November 2007 Archives

Assigned Text:

ABNW, Chapter 10

Due Today:

WB 12: TBA

Choose one story from Chapter 9, "The Classics," (in America's Best Newspaper Writing) and post an agenda item that focuses on how your selected story illustrates a journalism concept that is important to your final article. What is that concept (define it in your own words and give an example) and quote a passage from your chosen work that pertains to the concept.
Assigned Text:

Fuson, "Ah, What a Day"

In ABNW, 211-213.
Assigned Text:

Hull, "Metal to Bone"

In America's Best Newspaper Writing, 96-111

Assigned Text:

Best Practices (Finish)

Read the rest of the booklet.

Post TWO agenda items -- one for a specific chapter/section of your choice, and one that best captures your overall response to the booklet.

(Was listed as a health/sci activity.)

File a short "breaking news" story that uses only the information you were able to gather during today's class exercise... AND file a longer story that incorporates the additional information I will send out sometime Saturday.

The short article (Ex 6A) can be just 100 words or so. it is due at 11 Monday morning.

The longer one (Ex 6B) should be 300-400. It is due by 11 Tuesday morning. (There will be more information revealed Monday morning, after I've had the chance to look at your Ex 6A submissions, so I won't open the slot for Ex 6B until after Monday's class.)

Upload to an informal report on your progress for Article 2.

  1. What interviews have you conducted? (In person, by telephone, by e-mail?)
  2. What interviews have you scheduled? (In person, by telephone, by e-mail?)
  3. What interview subjects have you identified, but not yet approached? (In person, by telephone, by e-mail?)
  4. What background research have you conducted (links to or quotations from specific articles that have helped you begin your work; book chapters, handouts, or other resources that have helped you get started; other planning?)
  5. What changes, if any, did you make to your angle in order to make it more newsworthy (relevant to a wide number of readers, not just those who already happen to be interested in your chosen subject; tied to an event that is current, not old news; etc.)
  6. Draft your lead, based on the information you have already gathered.
  7. Is there a key person that you absolutely must interview, or the story will fall apart?
    • If you have already done your most important interviews, good for you! 
    • If not, what is your backup plan, if it turns out you can't get that interview in time?
  8. What, if anything, can I do for you at this point to help you do your best work?

This will be a two-hour lab. I will give you background information to read before you come to class. Come prepared to take notes, and plan to file a news story Monday morning.

Assigned Text:

Best Practices

Read pages 1-28. Please pick your agenda item from after page 9 -- the introduction and executive summary are a little too compact and encapsulated to sustain much discussion.

Try to relate your agenda item to an issue you have encountered in your own reporting, or something you have noticed in the news lately.

Recall that the article pitches that got the best grades last time were more than a sentence or two stating what you plan to do... the more work you've done on the pitch, the better the chance your editor will approve the story.

I realize it will be hard to do much work on your second pitch if you really love your idea for the first pitch, but please do take both parts of the assignment seriously.

Just bring your printout to class. As before, you will orally pitch your articles, I will ask questions when necessary, and you will submit your printouts

The sky's the limit... but if you pitch an article in which you get intensive plastic surgery and learn Russian in order to do six months undercover work as a Cosmonaut astronaut aboard the International Space Station, well, it might be time for a reality check.

Update, Nov 2: Class will not meet today, so that I can hold extra advising/consultation hours.

Brainstorm in groups on your own time. (You can do this by e-mail or blog, or you can arrange to meet on your own during class time.)

Most courtroom reporting does not involve being in such a huge, active single location as that described in this 1990 feature by Linnet Meyers, but reading this will help set the scene for the upcoming crime/court reporting exercise.

Update, 2 Nov:

Was "Health/Sci Issue"

In preparation for an up coming court reporting lab, I have shifted the focus of this assignment.

More details to follow shortly.

Here are the details:

  1. Individually, write a short news story that will appear in the next day's paper. Use only the sources that I provided for you today. About four or five paragraphs would be a good length.
  2. You are a reporter at the local daily paper (not The Elizabethan), and you have been assigned to write a story on the Safe Streets, Safer Students club. Since Janet Marton is listed as the PR contact, you are starting with her. As a group, come up with three questions you plan to ask her.  For each question, imagine two ways that she might respond, and have a different follow-up for each possibility.

    1. Question 1
        • Possible Response 1 (and your follow-up in this case)
        • Possible Response 2 (and your follow-up in this case)
    2. Question 2
        • Possible Response 1 (and your follow-up in this case)
        • Possible Response 2 (and your follow-up in this case)
    3. Question 3
        • Possible Response 1 (and your follow-up in this case)
        • Possible Response 2 (and your follow-up in this case)

For Part 2, try to flesh these questions and answers out so that they make a narrative.

In other words, instead of "Ask her whether the jury will believe her, and if she gets upset, ask her what she plans to tell the judge,"  write out the exact words you plan to use, and  describe your source's response (and non-verbal actions, if relevant.) 

So you might ask your question this way:

I noticed in your September column, you mentioned how much you love peanut butter sandwiches, and I'm a little confused about that, since the lawsuit you filed against the dining services company says that you have a peanut allergy. As I understand it, when you dropped your phone behind the counter, a food service worker picked it up and handed it to you, and you got worried that it might have been contaminated with a peanut product, since the worker had just placed a peanut product on the steam table.  Do you think that the fact you published an essay referring to your love of peanut butter might make a jury doubt your claims that the incident put your health seriously at risk?

While you shouldn't publish subjective observations like "She shifted guiltily in her seat" or "She spoke each word as if her life depended on it," you might still keep notes to that effect for yourself. So feel free to include that kind of creative writing flourish in part 2 of this assignment.


There will be no WB10.

We will instead spend class time catching up on a crime/court reporting activity that I had planned for October (but had to cancel because I was sick). Likewise, the exercise planned for Wednesday will be redesigned so that it introduces you to an upcoming crime/court reporting exercise. (More details on that soon.)




Review WB 10

As I indicated in class recently, this portfolio has a bit more structure. Include only the entries you have written since the last portfolio was due.

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.

Assigned Text:

IANS -- Ch 9 and 10

This workbook was formerly titled "Health Reporting."

Part 1, which is on AP style, is due Thursday morning. You'll find it on J-Web.

Part 2:

Recent Comments

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