As important as the editing process is in a newspaper, there is only so much you can do to improve the material people submit – especially in a student newspaper. Here are a few tips for making that material better.
1. Write for your audience
If you’re writing for a highschool newspaper, it won’t only be your fellow band, video production, art, or photography students who read what you write. Not all of them will be in your history class, or be taking chemistry. It is therefore important to avoid technical jargon and to write what is interesting to people without your background in the subject. For example, plenty of people would read about the Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording), but significantly fewer would be interested in an in-depth analysis of the orchestration.
2. Show all sides
This is especially important when you’re writing about a current issue or event, such as a political campaign. Even if you are firmly in favor of one side of an argument, you still need to present the pros and cons of the others. For example, if you were covering the recent Manitoban provincial election, you could be completely in favor of the NDP, but you still need to present what the Conservative and Liberal parties are promising.
3. Stay respectful
This one ties into number 2. Whatever opinions you may be expressing, your article needs to be respectful towards every element of the topic. Even if it is humorous, avoid polking fun at sensitive topics and stay respectful of everyone.
4. Watch your grammar, spelling, style, etc.
This one might seem obvious, and the editor fix mistakes to a certain extent, but it still deserves a mention. The better your writing is, the more people will take it seriously. Awkward or repetetive sentence structure can distract them from what you’re trying to say, and mistakes can change what they think of the arguments your making, so re-read what you write and improve it.
5. Play to your strengths
This encompasses a few things, including to write about what you’re interested in, and to write in a style that works for you. It’s a bunch easier to make your readers interested in what you’re saying if it’s something that interests you. Also, everyone has their own writing voice, so find what works for you.