For a story to influence readers, you need to go to the heart of your reporting and express the most powerful images. To capture readers’ attention, the Senior American journalist Stephen Franklin suggests creating a highly personal lead, a beginning that sets the scene powerfully. He adds that only the most basic details are needed. You will reveal the complete story later on. But it is also imperative to write honestly about what you have found. Do not try to create images that do not match in tone with your story, or s sensationalise an event. Winning your audience’s trust is essential and beginning with a narrative that seems untrue will damage this effort.

You work through the story by summing up your findings and substantiating them with facts. Do not let your story down by being careless with your words, or how you link your evidence to an alleged result. If you do, then in the best case scenario, your story is not watertight. In the worst case, it may end up defamatory and your credibility will be affected.

Here are some pointers to bear in mind: