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NEWS WRITING Story Structure. Structuring your story Focus on the strongest news angle Write a lead that attracts the reader Set out facts accurately.

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Presentation on theme: "NEWS WRITING Story Structure. Structuring your story Focus on the strongest news angle Write a lead that attracts the reader Set out facts accurately."— Presentation transcript:

1 NEWS WRITING Story Structure

2 Structuring your story Focus on the strongest news angle Write a lead that attracts the reader Set out facts accurately and clearly Use the best quotes early in the story Try to find a narrative structure that encourages reading

3 The Inverted Pyramid, redux

4 The news sentence Well-written news stories are composed of short, sharp sentences Vary sentence length – it varies the pace and adds interest A short sentence often has more impact than a long one A story that presents interesting fact after interesting fact will hold a readers attention The aim: to make your writing as clear and effortless to read as possible

5 The news paragraph News stories are organised into easily-digestible paragraphs A conventional paragraph is an idea unit – an idea or statement followed by several sentences of supporting facts or information, e.g. academic writing A news paragraph is a fact unit – it might contain supporting information to make a fact clear, but it is not an idea unit Hard news paragraphs often contain only one sentence Paragraphs enable the writer to structure the story, and the reader to understand and absorb it

6 Using quotes Two ways to quote a source: a direct quote – an exact reproduction of what a person said, placed inside quotation marks an indirect quote – a summary, or paraphrase, of what a person said, so no quotation marks

7 One way only: Direct indirect A direct quote – exactly what a person said – may be paraphrased into an indirect quote BUT the process is strictly one way You should never try to change an indirect quote into a direct quote

8 Quotes cont. Quotes add colour to a story and an insight into the character of the person quoted Its ok to fix minor grammatical errors, or subtract interpolations (I was like, you know, really scared …) as long as you dont alter the meaning of what was said Some quotes are much better left as is, e.g. these gems from George W. Bush: They have mis-underestimated us. Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we. Too many OB/GYNs arent able to practise their love with women all over the country.

9 Introducing speakers When attributing an indirect quote, the persons name should be placed before the summary of what was said, and be followed by the word said: Ms Solomon said she had received her final marks in the mail. With a direct quote, the persons name should be placed at the end of the first sentence of the quote and followed by the word said: Waiting for marks to be posted makes me crazy, Ms Solomon said. A direct quote should start a new line and a new sentence

10 Introducing speakers cont. Always introduce a speaker before you quote them for the first time. This is commonly done using an indirect quote: Coordinator of the Journalism program Mr Stephen Davis said Macleay had never had such promising students as in Theyre all so switched-on, Mr Davis said. A person speaking in an official role: name the organisation, their position, and first name, surname, though the order may vary: Macleay College Journalism coordinator Stephen Davis said … Tim Flannery, one of Australias leading climate scientists, said …

11 Introducing speakers cont. Dont use honorifics when you introduce someone, but do use them in subsequent quotes: Climate scientist Tim Flannery said hundreds of Pacific islands could be submerged by rising sea levels. Millions of people will be forced to abandon their homes and find new places to live, Mr Flannery said.

12 Punctuating quotes The final quotation mark in a direct quote should be outside the final comma: Always start a direct quote in a new line and put the final comma inside the final quotation mark, the tutor said. If starting with the speaker, direct quotes should be preceded by a colon and finish with a full stop: The tutor said: Finish this quote with a full stop right now. A direct quote that continues for several sentences, often over several paragraphs, is called a running quote. Dont close a running quote with a final quotation mark until the quote actually ends. When it does end, the final quotation mark should be outside the final full stop. We really love our journalism course, Mr Clark said. We learn more than I ever expected. (n.b. no quote marks) And all the teachers are super cool.

13 Punctuating quotes cont. Quoting within an indirect quote: Many refugees were willing to die to find safety for their children, Mr Abbott said. When quoting within a quote, use quotation marks different from those used in the main quote: A refugee from Sri Lanka told me in a letter we are willing to die to find safety for our children, Mr Abbott told parliament. If you need to delete a word or words from a direct quote, insert an ellipsis … to show readers a cut has been made If you need to make a direct quote clear by inserting a word, place the words in brackets [like this] to signal an addition has been made

14 Quotation marks: double or single? Use single quotes in... Headlines Precedes Break-out quotes Quotes within quotes Captions


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