Uganda Radio Network news is a product weaved and packaged by a team of reporters, stringers, and editors. I believe that the attraction given to the final story, just like a basket weaver, is all dependant on the amount of care and focus we give to the materials required for the product. i.e the information, sources, choice of words, clarity of writing and passion for the story. Writing for the web is a little challenging because it demands fresh perspectives, engaging conversations and energetic story angles. The following are some of the tips i have put together for great web writing.
Avoid Clutter, One Punchy Idea in each sentence: Nothing puts off a motivated reader like clutter. If you realize that you need to re-read a sentence in order to understand it then re-write it. Example;
“High court in Masindi has re-scheduled the hearing of the Balaalo case against the attorney general, inspector general of police, Kale Kaihura and the coordinator of intelligence agencies general David Tinyefunza, to 25th of August 2011”.
“Hearing of the case filed by the Balaalo against the attorney general has been rescheduled to August 25th. The attorney general is jointly accused with the IGP, and the coordinator of intelligence agencies for illegally evicting the Balaalo from Buliisa.
Use the daily diction
The basic tenets of good writing and good communication cut across all mediums. But most importantly the web. The reader has many news options on the internet and our mission is to hook them into spending at least five minutes on our site. So we need to simplify, simplify and simplify the language and words. Example
“Six people have been perished to death in an accident which occurred at buyanga in maganda Sub County in namutumba district.”
“Six people have died this morning in an accident that occurred in Maganda Sub-county, Namutumba district”.
We never use Words like blasted, beaten to plump, nabbed, in normal conversations and so they sound so confrontational and create highly volatile scenarios. Clarity, comprehension and compassion are built on good writing.
Make your story sound conversational
Give the human face to your story, it is the “you” and “me” that attracts and evokes empathy in our minds. Example
“The woman narrowly survived death when she was attacked by a mob accusing her of witchcraft”.
“20-year-old (someone), a mother of two was attacked by a rowdy mob and threatened with murder. Her crime? Witchcraft.”
Check for rhythm, Rhyme and pace
It is good discpline to read your stories aloud at least two times after writing just to detect the flaws before you upload. If you stumble, find a long winding sentence, the simple rule is re-write. The story must have a light touch, easy to read, easy to understand, easy to memorize, easy to retell. Example
”Bishop Kyomya wonders why cases of domestic violence, family
negligence and breakdown are rampant in the society saying men as the
head of families should always endeavor to be violent free.”
“Bishop Kyomya questioned why cases of domestic violence and family negligence are increasing. He advised the men to strive for violence free families”.
Apply policy to real life situations
For example parliament debates should relate to everyday lives of the people. Don’t write a story about budget increases without telling us what this means to the person reading your story on the site.
Have fun as you write for the web.