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Santa Barbara City College

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College City Santa Barbara

A news brief should be three to five paragraphs, up to a maximum of 5 inches. Because of their extreme brevity, briefs should focus on a very small piece of news. Writing should be news writing at its most concise.

Here is a template:

Paragraph 1: a one-sentence lead paragraph summarizing the key information that is new and has impact on readers.

Paragraph 2: a direct quotation from either a source responsible for the news or a source whom will be affected by it. Include some biography on the speaker that also sheds light on the issue. If you can’t get a direct quote then go ahead with a paraphrase. The point is to get a human being in your story.

Paragraph 3: provide background or new information to support your lead. Again, no more than three sentences, and make sure every word counts.

Extra rules:

All briefs must be checked with at least one news source. Even if you are rewriting a press release or email, check with a news source for currency.

No opinions or promotion. Keep your writing factual and to the point.

All briefs must contain a quotation, preferably a direct quote, from a fully identified, qualified source.

Briefs provided a good opportunity to learn Associated Press Style. Take our your style notes and use them.


What questions will you develop for this brief?

What is the “so-what” angle?

Who are your campus sources?Their titles or job description?

If your first source doesn’t pan out, to whom do you go next?


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