Advanced Learning

Become the voice of your county! Anyone can write a local news story (or compose a news photo) for us.

We will Mpesa you Sh100 for each news story our editors publish.

We aim to publish engaging county-level news stories written by the community for the community.

We focus on stories that are relevant to the lives of the majority of Kenyans living outside the biggest cities.

For example: news about local employment opportunities, local security reports, local farming methods, local celebrities, local artists & entertainers? People are more interested about what happens close to home than far away.

What To Write About

Proximity. Write about the news happening around you: in your community, at your work, or wherever you are

Be timely. Write about something “newsworthy”: newly received information about recent or important events.

Engage the reader. Write about something that you would like to read about yourself. Ask yourself: why would any reader find this story interesting? Does it touch on the lives of the people? For example the source of tensions in the community, or the impact of new policies.

Helpfulness. help readers cope with their lives.

Entertain. Amuse readers on their leisure time. Write about bizarre and unusual events

No one has time for a boring article! Do not write about insignificant news stories such as unimportant crime stories.

How to write about it

An example of a good news story.

Basic Writing Tips

Write a concise 200 words news story (or submit a photo with a short description) answering:

  1. What event?
  2. Where and when did it happen?
  3. Who was involved?
  4. How did the event occur?
  5. Why is it noteworthy?
  6. Be simple. Use very simple language that can be understood by anybody. Do not use any technical words. Use short sentences.
  7. Be very clear. Avoid statements that can be misunderstood. Ensure everything is straight to the point.
  8. Use a catchy title. The title should promise something, but should not say it all. Also, do not cheat the reader with the title.
  9. Add quotes. Get a quote from an eye witness or an authoritative sources (example: police officer).
  10. Verify your facts. If there’s anything in the story that you’re not sure of, do some research and come up with the correct information.
  11. Verify spelling and grammar. Do not misspell the name of people and places.
  12. Be structured. Let each paragraph carry one main idea.
  13. See advanced writing tips below. If you get stuck email editor@hivisasa.com

Advanced Writing Tips

To increase your chances of being published, ensure the following;

  1. Tight. Your sentences should be ‘tight’ and fast-paced. Avoid using unnecessary words.
  2. Neutral. Be neutral and do not take sides. If you are dealing with a story that involves two parties, get views from both parties and present them accurately without any distortions.
  3. Photo. Attach a photo (pixels: 830x430) to the news story. Caption and give credit to the source. Use a photo that has a connection with the title of the story.
  4. Active verbs. Always write using active verbs, not passive ones.
  5. At its heart, news is about people doing things. Activity is interesting. Where you can, write sentences with subjects that are doing things, and not subjects that are simply receiving actions upon them.
  6. Use active language in the title and in the text:
  7. Passive: A meeting will be held by the company’s directors next week.
  8. Active: The company’s directors will meet next week.
  9. Tighten the lead. The lead (the first sentence) is the most important part of the story. Always let the most important part of the story appear in the lead. A news story usually takes the ‘inverted pyramid’ format, It answers in the first and second paragraph: what, who, where, when, how…
  10. Attribute sources. Build your credibility by ensuring all information in the story is attributed to a source. Identify a source for each of the information you give. Avoid general statements such as “it is said that….” Otherwise, people will assume it’s the opinion of the writer, or just hearsay. In the case of sources requesting to be anonymous, let them give a valid reason for that.
  11. Edit text with Microsoft Word. If you work from a laptop, write in Microsoft Word (using British English) and paste your content into HiviSasa.com. You can still edit online from the ‘body’ if you’re used to our system. The key is to write the story the best way you know how, and then self-edit. We always make awkward errors when we write. All good writers take a second look at their articles before submitting.
  12. Nail your quotes. Include punch line quotes in your stories. Quote the speech that drives the main point home.
  13. Investigate. Don’t just assume everything a source tells you is true. Do a background check.

Story Structure

  1. Headline. This is the tile of the story that tells the readers what the story is all about.
  2. Lead.The first paragraph that summarises the main points in the story, it should tell a reader what the story is all about. It answers at least three of the 5 “W” and 1 “H”.
  3. Backup Lead.The second paragraph usually builds on the first paragraph. To avoid making the lead sound too mechanical or boring, have the rest appear in the backup lead.
  4. Body. The rest of the story elaborates on the rest of the “W” plus How did the event occur?Quotes and attribution: remember, quotes must be objective and without connotations. (Mostly use the word “said” – for instance: Mututho said that, “Our people cannot….”).
  5. Background. give information that enables the reader to understand the story more.
  6. So what? Elaboration: the impact of the story on the readers.
  7. Ending. This can show future action, or you can use a quote that summarises the story but does not repeat previous facts.
  8. Make yourself aware of our terms and conditions.

Submit a 'news photo'

  1. What event?
  2. Where and when did it happen?
  3. Who is pictured?
  4. How did the event occur?
  5. Why is it noteworthy?
  6. When submitting a photo, remember to say where the picture was taken, who is in the picture, and explain why the image is noteworthy. Ensure that you are the rightful owner of the picture.