Have you ever dreamt of interviewing a celebrity? Has your passion always been investigating the latest rumours around you? Are you looking for a space to express your thoughts freely and liberally? If that’s a yes to all the above, then why not join your university newspaper?
Though you might be apprehensive about that call to action, it would have sowed a small seed of interest in you. If that is true, here is Brig, the University of Stirling’s student newspaper, which can help you grow the pursuit into a passion for writing.
This year the newspaper is calling out for writers with fresh ideas and stories. This platform requires no prior experience or background in journalism, which is a great head start for those thinking of giving it a shot.
Although it’s not necessary to kick off with this, there are some requisites of news writing. For writing news, it is a good practice to prioritise information based on the inverted pyramid style, which is to answer the story’s 5Ws and 1H (What, Where, Why, Who, When, and How) in the first paragraph.
Once all the essential questions get their answers, the rest of the article can point out other background information. As a beginner’s guide, this blog suggests focusing on four broad categories of Brig newspaper: General News, Sports, Politics, and Culture or Entertainment.
As this is a university newspaper, your stories, in general, should mostly be related to students and the events taking place in the university. For example, university alumni receiving a prestigious award; students raising funds for charity, a study of social relevance taking place in the university; or opening of a new food outlet on the campus, etc. That does not strike out the possibility of covering other important national and world news.
Sir Richard Steele
Fire and swords are slow engines of destruction, compared to the tongue of a gossip
Besides such general news content, you can also dive into some investigative journalism. Brig’s news section carries out minor investigations into issues important to the lives of Stirling students. Many of us get concerned over the inadvertent spread of gossips or fake news on social media. That’s where people like you and me feel responsible for clearing the fuzz around those tales. So, this is the section where you investigate such stories and lay down the facts.
You don’t have to be a sportsperson or athlete to be a sports writer. If you are someone who is passionate enough about sports and has every minute update of the events surrounding it, this is the section to pen down those reader engaging updates.
It’s thrilling to break a story online and stir up a conversation. Imagine breaking big sports news for your university pals, such as Scotland qualifying for the EUROs after David Marshal’s stunning penalty save. Our sports reporters have managed to gain media access to many local sporting events. Writing for Brig’s sports section will open up many opportunities for you that you do not want to miss out.
Amidst the pandemic, there will be limited sporting events happening in the university until next year. But the reports on national and international sporting events do generate good traffic to the Brig website.
Politics is a broad topic to report on, but you can narrow it down to what you think is socially relevant. However, you have to make sure that the reporting is unbiased or not inclined to the left and right of politics. It is beneficial for beginners to follow the inverted pyramid style while reporting on politics, to adapt the skills of ethical and proficient writing in journalism.
Political reporting is all about stating the facts the way it is. Politicians or people involved in it are known for making exaggerating or sensational statements. Your job is to describe the outcomes of the story and describe how the decisions of the policy makers will be affecting the public life. You have to be calm and composed while breaking news in politics.
‘Trump campaign suffering loss, way behind Biden;’ that’s a piece of much-relieving news for you, but while filing a story you can’t be as excited as your reader would be while reading it. You would come across some stories such as, ‘Bolsonaro downplaying the Amazon forest fires’ or Trump threatening to send in the army to end protest over George Floyd’s death.’ But you can’t get emotional and overwhelmed while reporting on such stories.
Apart from national and international politics, you can report about events related to Stirling Council or University of Stirling’s Student Union by-elections or write about discussions and debates going on in the Stirling University’s Politics Society.
If you want to go easy at the beginning and be on the lighter side of the news, this is the section where you can be as creative in writing as possible.
If you are an international student, why not tell stories of your own culture, traditions followed in your country, award-winning movies you watch, kind of music you hear, type of dance you do, etc. There is no hard-fast rule for writing entertainment and human interest stories as long as it is having a conversation with your reader.
Besides that, if you are a binge-watcher or a binge reader, you can also review a movie or a book and let your inner critic write more and better.
Being a student journalist can give you a level of access to events that otherwise you wouldn’t have. So, get your Brig membership and support true journalism!
To know more about our events and explore the writing opportunities we have join our Brig 20/21 Facebook group, and get all the updates handy.
Featured Image Credit: Brig/Harry Williamson