News Sense: The Building Blocks of News


News Sense: The Building Blocks of News

What makes an idea or event a news story? Explore the who, what, when, where, why and how of news.

Type: Self-Directed Course
Updated in 2018
Time Estimate: 3 hours



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SKU: NUSDT102-18 Category:


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News Sense explores the basic building blocks of news stories. You’ll examine the who, what, when, where, why and how of events and see how the answers to those questions shape news coverage.

We’ll give you readings, examples, games and exercises to help you develop the mindset to begin reporting and writing the news. We hope this course sparks your interest in learning more about the craft of newswriting and the world of journalism past, present and future.


Upon completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Judge the newsworthiness of stories
  • Verify facts using multiple sources
  • Clarify information for yourself, readers and viewers
  • Build a strong foundation for any news story


Anyone who wants to understand the building blocks of the news and how journalists use these building blocks.


Mary Ann Hogan

Mary Ann Hogan is a former writing coach who now teaches rhetoric and critical thinking at Florida Atlantic University. Hogan served as writing coach for the Chips Quinn Scholars Program for young journalists of color. She has a master of fine arts degree in creative writing/non-fiction. She previously was a reporter at the Oakland Tribune, a feature writer through the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, story consultant/lead writer for original Newseum, Arlington, Va., and primary writer for “Crusaders, Scoundrels, Journalists” (Times Books, 1999).


Senior Producer/Programmer: J. Paige West
Assistant Producer/Designer: Jen Wallace
Intro Animation: Katherine Humphreys
Copy Editor: Vicki Krueger
Executive Producer: Howard Finberg