There’s something about writing a human-interest story that just captures people’s attention. Maybe it’s the feeling of hope they get from such stories or the reminder that even in the darkest of times, there’s still some good in the world.
Regardless of the reason, these kinds of stories never fail to touch people’s hearts. In this article, we’ll define human-interest stories and give you some valuable tips on how to write one yourself.
What Is a Human-Interest Story?
This type of journalistic writing tells a story about a person or group of people. The focus of the story is usually on the personal experiences and challenges faced by the individuals involved.
Human-interest stories often have a strong emotional appeal and are typically used to raise awareness about important issues. While they can be a challenge to write, human interest stories can be some of the most rewarding pieces of journalism. When done well, they have the power to change lives and make a difference in the world.
History of Human-Interest Stories: When Did It All Begin?
While you might believe that human-interest stories have been around for a while, the beginnings of this type of journalism are actually recent.
In Western media, human-interest story writing on topics like poverty and working-class issues has gained staggering popularity since 1925. The first pieces were published in The New Yorker, one of the world’s most popular magazines.
These stories were often sentimental and melodramatic, designed to tug at readers’ heartstrings. Today, human-interest stories are found in both print and online news outlets. They provide a personal dimension to the news and help readers understand how events and issues affect real people.
Why Are Human-Interest Stories Important?
Human-interest story journalism is an important part of news reporting for several reasons.
First, they help add context and depth to the stories we see on the news. Most of the time, the events that make headlines are complex and can be difficult to understand. By adding a human element to the story, reporters can help their audience connect with the events in a more emotional and personal way.
In addition, human interest stories often serve as a window into more significant issues. They shine a light on social problems and illuminate the experiences of marginalized groups.
How to Write a Human Interest Story: Tips and Tricks
If you’re interested in writing human-interest stories, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
As a first thing, remember to choose a subject you’re passionate about. Also, regardless of how invested you are in the topic, creating compelling human-interest articles often requires a lot of research. Here are some additional tips you shouldn’t overlook.
Use Jargon When Fitting
Jargon is acceptable, but don’t overuse it. As these stories should be easily accessible to the general public, you might want to adopt the language they’re accustomed to. An easily readable piece can make your story more understandable and relatable.
Find the Right Balance
Human-interest stories should strike a balance between informing and entertaining. In other words, they should be interesting enough to hold readers’ attention but also provide them with new information about the subject.
As human-interest stories are usually relatively short, it’s crucial to get straight to the point. Try to focus on the most essential human-interest features and details of the story and resist the temptation to include unnecessary information.
Make Sure Your Data Is Authentic
When writing human-interest stories, it’s essential to use reliable sources. Be sure to verify any information you include in your story, and avoid using unverified data or hearsay at all costs. If you’re unsure about the accuracy of a piece of information, it’s always better to leave it out.
Engage Your Readers
Other than giving human-interest stories news value, journalists should write in a way that engages readers and makes them want to keep reading. Be sure to use strong verbs, prioritize active language, and avoid lengthy and drawn-out sentences.
Use a Subtle Tone
Human interest stories often deal with sensitive topics, so it’s essential to use a respectful and considerate tone. Avoid being too heavy-handed or preachy in your writing, and try to let the story speak for itself.
Human-Interest Story Examples
Many people were drawn to stories of women and families whose husbands and fathers were at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The gravity of the event itself is why these are among the top human-interest stories of the last decades.
Other examples of human-interest stories include tales of people who overcame difficult childhoods to become successful at their jobs or people — particularly women — who overcame abusive relationships and are now helping others in similar situations.
Human-Interest Story: Our Takeaway
This type of journalism is a powerful way to connect with your audience and create an emotional connection. The importance of human-interest stories drives higher trust and transparency with your readers.
By sharing stories about the people behind the news, you give your audience a glimpse into what drives your work and why they should pay attention to it.