Presentation on theme: "News Writing and The Smart Grid This is a 2 period presentation. The National Foundation for Energy Education presents…"— Presentation transcript:
News Writing and The Smart Grid This is a 2 period presentation. The National Foundation for Energy Education presents…
Headlines are important in delivering the news Headline? A headline tells the main idea of the story at a glance. A good headline makes the reader want to READ on.
Headlines… should be engaging and brief are usually written in the active voice are often written with vivid verbs and vivid adjectives A good headline has a subject and a verb.
Look at these 3 examples. Largest Smart Grid in U.S. (Largest is the kind of word that grabs the readers attention and entices him or her to find out just how large the grid is). Scorching temperatures (scorching is a vivid adjective and creates an image of heat in your mind) Blackouts Skyrocketing (the vivid verb skyrocketing is more exciting than the verb increasing, for example)
Headlines should reflect the main idea. Read each of the following headlines and the accompanying lead. In a large group discussion answer the following questions. Does each headline reflect the main idea of the lead? If it does not, come up with a headline that does reflect the main idea.
Largest Smart Grid in U.S. Gets Funding The largest Smart Grid project in the United States is being developed in the Pacific Northwest. The $178 million project will demonstrate and test smart-grid projects at 11 utilities, including Spokane-based Avista Utilities and Inland Power & Light. The Department of Energy has released $45 million to begin the project. Federal stimulus money is being matched by money from the utilities. Is this headline stating the main idea of the lead? Is it the main idea of the lead?
Scorching temperatures return to wilting East PHILADELPHIA – The eastern U.S. cooked for another day Wednesday as unrelenting heat promised to push thermometers past 100 degrees in urban "heat islands," buckled roads, warped rails and pushed utilities toward the limit of the electrical grid's capacity…Scattered power outages affected customers up and down the coast and usage approached record levels. In the Washington, D.C., area, nearly 1,000 customers were without power Wednesday, while New Jersey's largest utility, Public Service Electric & Gas, reported about 6,500 customers without power. New Jersey and Maryland were advised to expect delays again Wednesday. Philadelphia's transit system said it was slowing trains to reduce the amount of electricity needed to run them… Does the above headline work for this lead? sIsExplaiWWn how this headline reflects the main idea of the lead?
Testing the electric vehicle-to-grid connection It's not often that a press event at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Meeting features a car. But the car that was driven into the press room today was an electric one, with some added communications skills: it could talk with the electric grid. The University of Delaware is already working with the utility PJM to test the use of electric vehicle for stabilizing the frequency of the grid, and preliminary work suggests that the payback time for the extra communication equipment may be as short as two months. W What about this headline? Does the headline reflect the main idea of the lead?
Lets move on and … review the elements of a good lead review the characteristics of a news story discuss the inverted style review the characteristics of a feature story
Leads lead… The most important element of a story is the lead-the storys first, or leading sentence. It is often referred to as a brief statement of the storys essential facts. The lead is usually the first sentence, or in some cases the first two sentences, and is usually 20 to 25 words in length. Ideally the lead should answer most or all of the five Ws (who, what, when, where, why) but few leads can fit all of these.
Lets look at some examples and determine if they are effective leads. Remember the elements of good leads from the slide before. Turn back and take another view if necessary. Obama Tags $3.4B for Smart Energy Grid PLAN WILL CREATE TENS OF THOUSANDS OF JOBS AND CHEAPER ELECTRICITY By Harry Kimball Posted Oct. 27, 2009 NEWSER) – President Obama will roll out a plan to use $3.4 billion in stimulus funds to modernize the nations electrical grid today. The smart grid spending will go to private contractors, utilities, and municipal governments in grants of between $400,000 and $2million.The administration expects $4.7 billion in private investment to match the taxpayer money, and predicts the spending will create tens of thousands of new jobs. What do you think? Are the first sentence or two the lead? Does it answer most of the 5 Ws? Does it give you most of the important information up front? Would you likely read on?
What about this one? Which of the Ws and H are answered? GE, VCs launch $200M electric grid challenge Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal – by Mary Duan, Tuesday, July 13, 2 General Electric Company and three Silicon Valley venture capital firms launched a $200 million open innovation challenge Tuesday seeking breakthrough ideas on the electric grid and ways to accelerate its adoption. Technologists, entrepreneurs and start-ups have been invited to share their best ideas and come together to take on the challenges of building the next-generation power grid to meet the needs of the 21 st century. What do you think? Here we have two sentences. Are the 5 Ws answered? Does the headline fit the lead? Are the headline and the lead discussing the major important points as briefly as possible?
Check out this one. From Idahos largest wind farm to self-healing grids The Western U.S., where construction has just started on a massive, half-billion dollar series of wind farms, to the East Coast, where Massachusetts is rolling out high-tech gear that allows power grids to heal themselves by isolating outages and rerouting power, its been a busy week for GEs energy teams. The Idaho Wind Partners project comprises 11 wind farms- making it Idahos largest wind power project with the capacity to power approximately 39,700 average Idaho homes. The project is spread across 10,000 acres of active and inactive farmland in southern Idahos Magic Valley, which was predominant migration route as part of the Oregon Trail in the 19 th century, and is now becoming a critical renewable energy corridor in the 21 st century.
Leads are the leaders… Leads are important because they introduce the reader to the rest of the story. They are written to lead the reader into the story where the rest of the information is located.
The news story In a news story, the introductory paragraph tells the most important facts and answers the questions: who, what, where, when, why, and how. For the news story, details and elaboration are evident in the body of the news story and flow smoothly from the lead. Newspaper reporters are trained to write in inverted style, with all the most important information in the first paragraph or two. The inverted pyramid is used with most news stories.
The inverted pyramid form of writing is a good way to get the most important information in front of your readers –first. Position the main points (who, what, when, where, why and the how) at the beginning of the article, and then go into more detail toward the end of your piece.
Remember… The inverted pyramid style of writing generally starts with the main conclusion or outcome and gets more detailed towards the end of the piece. 1 st Conclusion or most important information 2 nd Supporting information 3 rd Details 4 th Background and technical details Lets investigate a real story and see if it follows the inverted pyramid style.
Massive Power Outage Cripples South Florida Elevators stopped, traffic lights darkened and much-needed air conditioners went silent during a massive power outage in South Florida this afternoon. The power outages began shortly after 1 p.m. ET, affecting hundreds of thousands of people. The outages struck the wider Miami area, extending from Boca Raton south to Key West. Power is now being restored to many residents in South Florida. Officials say as many as three million people across the state were affected. As NPR's Greg Allen tells Robert Siegel, disabled traffic lights created problems throughout Miami, and several hospitals switched over to emergency power. Officials with Florida Power and Light say the outages began after an electrical substation problem. This is a short but effective straight new story written in inverted style. It has an eye catching headline and a lead that answers many of the Ws and H. What are those Ws and H?
The Ws answered in the lead The What: a massive power outage The Where: South Florida The When: this afternoon The Why: an electrical substation problem This story was written in the inverted pyramid style.
Lets look a several other stories Will they be written in the inverted pyramid style?
M emphis Light, Gas and Water (MLGW) Selects SmartSynch Solution for Smart Grid Demonstration Project Project will extend smart grid benefits to approximately 1,000 households and enable MLGW to develop business case for system-wide deployment Jackson, Miss. August 12, 2010 SmartSynch, Inc., a Smart Grid technology company utilizing standard IP communications via cellular networks, has been selected by Memphis Light, Gas and Water (MLGW)the largest three-service public utility in the nationas the solutions provider for its three-year Smart Grid Demonstration Project launched earlier this year. SmartSynch will provide approximately 1,000 participating households with SmartSynch SmartMeters that will automatically read and record hourly information about their energy usage…
The Ws and H Who: SmartSynch,Inc What: has been selected by Memphis Light/Gas/Water Why: as solutions provider…for Smart Grid Demonstration Project How: SmartSynch will provide approximately 1,000 participating households with SmartSynch SmartMeters that will automatically read and record hourly information about their energy usage W hen: Announced August 12, 2010
S EVERE S PACE W EATHER --S OCIAL AND E CONOMIC I MPACTS January 21, 2009: Did you know a solar flare can make your toilet stop working? That's the surprising conclusion of a NASA-funded study by the National Academy of Sciences entitled Severe Space Weather EventsUnderstanding Societal and Economic Impacts. In the 132-page report, experts detailed what might happen to our modern, high-tech society in the event of a "super solar flare" followed by an extreme geomagnetic storm. They found that almost nothing is immune from space weathernot even the water in your bathroom. The problem begins with the electric power grid. "Electric power is modern society's cornerstone technology on which virtually all other infrastructures and services depend," the report notes. Yet it is particularly vulnerable to bad space weather...
Was this lead written in the inverted style? Did you know a solar flare can make your toilet stop working? That's the surprising conclusion of a NASA-funded study by the National Academy of Sciences entitled Severe Space Weather EventsUnderstanding Societal and Economic Impacts. In the 132- page report, experts detailed what might happen to our modern, high-tech society in the event of a "super solar flare" followed by an extreme geomagnetic storm. They found that almost nothing is immune from space weathernot even the water in your toilet. e from more about No No. This story does not follow the inverted pyramid form. You would have to read the entire article to discover all of the information.
Bringing Knowledge To Power: How the Smart Grid Will Change Our Future Out with the old. Its certainly not for lack of size that the current grid is sagging under pressure. According to the Department of Energy, the old grid contains 9,200 electric generating units and 300,000 miles of transmission lines, including over 1 million megawatts of generating capacity. And yet its so inefficient as to need immediate upgrade. The elder grid is a momentous achievement of 20th-century innovation, and a smarter grid will not destroy that lesson. Itll merely update it to handle increasing diversity in energy supplies, technology, and communication. You might be wondering why the grid hasnt evolved with other technologies. Unfortunately, its been met with relative neglect over the last 30 years. In that time, investment in transmission infrastructure has fallen to less than two percent of total industry revenue. Since 1982, growth in peak demand for electricity has exceeded transmission growth by nearly 25 percent annually. The end result is the weary, overburdened, blackout-prone grid we must now overhaul.
Now that you have read the story… Go back one screen to Slide #26 and take a closer look at the make up of the story. Look at the outline it seems to follow. Remember what you were initially expecting from the story based on the headline? Keep thinking.
Not a news story? The details are interesting and presented in an engaging way, yet we would not be able to fully understand all of the story without reading the remainder of the story. This is opposite of a straight news story, where you want to deliver the facts to your readers as quickly and clearly as possible. You give them the who, what, when, where, why and how, and then you get out.
Dee Jones, a Break Studios Contributing Writer, explains that a feature story is a story that is a bit more in- depth than a straight news story. When you write a feature story for a newspaper, you have more time to really explore your subject, and can go beyond the facts. Check out the next story.
Bringing Knowledge To Power: How the Smart Grid Will Change Our Future Out with the old Its certainly not for lack of size that the current grid is sagging under pressure. According to the Department of Energy, the old grid contains 9,200 electric generating units and 300,000 miles of transmission lines, including over 1 million megawatts of generating capacity. And yet its so inefficient as to need immediate upgrade… This story does not follow the inverted pyramid because it is a Feature Story. The headline draws our attention, yet we would have to read the entire article to understand how the smart grid will change our future. It is not explained by the Ws and H in a lead paragraph. You are on target if you recognized that the headline does not capture the lead. The headline prepares us for the How and What, and yet the lead does not answer any of the information. We would have to read the whole story to discover how the smart grid is going to change the future. Once again, it is not a news story written in the inverted pyramid form, but thats OK.
In a feature story, the author may choose to open in any number of ways, The author may begin with … an anecdoteanecdote a shocking or startling statementstartling a generalizationgeneralization pure informationinformation a descriptiondescription a quotequote question or comparison
a final descriptive scene a play on the title or lead a summary statement The conclusions for feature articles may be… quote
Lets look at another example of a feature story. See if you can distinguish it from a news story. Power Hungry: Reinventing The U.S. Electric Grid May 1, 2009 Power companies are planning to beef up the nation's electricity transmission grid. At the same time, conservationists are trying to reduce the vast amount of power wasted in Americans' homes and offices. That raises a question: If we simply used energy more efficiently, would we need to spend billions of dollars on a new grid? To answer this question, we first need to know how much electricity buildings of the future could save. A good place to start is an office in downtown Washington, D.C. the new home of the U.S. Green Building Council, which pushes for and certifies hyper-efficient construction. Project architect Ken Wilson says the idea is to make the office a model of efficiency. It's a glimpse of the future. 'The Mother Of All Green Projects "What we're doing in this project is dramatic," he says. "The energy load for our lighting is being reduced in half. And we've loaded it up full of all kinds of energy-saving devices that are in some ways a paradigm shift."
Did you detect a difference? In a straight news story, you just want to deliver the facts to your readers as quickly and clearly as possible. You give them the who, what, when, where, why and how, and then you get out. A feature story does not answer the 5 Ws and H in the first sentence or two. Instead it begins to develop an in-depth discussion. You would have to read the entire article to answer all of the 5 Ws and H.
In a moment… you will have the opportunity to write a story based on an interview. After the interview, you will choose whether to write a news story or a feature story. News story? Feature story?
Tips for Note -taking during todays interview. 1. Write quickly but clearly. 2. Learn to write really small, but large enough to be able to read it later. The smaller the writing, the more you can fit into the provided; please add sheets of paper as needed. 3. Listen carefully. Tune out distractions as they may cause you to miss part of a quote that might turn out to be important later on.
Are you ready In todays guest appearance your TGAED host will interview Mr. Ravi Raju, VP, SmartSynch,Inc., Jacksonville, MS, who will answer questions about the smart grid. The questions have been preselected and are listed on the Interview Note Taking Sheet with room for you to record your answers. A student host will be the moderator. (Pass out sheets) Have your pen or pencil ready. Listen and take notes as the expert answers each question.
Quiet on the set! The featured interview is about to begin.
Now that the interview is over work individually or in small groups. …and use your notes to write a news story or a feature story. Take your notes and arrange them in a logical order. Use your notes to create an outline. Look for a common theme. Develop a focus. Write the focus of the article down in two or three sentences. Decide if it is to be a straight news story or a feature story. The interview is over and now the writing begins.
Remember, you are the story teller. Be as clear and concise in the writing as possible Avoid run-on sentences. Tell a good story, be it News or Feature Tell the reader what you think they want to know. Always ask yourself what the story is about. When you finish, read the story aloud; listen carefully. Source: Young People's Press.
After the writing, whats next? Publish your news or feature story in your school or in local community paper. Spread the news and help educate others about the Smart Grid and other energy related topics including The Great American Energy Debate, 2010- 2011. #