1. Work out your title first. It might not be the title you end up with but it focuses your article. Then write down a list of points on how the article is going to unfold. Write as if you are writing a letter and telling a story.
  2. Before writing, organize your material in the sequence you want to use it in. I cut articles and quotes from newspapers and photocopy material from other sources, then sort it out before starting to write.
  3. Always give credit to the source when you are quoting someone.
  4. Always read the documents and don’t be afraid to quote relevant sections from them.
  5. Be skeptical when you are analyzing material or comments made by various authorities.
  6. Don’t be afraid to bring yourself into the story if it is relevant. For example, “I was on the train coming back from the Test and the banter between the Wallabies and All Blacks supporters was genial…”

7. Be firm in your judgments. Avoid a so-called balanced approach. You can give the arguments for and against but then come down on one side or the other.

8. Pithy quotes can lift your article. I used to keep a notebook of quotes. Now I cut out a particularly good quote and try to use it before losing it among my documents.

9. Keep articles with good information in them with an eye to using them some time at a later date. I have a stack of files with articles in them which I go through from time to time to remind me what I have on stock.

10. Remember all journalism – articles, columns, profiles and historical pieces – is news writing. You are trying to tell your reader something they haven’t heard before or an argument they haven’t considered, or a new idea or fact. Everything should be news.