The Nut Graph

Every story needs a "nut graph" that answers the question: Why am I writing this, and why do I think the reader should read it?

The best way to make sure your story has a point is to state it, simply, somewhere near the top of the story. It doesn't have to say, "The point of this story is..." But if the story is about a budget shortfall, a good nut graph might quote a district official on whether the shortfall would force an increase in tuition.

How does the story affect the reader? That's what should be in the nut graph. If it doesn't affect the reader, maybe it shouldn't be a news story.