September 2009 Archives
You can find examples of an X-Ray reading on pages 56 or 132 of Clark & Scanlon.
The public figure would be the university president.
Golden Gate Park layoffs
Note that the story is bigger than what's happening in one park, but the reporter focuses on one location, using details from this location to provide some context to help explain what is happening across the region.
Ethanol IndyCarsOptional Reference
The combination of details about racing cars and details about the environment pull in readers who are interested about either subject. Note how the lead functions as a mystery; appropriately, that mystery is resolved within a few short paragraphs.
As with the accident reports, a breaking news crime story is typically written overnight, while all the people that you might want to contact for quotes are asleep. The value of this kind of story is that it is filed quickly, and free of errors. Given those restrictions, how much room is there for depth and style?
Breaking news crime story:
Brackenridge man shot fleeing robbery attempt
Since several students in the class have reported frustration or impatience with the short accident report, here's an example of a more in-depth story, written about the latest courtroom development, in a story that was originally covered as a breaking news "crime" story. This is the latest development in an ongoing story; the crime itself is mentioned, but that was weeks ago. What is the actual news in this story?
Plea deal reached in Jeannette enslavement, kidnap case
You will write a short breaking news story, based on the information you get from today's workshop.
Submit to Google Docs as soon as you can (within hours? certainly by the 25th), and share with me and a partner.
Press Conference 2.mp3
Why is "allegedly" such an important word?
If you have been keeping up with your blogging, this assignment will simply involve collecting and reflecting. If there are gaps in your blogging, this is your chance to catch up.
What is your portfolio?
It begins with a richly-linked blog entry that introduces your reader to blog entries that you have created, and discussions from your peers' blogs in which you have participated, as part of a reflective statement on your progress so far.
Examples of portfolios from previous classes have included a no-nonsense list and a more personal essay. Either format is fine, but however you present your work, it's important to me that you specify where each of your posts falls amongst the categories listed below. The same post can count for more than one category, but if you keep re-using the same handful of posts that's probably a sign you can do a little better next time.
Highly Recommended: AP Style Practice Quizzes.
Discussion of story pitches.
You may post your article on your blog or Google Docs. Just be sure to post a link here, or share it with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I did record the press conference, however, so here is the MP3.
Update, 11 Sep:
Since some of the peer interviews came in late, I haven't yet had the chance to respond to everyone's. So, rather than stating that everyone should be finished on this date, I'll just ask that you keep in mind the value of revising.
I expect that everyone will benefit from the AP style materials, so that we'll get better final revisions if I extend the peer-review process a bit more.
So, this is less a "final due date" than a reminder that this is ongoing work that I hope you'll keep in mind. I'm more interested that you are learning and practicing right now, than that you are meeting any specific deadlines with regard to these early assignments.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.
Elizabeth Mount College, founded in 1919 by Trappist monks who emigrated from Ireland, is a 2500-student liberal arts college located on an oak-lined hilltop in Steamsburg, in western Pennsylvania. The school is notable for its innovative program in popular culture studies, an archaeology program that arranges a student and faculty exchange program with universities in Eastern Europe, and a state-of-the art experimental toxic waste reclamation facility. The neogothic stone architecture is popular with tourists, especially around Halloween.
A story that leads with an account of a mugging might have a nut that notes this was the third mugging this week, or that it happened the night the mayor gave a medal to the police.
When writing a nut, never say, "This story is important because...", and don't try to address every single possible way that a story might be considered newsworthy. Instead, write a paragraph that flows naturally from the news you have just reported, and links these specific details to the greater community of readers, answering the question "who cares?"
- Read: Read the assigned text.
- React: 24 hours before we discuss an assigned text in class, post your Agenda Item (a brief quote from the assigned reading, and a brief note explaining what you'd say when called on in class) posted to your blog, following the trackback procedure (which I'll explain when the time comes). Even if you haven't finished the assigned reading, please post your agenda item on time, so your peers will have something to talk about.
- Respond: Before class time, I'd like to see everyone post 2-4 comments on peer blogs, but our class is small enough that I think we should all follow each other's blogs.
- Reflect: Bring to class a half-page reflection paper that mentions by name a student whose agenda item helped you notice or question something about the assigned reading. I encourage you to post that half-page reflection on your blog, but doing so is optional. (Your upcoming portfolio assignments will ask you to include examples of blog entries that show your ability to reflect deeply, to launch a good discussion, etc., so it will be to your benefit to plan to publish longer reflections on topics that really interest you.)
300 words and/or 2 minutes of content, on your relationship to the news.
All I ask is that in class, you give me something so that I can read, watch, hear, or otherwise re-experience your 2 minute presentation in the comfort of my office. (I may not actually see your in-class performance, because the class will be divided into groups and you'll mainly be presenting for each other. ... so, e-mail me your Youtube URL? Hand me a printout? Burn me a CD?)
instructor knows more about the
subject than the student-author.
Usually, the reporter knows more about the subject than the general reader.
Essays for Your Instructor
Journalism for the General Public
A news article (hard or soft) should have at least three sources,
and should mention each source at least once in the first half of the
Don't leave "the opposing view" until the last paragraph, because an editor will expect to be able to chop off the bottom of your story to fit it in on the page.
A movie or restaurant review is based mostly on the author's direct observations of the subject, and thus might not include any additional sources.
If you feel that your reference to "a big dog" doesn't do the dog justice, instead of writing "a [very big / damn huge / friggen humongous] dog," a good journalist will ask questions so that the passage will read "130-pound Rottweiler named Bruiser."
If calling something "a disappointment" doesn't do it justice, calling it "a big disappointment" or "a very big disappointment"
or "a colossal disappointment" will be no better. Express intensity in
more direct, context-sensitive ways. A fourth-quarter loss might be "a
crushing disappointment," while an uninteresting movie might be "a
mind-numbing disappointment." Instead of "a big X" or "a very big X,"
consider "a crippling blow," "an unwieldy overcoat," or "a generous pie