Finding suitable angle and lead vital to capture readers’ attention

By Auni Zarifah

GOMBAK, 26 September 2020: How interesting and significant a news item is treated by readers would depend largely on the lead written by the journalist, hence finding a good news angle for a hard story is important to generate interest and create an impact, according to Mrs. Nurhiza Hidayu Zainol, a radio journalist from Radio Television Malaysia (RTM).

“News angle is essential because it is the guidance towards what exactly should be written and highlighted, and a good angle can generate readers’ attention,” she impressed.

Mrs. Nurhiza Hidayu shared this view during a remote news training session organised by IIUMToday on Friday (25 September) which was held via Google Meet. The training programme was aimed at providing an insight for the students regarding ways to ask questions during interviews and how to find a good news angle for their stories.

Holding a position as newscaster and news editor for radio news at RTM, Nurhiza has been in journalism for almost ten years, and prior to joining RTM she was editor for a human resource magazine, “Malaysia”.

“A good story starts with a good interview,” Nurhiza said. “Therefore, journalists must find a good subject because this forms the base of the story.”

She said: “It is vital to be prepared before conducting any interview, do a research to know the background of the interviewees, besides trying to find a new angle for the story.”  

“Before conducting an interview, let the interviewee know the background of the interview so the interviewee can have some ideas about the questions asked,” she added.

She said as a journalist, “it is difficult to gain a good story if the interviewees are not comfortable with your questions.” “And chances are that the answers will be given without much enthusiasm which can lead to not enough information for the news.”

Emphasising the importance of timeliness, the speaker shared that a news item must be on par with current issues happening. “Timeliness is the key for a good news.”

She further remarked that the impact of the news is another angle that should be taken into account because the more impactful it is, the more newsworthy the story becomes. “Besides impactful, news must be prominent for people to read. The news provided for readers must be something valuable for them.”

“Considering the prominence of the story is not enough, as good news must hold proximity value which means news should be near to the readers,” she shared.

She told the audience that knowing the target readers and their leisures as much as possible is important. “Conflict story is newsworthy since hard news can catch readers’ attention. Plus, something unusual is also a good angle for the story to be considered as newsworthy because it can provide readers with uniqueness.”

Nurhiza Hidayu also highlighted the elements of a good journalist. She said as a journalist, “building good reputation is important to make people feel comfortable with you, and for the news developing process to run smoothly.”

“Journalists should therefore apply flexibility and always be prepared for any assignment. Punctuality and well-disciplined is a must, working in fast pace is important for journalists to deliver latest and breaking news.”

The programme ended with an interactive question and answer session.

Earlier, Nurhiza Hidayu shared her experiences during her undergraduate days at Curtin University and how she became interested in writing and journalism. She shared her devotion on reading novels and other current affairs articles, which led her to venture into journalism as a career.

The interest in writing news is not the only element that will boost one’s ability to deliver high quality news. “A journalist must develop a reading habit to enhance her writing by learning various styles through reading writings of others,” she shared.

The training session was also attended by Dr. Wan Norshira Wan Mohd Ghazali, the coordinator of IIUMToday, with the opening remarks delivered by Mr. Aznan Mat Piah, the portal’s editor. ***

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