noticed that 
to the best of my knowledge  I take it that  weigh both courses of action it seems to me  what you could do  whether you take my advice or not
already thought of    just wanted to suggest/recommend  keep a lookout for/an eye on  kick around this idea  this, but 


  • Although I liked what you wrote about switching your major from Physics to Astronomy, I have a suggestion you might want to consider.
  • Do you have any advice about how I can raise morale in the school?
  • Ever since you asked my opinion about the Middlemarch line, I’ve been mulling over the situation, weighing the benefits against the rather considerable cost.
  • I don’t usually give unsolicited advice, but this seems to me to be a special case.
  • I hope this is the sort of advice you wanted.
  • I am considering a switch from the technical to the management ladder—do you have any wise, helpful words for me?
  • I’m writing to you for advice.
  • I thought I should mention this.
  • I took your excellent advice and I’m grateful.
  • I will appreciate any comments or advice you would care to give.
  • I would be grateful for your frank opinion about our registering Jermyn for kindergarten this year (he won’t be five yet) instead of waiting another year.
  • I wouldn’t ordinarily presume to tell you your business, but I’m concerned.
  • Thank you for your unerring advice about our hot rolling equipment—we’re back on schedule.
  • There is one thing you might want to consider.
  • We are unable to take your advice just now, but we’re grateful to you for thinking of us.
  • Would you be willing to tell me quite frankly and confidentially what you think about my interpersonal skills.
  • You asked for my opinion about switching service providers—here it is.
  • You must, of course, use your own judgment, but I would suggest this.
  • Your counsel and advice have meant a great deal to me.
  • Your idea is excellent and I may regret not going that route, but I’m going to try something else first.
  • You were kind enough to ask my advice about opting O-level —this is what I think.

Also view posts for ”Some  phrases, sentences and paragraphs for letter to the editor’,Format for Letter to Editor’,’Words, phrases and sentences for friendly/informal letters’Quick tips for letter writing’,’CIE examiners’ concern regarding the format of letter writing’,”More topics for letter writing’ and O-level Teachers’ resource for formal letter writing’

Some phrases, sentences and paragraphs for Letter to the Editor

Some useful phrases to include in the letter

  • after reading your Sept. 29 article on
  • cartoonist Harris Mehboob should be aware that
  • an affront to those of us who
  • did a slow burn when I read difference of opinion
  • how can anyone state, as did Lala Zaidi (June 3), that fail to agree
  • I agree wholeheartedly with
  • I am horrified by the Ang. 11 report
  • I am one of the many “misguided” people who was outraged by
  • I am puzzled by the reference to the
  • I am writing on behalf of long-term effects of
  • I found the short story in your September issue to be
  • I disagree with the Reverend Prime Minister premise Feb. 7)
  • I must take issue with infuriating to see that
  • I really enjoyed who said
  • I take exception to the opinions expressed by
  • I strongly object in response to a July 3 letter writer
  • I was disturbed/incensed/ pleased/angry/disappointed to read that it seems to me letter writer Zulfiqar Bajwa’s suggestion (Aug. 9) was intriguing, but neglected to mention one side of the story
  • on the one hand/on the other hand point in dispute
  • read with great/considerable interest
  • presented a false picture
  • regarding Senator Sam Blundel’s new bill for the hearing-impaired recipe for disaster
  • the article on women in trades did much to
  • several letter writers have commented upon


  • A Dec. 9 writer is incorrect in saying that the Regional Transit Board was abolished several years ago; we are, in fact, alive and well.
  • I am writing to express my appreciation for your excellent coverage of City Council meetings on the local ground water issue.
  • I commend you for your Aug. 11 editorial on magnet schools.
  • I disagree with Elizabeth Saunders’ Apr. 5 column on city-supported recycling.
  • I look forward to seeing a published retraction of the incorrect information given in this article.
  • In Daily Dawn Dec. 9 column on the living will, she uses statistics that have long since been discredited.
  • In his December 1 Counterpoint, “Tax Breaks for the Rich,” Gerald Tetley suggests that out of fear of giving the rich a break, we are actually cutting off our noses to spite our face.
  • I was disappointed that not one of the dozens who wrote to complain about the hike in municipal sewer rates noticed that the rates are actually lower than they were ten years ago.
  • Many thanks for your unpopular but eminently sane editorial stand on gun control (July 2).
  • Please consider the cumulative effect of such legislation on our children.
  • Please do not drop Flora Lewis/Cal Thomas/Ellen Goodman/George Will from your editorial pages.
  • Several important factors were omitted from your Apr. 6 article on wide area telephone service.
  • The writer of the Mar. 16 letter against triple trailers seemed to have little factual understanding of semi-truck traffic and professional truck drivers.
  • Your Aug. 3 editorial on workers’ compensation overlooked a a crucial factor.
  • Your June 29 editorial on child care failed to mention one of the largest and most effective groups working on this issue.


  • Has anyone noticed that the city has become overrun with dogs in the last several years? Most of these dogs have no collars and run in packs of five to eight dogs. If I had small children, I’d worry when they played outdoors Where have these dogs come from? Whose problem is it? The city council’s? The health department’s? The police department’s?
  • Your story on the newest technology in today’s emergency rooms featured the views of hospital administrators, medical care-givers, and manufacturers’ representatives. Nowhere was a patient mentioned. Is overlooking the patient also a feature of today’s emergency rooms? (If it is, it’s not new.)
  •  To those of you who have been expressing yourself in these pages about the presence of wild geese in the city parks: Hello! A park is supposed to be natural. It is not meant to be as clean as your kitchen floor.
  •  It has messy leaves and gravel and bugs and, yes, goose grease. If you can’t handle nature in the raw, there’s always your back yard.
  •  Count at least six women (the undersigned) who were outraged at your “news story” on the recently appointed Episcopalian bishop for our area. You devoted several lines early on in the story (thus implying their relative importance) to Ms. Dinah Morris’s clothes, hairstyle, and even the color of her fingernail polish. Do you do this for new male bishops?
  •  There was an error in your otherwise excellent article about the Lamprey Brothers Moving and Storage. In addition to brothers Henry, Colin, and Stephen (whom you mentioned), there is also brother Michael, a full partner.
  •  A flurry of letter writers urges us to rally against the proposed congressional pay raise. I wonder if they understand the protection that such a raise would give us against special interest groups. Let’s give this one a closer look. It may actually be a sheep in wolf’s clothing.
  •  I commend Meg Bishop for the use of “people first” language in her Jan. 2 column. By using expressions such as “people with severe disabilities” rather than “the severely disabled” and “people with quadriplegia” rather than “quadriplegics,” Bishop helps change the way society views people with disabilities.

Also view my posts for ‘Format for letter to editor’,’Quick tips for letter writing’,’CIE examiners’ concern regarding the format of letter writing’,”More topics for letter writing’


Format for the ‘Letter to Editor’

When do you write a letter to an Editor?

You write a Letter to the Editor, when:

• you agree or disagree with a story, article, news item, editorial stance, or other letter writer

• you have an opinion about a topic of current national or local interest

• you want to correct published information

• you want to reach a large number of people with information that you think would interest them

How to begin?

Before you begin remember that you are writing to a person you do not know. In the first sentence, refer to the issue that prompted your letter. (Remember! Here you will have to assume about a situation given to you by your examiner in the question) e.g. (“the Nov. 1 editorial opposing a new hockey arena”). This is to prepare the readers immediately of what you’re talking about or what the letter refers to.

• State your position whether you agree or disagree. (“I agree with,” “I oppose,” “I question”).

• Briefly support, defend, or explain your position. Letters to the editors are expected to be trimmed and to the point. Moreover, it is requisite in the directed writing section that the word limit should not be exceeded. Thus, do not exceed the word limit and aim to write up to 300 words otherwise your marks will be deducted.

Body of the letter

• Instead of rambling about your feelings or personal impressions include facts (statistics, studies, articles, items of record, quotes). Mention some specific knowledge connected with an issue. This  will make the reader know how focused you are about the issue and would further support your argument or opinion. Do not forget to mention if there is any action you want readers to take (form neighborhood block watches, call legislators, boycott a product, sign a petition, stop littering..

Closing of the Letter

• Close with a startling, memorable, or powerful sentence, if possible— something that makes the reader want to go back and read your letter again.

• Give your first and last name, or at least two initials and a last name, address, and daytime phone number. (See the Cie examiners’ concern for the format of letter writing)  Sign your name. Because letters to editors must close with a signature as almost all publications insist on this.

Things that you should NOT write and say.

• Don’t begin your letter with, “You won’t dare print this letter.” (I have often come across students using such threatening remarks in their letters which do not show wit on the writer’s part. Such sentences convey a message of rudeness.Also view post for Quick Tips for Letter Writing’

• Avoid whining (“It’s not fair,” “It always happens to me”). It does not make interesting reading.

• Don’t continue to brag about your acts or the organization you are associated

• Avoid half-truths or inaccuracies. At times you would be writing on an assumed issue. In that case you will also have to assume certain facts to support your statement. Hence, the examples or stats should be intelligently cited so that they should gel harmoniously well with your stance. Letters are subject to editing for length, libel, good taste, newspaper style, and accuracy.

• Don’t write anything that can be proved malicious (even if it’s true) and you want to be very vocal about the issue but in letters to editors anything libelous are not published

• Don’t use threats, bullying language, pejorative adjectives (“stupid,” “ridiculous,” “redneck,” “bleeding heart liberal”), or stereotypes (“what can you expect from a lawyer,” “labour unions have always looked out for themselves first,” “another anti-male feminist”). Generally such sentences are very moving because certain readers could empathise your sentiments. Most, however, will see, quite properly, that such language indicates a weak argument. Margaret Thatcher once said, “I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.”

• Don’t end your letter with “Think about it!” If a letter is written to an editor on a certain issue and such letters are written with an intention to be published so the implication is pretty obvious that the reader wants the people to think about it. Be polite, factual, firm. Offer to supply correct data, proofs of your assertion, and phone numbers to call for verification.

• Do not get carried away with polite words and sentences because “nice” letters don’t often get published; this kind of letter needs an extra dash of humor, wit, or colour.

Also view posts for “More topics for letter writing,’Classroom activity for formal  letter writing,Topics for letter writing’ and ‘Teachers’ resource for letter writing’


Quick tips for Letter Writing

  • If you do not know the person you are writing to,then?

Such letters are formal or an official letters in nature that begin with Dear Sir/Sirs where the sender does not (personally) know the person who he is writing to, or he/she is unaware of the recipient’s name. In such examples always end your letter signing off with ‘Yours faithfully’

  • Writing a formal letter but you know the person.

When you know a person use titles in your salutation, for example, Dear Mr Roger/Ms Park or Dr. Ami.  This is done when you write a formal letter to someone you (formally) know or whose name you are given by the examiner. Use this kind of salutation for people you don’t know very well or where you need to show respect. Such letters are very commonly asked in O-level examination for instance,where students have to write a formal letter to a principal and such letters can begin in this way to show respect to his/her principal. These type of letters always end with ‘Kind regards’ or ‘Yours sincerely’.

  • What is the case in informal letters?

Write Dear Mary/Ishaq e.t.c when you know the person quite well. Such salutations are used in informal letters to a friend or a relative. In business letters this is sometimes acceptable, if in doubt, use the family name. End writing ‘Kind regards’ or ‘Best wishes’ or even as ’Lots of love’.

Source: Cambridge books for Cambridge Examination.

Check out other related posts of ‘Letter to an Editor’,’More topics for letter writing practice’,CIE Examiners’ concern for the ‘Format of letter writing,Class room activity for letter writing‘,’Teachers’ resource for letter writing’


More topics for Letter Writing practice

A Foreword!

During preparation of CIE O-level English Language subject, O-level teachers and students generally opt for descriptive and narrative essays in section 2-paper 1. In this part the persuasive/argumentative essays and discursive essays are left out on choice.  I have seen there is a misconception among Asian teachers and students who think unimportant to know about argumentative and persuasive skills in their preparation of O-level English paper.

Remember! Whatsoever the case, the candidate will be asked to persuade, to argue or to inform in Directed Writing Section of paper 1 (1123)–letters, reports, leaflets and articles.

In this post you will find three types of letters: persuasive, argumentative and informative letters. It is not necessary that a piece of writing will have all the three elements of persuasion, information and arguments in it. Sometimes you may have to persuade along with arguing. And at times, a question may only demand an explanation and information on certain issues. Teachers should keep in mind that students should know all these techniques for Directed Writing section.

Q1       A group of parents has raised some money to finance an arts event such as Classical musical recitation by renowned musicians, Touring theatre group and Local poet in school for a day at your school. This will involve many productive workshops and competitive events. Imagine you are the Head of the Arts Faculty in your school. You have been asked to write to the chair of the parents’ group explaining which of these events you think would most benefit the education of the students.

Write about both sides in which you include

  • The reasons why you think all school arts events are desirable
  • Comments on all three possibilities
  • Your preference and the reasons for your choice.

Q2.      Imagine that you are a student council committee trying to raise money for a new facility for your school (e.g. a swimming pool, sports hall, computer room, theatre).

Write a letter to former students of your school to persuade them to donate money towards the project.

  • What do you know about the audience?
  • What emotions do you want them to feel towards the school?
  • What would be an appropriate tone and style to use in the letter?

Q3.      Imagine you recently stayed in the Hotel Continental for a fortnight with family or friends.

Write a letter of complaint to the travel agency, Pegasus Travel, which arranged your holiday at the hotel Continental. Persuade the manager to give you a refund or another holiday as compensation.

Your letter should include the problems you and your family faced during the stay:

  • Were all the facilities completed and adequate?
  • How would you describe the catering?
  • How was the bus service, the room service, the service generally?

Q4.      Write a letter to the editor of a local newspaper, giving your views on extreme sports after a recent tragic incident in your area. You may argue either that extreme sports should be allowed or that they should be banned.

You should discuss about

  • how would you define ‘extreme sports’ and attract a certain group of people ?
  • What hazards are caused by such kind of sports?
  • Discuss why is it dangerous and why should people avoid such type of sports?

Q5.      Write a letter to a friend about a sport you are fond of, either as a spectator or as a participant. Imagine he/she knows nothing about it. Include a brief explanation of the rules as well.

Q6.      Imagine that you and your friend went on the hang-sliding training course at Lookout Mountain and were not satisfied. Write a letter of complaint to the company and ask for your money back. Try to include

  • references to an advertisement that you read about the course in a newspaper.
  • describe your impression of the event
  • Give reasons why you think that the experience was not a satisfying one.

Q7.      Your school has arranged a trip to a theme park. Write a letter to parents who may be worried by this, explaining

  • why their children are more likely to enjoy the experience than not going to the park,
  • argue what learning and exploring benefits children will have along with entertainment,
  • also convince them why  children should often have such excursions.

Also see my post on more topics for letter writing, ‘CIE Examiners’ concern on the Format of Letter Writng, ‘Class room activity for formal Letter Writing, Teachers’ resource for Formal Letter Writing

Source: IGCSE First Language English, IGCSE English, Cambridge English Revision Guide.