|Image by Francesco Rollandin
The first article, Our new universal sport: the Smartphone Olympics is an opinion piece. It uses the first person (I) voice, and it is not about an event. Instead, it offers the reader something to think about. It provides a humorous take on a current issue, and the writer’s point of view, or opinion, is clear throughout.
The second article, Want to see who’s unfriended you onFacebook? Now it’s easy to know
is also about an issue. It uses the second person voice, addressing the reader directly (“You’ve probably unfriended somebody on Facebook …”), and has a very familiar, almost chummy tone. It invites the reader to think about the issue, and further, it asks her to respond.
The third article is
about an event: William and Kate got a cocker spaniel!
It uses the third person voice, which the news report requires. So far so good. It also answers some questions: Who? William and Kate. What? They got a puppy. But the details aren’t very specific, and the article doesn’t include any direct quotes from participants. Finally, the writing has a gossipy tone (“The royals were spied on a beach…” and “It’s reported that the couple met their dog-to-be …”) intended to make the reader believe she’s been let in on a secret.
The kind of news report the OSSLT requires has a more formal tone than these examples. To achieve it, be informative, serious and direct. Imagine you are describing an event you attended to interested listeners you don’t know very well. They want details. To help your audience “see” the event the way you did, include lots of specific details, such as names, dates, locations, reasons – you can even say what the weather was like, if it makes sense to do so. Finally, include what other people said about the event by quoting them directly.