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How to Write a News Article: How To Write A Review

Basic guidelines for creating news articles in print, photos, and video.

How To Write A Review In 5 Paragraphs

Writing a professional review of a movie, TV show, or restaurant is not difficult, but there are a few things to watch for to make it appropriate for a newspaper or magazine.

To get started –

Choose something new, exciting, and different to write about. If you write about something that’s been around awhile, you’ll need to have a new angle to cover, like a new exhibit at an existing museum. Your article should be new and original. Don’t use research from the internet and don’t try to reuse an essay from a previous class.

Some suggestions include:

  • Books, movies, or TV show reviews
  • concert reviews
  • museum and gallery exhibits
  • new restaurants or clubs
  • what's going on at the college or community that impacts you, the student - see the Calendar of Events on www.spcollege.edu

What you should do –

Paragraph 1 –

The first sentence or the ‘lede’ tells who, what, why, when, where, and how. The lede can be as simple as:

“A new comic book adventure opened this weekend at theaters across the nation.”

or more dynamic such as:

"The nation was rocked over the weekend by an unexpected blast as the latest installment in the superhero franchise blew all previous versions out of the theater.”

Paragraphs tend to be short with direct sentences in news. Always write in 3rd person and past tense. In news, everything you write should come from your observation or an interview. NEVER repeat or reuse anything you read someplace else, even in a quote!

Also do not use ‘I’ and don’t include your opinion. Think that doesn’t make sense? Keep in mind - a review is not so much your opinion as an analysis of the movie, show, restaurant, etc. based on the established standard. Instead of saying:

"This movie is the greatest! You should go see it!"

try saying something like:

"This movie beats the earlier superhero movies because of a, b, and c."

Paragraphs 2 -3

State at least 3 reasons you were attracted to or repulsed by the movie, TV show, event or restaurant. Name each reason in its own paragraph and provide examples and details. Don’t just say:

“The food was great.”

Instead, try saying something like:

"The food was “fresh with fish caught that morning and served grilled with a lemon sauce.”

For movies or TV, discuss reasons such as acting, lighting, costume, music, setting, photography, etc. DO NOT discuss plot! A good film or TV review does not include spoiler alerts!

For books, discuss character, theme, setting, symbolism, tone, language use, etc. Again, DO NOT discuss plot! No spoiler alerts!

Each paragraph should end with a quote. Ask other people, other viewers or customers, what they think to support your assessment or to add another perspective.  Quotes should be formatted like:

“He’s my favorite actor,” said person’s name.

Paragraph 5 –

Summarize your appraisal of the movie, TV show, event, or restaurant. Repeat your reasons for recommending or not recommending it to the reader. Add a final quote, known in broadcast journalism as a kicker, that is a funny or catchy ending. For example, the movie review might end:

“My boyfriend hated it, but he loves me, so we’ll be back to see it again,” said fan’s name.

Finally –

Proofread your article. Read it again – OUT LOUD – to catch and fix any punctuation or grammar errors. Send your review to the Sandbox via email to sandbox.news@gmail.com  If you have original pictures to include, upload them as well as separate jpgs. Otherwise, submit a public domain image of the movie or book in question.