When Playing by The Rules Will Get You Far
Although I admittedly didn't do as well as I could have achieved in my High School newswriting class, I found that what I did learn about writing for newspapers and other publications made a lasting impact me. When I recently volunteered to contribute an article for Seton Hill's student-run newspaper, The Setonian, I found that I needed little to no refresher to get myself up to speed with newswriting.
The element of newswriting that stuck with me the most (and also turned out to be the most useful) was the inverted pyramid. While I did need to look-up the five W's and other guidelines, I was able to easily and accurately recall the principals of the inverted pyramid I learned almost half a decade ago. State all of the most important information in the first sentence, with the most crucial supporting information in the first paragraphs. Everything else follows, ending with the least important information and quotes at the end of the article, to give the editor(s) the flexibility to chop off the end of the story if they need to make space. Following these rules, I easily turned my big mess of notes, ideas, and quotes into a fairly concise news article with a minimal amount of room for error.