SNN Newsroom

Writing for a National Audience
by: SNN Staff and Steve Kimber, University of King's College School of Journalism


Journalistic writing is meant to be not just self-expression but rather to communicate a specific story to someone. It is very much audience-oriented.

The online SNN Student Magazine is published monthly and read by students throughout Canada and the world. SNN publishes stories that have local (your school, community), provincial, national and international appeal.

Understanding that SNN's key audience is students in all provinces of Canada, here are some tips you can use to make your story appeal to a national/ international audience.

Local Story with National Appeal

  • If your article deals with something that is happening in your school or community, find an angle that appeals to a national audience. Ask yourself if students in schools elsewhere would be interested in what your school is doing? For example, an innovative course, a student who is doing something unique with his/her life or in his/her community.

  • When you are trying to figure out what to include -- and not include -- in your story, it sometimes helps to imagine you're telling your story to one person. Imagine a student in another part of the country who has similar interests to you but doesn't know anything about you, or your school, or your community. What would you need to tell that person to help her or him understand the story you're trying to tell?

  • Make a statement in your article referring to what students may think/feel on a national level.

  • Research your story idea to see what is happening in other provinces.

National Story that appeals to Youth

  • Gathering the local perspective on a national story brings home the importance, impact and meaning the story has in their lives. It can help students in other provinces understand why a particular event is important to them, their school, their community.

  • Writing stories that concern and are specially of interest to people throughout Canada ie. the plight of Western farmers - how do youth in those provinces feel about their future? How does their plight relate to students in other provinces ie. children of Newfoundland fishers?

  • While you want to reach a broad general audience with your story, that doesn't necessarily mean you should eliminate all of the specific details that give it life. In fact, perhaps paradoxically, the more specifically you write your story, the more likely readers will connect with it. The children of Newfoundland fishers, for example, may not think they have much in common with the children of western farmers but when they read a story that focuses on how factors beyond anyone's control - like the weather - can affect a farm family's life, they may suddenly realize that there are more similarities than they would have guessed. And then they can make their own connections with the story.


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