2 What Do I Mean by Human-Interest Stories? Synonymous with Journalism term: “Feature Story”The stories you see in the Sunday paperMagazine stories in Time, etc.Profiling a person or eventAppeals to the reader’s emotions or personal interests
3 The Benefits of Learning Human-Interest Writing for Technical Writers Basic journalism techniques can help to:Expand your audienceBring a more emotional and memorable impactAllow for different perspectivesBring persuasiveness for Marketing and PR writingAdd more skills to your writing repertoireJournalism writing tells a story…grabs the reader. Provides conventions…As Technical writers, we’re trained to know our audience and understand how they will use our documents. By learning techniques of storytelling and journalims, you will have the ability to reach out to other audiences. Plus you’ll understand what it takes to grab a reader’s attention. Write something they want to read.Think about the PosTComm audience. Probably alumini, current students faculty…reading it for leasure. They want to read about interesting stories, updates on what’s new and happening.Satsifying to tell a good story, have a dialog with your reader…to engage them
4 How to Write a Human-Interest Story AudiencePurposeStructureBreakout Session—Finding the AngleposTCommTips for Writing Your Stories
5 Audience Technical Writing versus Human-Interest Writing Specific Audience research is very important before drafting a report or documentationReading for informationBroadExample: posTComm audience includes alumni, perspective students, donors, etc.Reading for leisure or personal interest
6 How to Write a Human-Interest Story AudiencePurposeStructureBreakout Session—Finding the AngleposTCommTips for Writing Your Stories
7 Purpose Technical Writing versus Human-Interest Writing To provide information:UsefulTo provide the reader with a story:5 W’sCompellingImpactPeoplePerspectiveIn DepthRevealingIf the reader can’t find the story, they get frustrated and STOP reading!Point of similarity--as technical communicators, we understand this very well. So once I’ve introduced to these basics, we will be very aware of what our readers want to read.
8 How to Write a Human-Interest Story AudiencePurposeStructureBreakout Session—Finding the AngleposTCommTips for Writing Your Stories
9 Structure Technical Writing versus Human-Interest Writing Thesis statement about points 1, 2, 3.Point 1Point 2Point 3ConclusionThesis statement--LeadJournalism--Inverted PyramidMost relevant details to the least relevant details of the story
10 Technical Writing Example This study investigated how teachers planned for and involved their diversestudents in classroom writing activity. Three strands of literature were relevantto understanding the ways teachers might foster students’ participation inwriting tasks. First, research and theoretical positions that illuminate thenature of writing activity, writing development, and related conceptions ofteacher support provide information about influences on conceptions of writinginstruction. Second, studies of writing instruction provide understandings ofteachers’ role in planning…Salient structure--if our reader is going to invest time, we want to provide them with easy access to information. Very dry and boring though, not leisure reading.
11 The first sentence is the “lead”—who, what, Journalism ExampleThe first sentence is the “lead”—who, what,where, when, whySESTRIERE, Italy - The 21-year-old Californian Julia Mancuso earned astunning victory in the giant slalom today in snowy, foggy conditions to salvage adisappointing Olympics for the U.S. women's ski team.“2006 Olympics: Julia Mancuso skied to the rescue in the nick of time.”By Associated Press February 24, 2006Reader doesn’t want to invest time--newspapers and magazines as a medium, no one really wants to invest the time. This is for leisure or personal interest and they want a story. So journalists give it to them in one sentence. If the want to keep reading, this is where the inverted pyramid comes in…
12 Structure—Inverted Pyramid Tell your reader the end first….Lead Info2nd Most Important Fact3rd Most Impt. Fact4th Most Impt.Most common story structure. Historical significance to this as well. Give the reader a story, if they read on, you provide some details. However, this structure prepares for editors--in the past, if you story was too long, it didn’t fit in the layout and the deadline was a few hours away, the ending was chopped.LeastRelevantInfo
13 Components of a Human-Interest Story HeadlineBylineLeadStory up highBodyStory DetailsQuotesBrings voice and insight from another sourceEnding (The Kicker)Expands on significance…memorable endingYour human-interest story will look like a journalism story. Conventions for storytelling in the newspaper , magazine, or newsletter medium. Ending-What happens next. Helpful to use quote kickers
14 The Feature Lead: How to Begin Your Human-Interest Story Leads are importantGrab their attentionTell them the storyTell them what’s in storeTypes of feature leadsNarrativeAnecdotalDescriptiveFocus-on-the-personNut Graph3rd or paragraph into storyDon’t keep audience guessingFocusSo I introduced you to some basic journalism structures for hard news story. In journo…two types of stories: hard news and features. Now, the lead is just as important for a feature story--but it’s the story that we’re building on in the feature lead. We are involving the reader with the story, so we have some license about how we can deliver the story. Here are some types of leads that build off that principle. But the nut graph is critical if you are beginning your story in a more round-about way. Remember, the reader wants the story before they keep reading. Narrative-tells a story with enough dramatic action so readers feel like witnesses
15 The first sentence is the “lead”—who, what, Journalism ExampleThe first sentence is the “lead”—who, what,where, when, whySESTRIERE, Italy - The 21-year-old Californian Julia Mancuso earned astunning victory in the giant slalom today in snowy, foggy conditions to salvage adisappointing Olympics for the U.S. women's ski team.“2006 Olympics: Julia Mancuso skied to the rescue in the nick of time.”By Associated Press February 24, 2006
16 Strategies for Writing Interesting Human-Interest Leads “Mancuso fastest in snowstorm, wins giant slalom”By Elliott Almond, San Jose Mercury NewsFebruary 25TURIN, Italy — Since she was a child, Julia Mancuso wantedto be crowned a champion. The California skier even worea tiara during one of her races last week.Now she doesn't have to pretend after slicing through ablinding snowstorm Friday to capture America's first goldmedal in the giant slalom since 1984 — the year she was born.Narrative elementsAnecdotalDescriptiveSets a sceneFocuses on personNut GraphThis story is about her winning a medal in the giant slalomAnswers the 5 W’sFind the story angle and begin your story!
17 How to Write a Human-Interest Story AudiencePurposeStructureBreakout Session—Finding the AngleposTCommTips for Writing Your Stories
18 Break Out Session: Review Statistics and Find an Angle Analyze the data:Which statistics have the most impact?Which do you find the most interesting?Find the possible angles:What would appeals to a broader audience?What would makes an emotional impact?This is a great exercise because this is how it happens when you write a human-interest story. You are assigned a story--in this case research funding at UW. You do the research--stats--and find the angle. This is from a year ago, but it’s an example that hits close to home…pair up, 5-10 minutes.
19 Break Out Session: Evaluate Feature Leads Read the article published in the Seattle Times:Is it effective?What grabs you about this lead?Did you like or dislike the techniques the writer used?Discuss some differences you findWhy are these difference important?How could you apply this to a technical communication story?
20 How to Write a Human-Interest Story AudiencePurposeStructureBreakout Session—Finding the AngleposTCommTips for Writing Your Stories
21 Rewards of Writing for posTComm Learn layout skillsSTC recognitionGet in touch with alumniCrete a publication that represents the TC departmentGive back to the TC departmentPride
22 Examples of posTComm Stories for 2006 Beth Kolko goes to the UN Summit on Technology in TunisiaSTC Career Fair: March 28Student Internships--Los AlamosFaculty profiles--New HireAnita Salem (MSTC graduate) and her work with the Red CrossRelay for Life team and event
23 How to Write a Human-Interest Story AudiencePurposeStructureBreakout Session—Finding the AngleposTCommTips for Writing Your Stories
24 Tips for Writing Human-Interest Leads The lead comes from the storyBuild on a quoteFocus on a personMemorable fact or impression from an interviewPut yourself in the reader’s shoesNever make up a lead or pull one out of thin air or from your head…difficult to do and probably won’t work with your story. Get inspiration from your story since it contains the focus of the story.Try Several Versions and Don’t Give Up!
25 Add’l Tips—Tips for Story Writing Structure is looserThink cinematicallyLong shot: Establish backgroundClose-up or zoom in: Main characterPoint of View shotsThe Five S’sSo come on inSo what?So and soSo thereforeSo long!End your story with a kickerEnding with a quote is always a good strategyPOV of person, POV of field, POV of projectFiction writing techniques: scene setting, dialog, foreshadowing
26 Add’l Tips—Tips for Interviewing Brings voice and insight from another sourcePlanning the InterviewResearch interviewee’s background, facts of storyOpen-end vs. closed ended questionsNote-takingTape recorder (have back-up)Slow the pace of the interviewRewrite notes after it’s over
27 Thank you! Email Judy, Kate Long, or Kirsten for more information