Professional routines and rules in news writing.


  • Katariina Ruohomäki University of Vaasa


The aim of this paper is to explore the professional conventions in news writing in a Finnish provincial newspaper, Pohjalainen. The present study concentrates especially on the existing routines in news writing as well as on the unwritten, personal rules that the journalists apply when designing the story structure and writing a headline. Data for the study were collected by interviewing four experienced news reporters of the newspaper Pohjalainen and the interviews were analyzed in a phenomenographical framework. The results of the research indicate that the reporters are reluctant to follow existing rules concerning the story structure, such as the inverted pyramid principle, although the rule is widely recommended in textbooks for journalists. Exploiting the structural conventions was even seen as a condition for successful writing. On the other hand, journalists have a number of personal, professional conventions in writing a headline. Hence, it would appear that professionalism in news writing includes both unconsciously and consciously following the rules and deliberately breaking them.