Review of last week’s news Hard News: Hard News: (murder, City Council, government, etc.) –Major local stories –Major national/international stories –Major sports stories Soft News: Soft News: (retirements, school programs, human interest) –Local stories –National/International stories –Sports stories Statesman Statesman Today’s Front Pages Today’s Front Pages Today’s Front Pages Today’s Front Pages
Announcements Who you are Who you are –Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors –English, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Criminology, International Relations, Writing Studies, Computer Science, Communication, Environmental, Studies, undecided majors –Aspiring speech-language pathologists, columnists, lawyers, broadcast journalists, reporters, travel writers, Foreign Service, National Geographic photographer/writer, authors, many unsure! –All curious and interested in improving writing!
Extra Credit Opportunities Laurie Hertzel Presentation Laurie Hertzel Presentation –Anyone attend? –5 paragraph summary due September 24 –Will be posted on class website Marty Weintraub/Manny Rivas Presentation Marty Weintraub/Manny Rivas Presentation –Anyone attend? –5 paragraph summary due September 24 –Will be posted on class website
Let’s turn in Duluth News- Tribune Analysis What did you learn???? What did you learn???? Using the Thursday, September 16 Duluth News-Tribune, list the stories on the front page, local section and the sports pages. Keep evaluations brief: no more than three sentences each. Using the Thursday, September 16 Duluth News-Tribune, list the stories on the front page, local section and the sports pages. Keep evaluations brief: no more than three sentences each.
Chapter 3: Newswriting Basics Summary lead literally sums up the story in the lead, giving the reader the most important information first Summary lead literally sums up the story in the lead, giving the reader the most important information first Developed in Civil War when stories sent by telegraph Developed in Civil War when stories sent by telegraph Continued into the 1970s with wire service telegraph machines Continued into the 1970s with wire service telegraph machines
Just the facts –Good reporters respect integrity of facts. –Facts tell the story. –Readers draw their own conclusions. You must try to be objective. Truthful. Fair. Where do opinions belong in a newspaper? Most newspaper stories can be placed on a continuum. Ranges from rigidly objective (breaking news) to rabidly opinionated (movie reviews).
The 5 Ws and H! Who? Who? What? What? When? When? Where? Where? Why? Why? How? How? Focal point determines emphasis in lead
The WHO –Readers love stories that focus on people. –WHO keeps it real. Who’s involved? Who’s affected? Who’s going to benefit? Who’s getting screwed? The WHAT –WHAT gives news its substance. Stories become dry and dull if they focus too much on WHAT. Need WHO.
The WHEN –Timeliness essential to every story. When events happened or will happen. How long they lasted or will last. The WHERE –The closer the event, the more relevant it is for readers. –Many stories require supplements. Map Diagram Photo
The WHY –Finding explanations difficult. –The WHY is what makes news meaningful. The HOW –Often requires detailed explanation. –Sometimes omitted to save space. –Readers love “how- to” stories.
Inverted pyramid Put the most important news first Put the most important news first Organize the rest of the paragraphs in descending order of importance Organize the rest of the paragraphs in descending order of importance Why? Lets readers quickly scan a newspaper story and decide whether to continue reading it Why? Lets readers quickly scan a newspaper story and decide whether to continue reading it Different from short stories, novels, most feature stories Different from short stories, novels, most feature stories Easy to cut stories as needed to fit news hole Easy to cut stories as needed to fit news hole
The inverted pyramid Newswriting format summarizes most important facts at story’s start This is the lead, which summarizes the story’s most important facts This paragraph adds more details or background This paragraph adds even more details This adds more details More details
Writing basic news leads –Collect all your facts. Lead should summarize. The more you know, the easier it is to summarize. How to write an effective news lead –Sum it up. Boil it down. List who, what, when, where, why of story.
Writing basic news leads –Prioritize the five W’s. Lead contains the most important facts. Which of the key facts deserves to start the first sentence? How to write an effective news lead –Rethink. Revise. Rewrite. Is it clear? Is it active? Is it wordy? Is it compelling?
Writing basic news leads –Writing leads often a process of trial and error. Try different approaches. How to write an effective news lead –Create different leads using the… Who. What. When. Where. Why.
Beyond the basic news lead Be accurate. Be accurate. Remember what day it is. Remember what day it is. Don’t name names. Don’t name names. Use strong verbs. Use strong verbs. Story checklist Ask “Why should I care?” Ask “Why should I care?” Sell the story. Sell the story. Don’t get hung up. Don’t get hung up. Move attributions to the end of the sentences. Move attributions to the end of the sentences.
Leads that succeed –Basic news leads –Anecdotal/ narrative leads –Scene-setter leads –Blind leads –Roundup leads A roundup of commonly used options –Direct address leads –The startling statement –Wordplay leads
Leads that succeed –Basic news leads Summary lead –Combines five W’s into one sentence. Delayed identification lead –Withholds the name of the person in question until the second paragraph Immediate identification lead –Uses a public figure or celebrity in the sentence.
Leads that succeed –Anecdotal/ narrative leads Have a beginning, middle and end. Will be mini-story with symbolic resonance for bigger story. –Scene-setter leads Lack urgency of hard- news leads. Borrowed from fiction. –Blind leads Extreme delayed information lead. –Deliberately teases reader.
Leads that succeed –Roundup leads Rather than focus on one person, place or thing, impress reader with longer list. –Direct address leads Use second-person voice. –The startling statement Also called a “zinger” or a “Hey, Martha.” –Wordplay leads Encompass wide range of amusing leads.
Leads that succeed –Topic leads Convey no actual news. –Question leads Are irritating stalls. –Quote leads Don’t fairly summarize the story. …and three lazy leads you should usually reconsider
After the lead…what next? –Know how long the story should be. Add another paragraph Write the nut graf –Paragraph that condenses the story idea into nutshell. Briefs and brites: Brief – written using the inverted pyramid. Brite – written with more personality than a brief.
The lead Key facts in inverted- pyramid form Chronology of events Kicker Story structure –The martini glass Use for: –Crimes. –Disasters. –Dramatic stories. Giving an overall shape to writing
Story structure –The kabob Also called Wall Street Journal formula or the Circle. Use for: –Trends. –Events where you want to show actual people. Giving an overall shape to writing Anecdote Nut graf Meat Anecdote
Story structure –Modern journalist’s job basically boils down to Teaching. Storytelling. Keeping readers from getting bored –Use narratives when you can. –Think like a teacher.
Story structure –Keep paragraphs short. –Write one idea per paragraph. –Add transitions. Writing tips as you move from paragraph to paragraph Alternatives to long, gray news stories Bullet items Sidebars Subheads Other storytelling alternatives
Story structure –Good writers agonize over the kicker as much as the lead. Plan ahead. Don’t end with a summary. Avoid clichés. End with a bang. The big finish
Rewriting –Writing is rewriting. Make things a little better. Few stories arrive fully formed and perfectly phrased. Most require rethinking, restructuring and rewording. Good story. Now make it better.
Rewriting –Passive verbs Start sentences with their subjects. Replace to be with stronger verbs. –Redundancy Avoid unnecessary modifiers. Reasons to hit the delete key 5 –Wordy sentences –Jargon & journalese Filter out jargon and officialese. –Clichés Lower the IQ of your writing.
Active voice Write in active/rather than passive voice Write in active/rather than passive voice What’s the difference? What’s the difference? –In active voice, the subject performs the action expressed in the verb; the subject acts –In passive voice, the subject receives the action expressed in the verb; the subject is acted upon Active voice doesn’t mean present tense Active voice doesn’t mean present tense
Huh? Active voice: Subject acts Active voice: Subject acts –The dog bit the boy. –Mary will present her research at the conference. –Scientists tested the hypothesis by conducting experiments. Passive voice: Subject acted upon Passive voice: Subject acted upon –The boy was bitten by the dog. –Research will be presented by Mary at the conference. –Experiments have been conducted to test the hypothesis.
Rewriting –Find typical example. –Average number of words per sentence. –Number of “hard” words with 3 or more syllables (no proper names). The Fog Index – a readability gauge –Add average number of words to number of “hard” words. –Multiply the sum by 0.4.
Rewriting –Most Americans read at or about 9 th -grade level. Aim for Fog Index of 7 to 8. Bible, Mark Twain, TV Guide have Fog Index around 6. The Fog Index – a readability gauge
Editing –Before you write Assigning story. Planning angle. Estimating scope. Anticipating packaging. The role editors play in your stories –While you write Adding details. Monitoring speed. Fine-tuning. Layout changes.
Editing –After you write Editing content. Copy editing. Cutting or padding. Assigning follow-up stories. The role editors play in your stories
Newswriting style –Every news outlet customizes guidelines. –Copy desk’s job to standardize style. –Know AP and your news outlet’s style. Who’s right?
66 newswriting tips –Writing leads –The rest of the story –Editing and style –Rules of grammar –Word choices Nonsexist, nonageist, nondiscriminatory –Punctuation
No two leads the same Reporters covering the same story will write different leads Reporters covering the same story will write different leads Examples from Duluth News-Tribune and Minneapolis Star Tribune Examples from Duluth News-Tribune and Minneapolis Star Tribune
How to write a summary lead Usually a single sentence Usually a single sentence No more than 35 words No more than 35 words Bottom line: –Use a single sentence of no more than 35 words in a summary lead
Identifying the focal point Which W or H is the focal point? Which W or H is the focal point? Let’s practice: Let’s practice: –The search for a new president for the university has been temporarily postponed. Who: What: When: Where: Why: How: Focal point?
Mayor Jane Doe announced today that she will not seek re-election next year. Mayor Jane Doe announced today that she will not seek re-election next year. –Who: –What: –When: –Where: –Why: –How: Focal point?
In an effort to increase awareness on campus, the UMD Kirby Program Board has appointed a new coordinator, and she plans to use more advertising to bring about change. In an effort to increase awareness on campus, the UMD Kirby Program Board has appointed a new coordinator, and she plans to use more advertising to bring about change. –Who: –What: –When: –Where: –Why: –How: Focal point?
What’s the bottom line for a summary lead? 1. Usually a single sentence of no more than 35 words. 2. Usually as long as needed to tell story. 3. Usually two sentences of no more than 35 words.
How I write a lead When starting to write a story, I often write out all of my notes, including the direct quotes When starting to write a story, I often write out all of my notes, including the direct quotes Lead often becomes clear in the second graph Lead often becomes clear in the second graph When leaving a meeting, speech, etc., ask myself: What would I tell my friend, husband, person passing in the street? When leaving a meeting, speech, etc., ask myself: What would I tell my friend, husband, person passing in the street? What happened? What happened? Who cares? Who cares?
Summary of summary leads Don’t go with the first lead Don’t go with the first lead Avoid unnecessary words Avoid unnecessary words Avoid gobbledygook Avoid gobbledygook –Government jargon Write clearly, concisely Write clearly, concisely Use vivid verbs Use vivid verbs Use colorful words Use colorful words
Journalism Case Studies Throughout semester we’ll look at ethical dilemmas journalists face on the job Throughout semester we’ll look at ethical dilemmas journalists face on the job –Compiled by University of Indiana School of Journalism Today: When Journalists Play God Today: When Journalists Play GodWhen Journalists Play GodWhen Journalists Play God
Hard News 1 Story Assignment Work in teams to interview Duluth citizens Work in teams to interview Duluth citizens Each reporter writes own story Each reporter writes own story Interview 8-10 Duluth residents Interview 8-10 Duluth residents –Might not use all sources in story –List all sources, with contact info, at end of story Groups of 1 to 2 Groups of 1 to 2 Stories will be posted on class website: Stories will be posted on class website: –Fall Jour 2001 Website Fall Jour 2001 WebsiteFall Jour 2001 Website
Let’s brainstorm ideas of where Duluth residents gather: Canal Park Canal Park DECC DECC Miller Hall Mall Miller Hall Mall Holiday Inn Bus Hub Holiday Inn Bus Hub Grocery store Grocery store Coffee shop Coffee shop Walgreens Bus Hub Walgreens Bus Hub UMD Kirby Student Center UMD Kirby Student Center Food Court Food Court Solon Campus Center Solon Campus Center High schools High schools
Ideas from 2008 Greyhound bus station West Duluth Greyhound bus station West Duluth Amazing Grace café in Canal Park Amazing Grace café in Canal Park Fond du Luth Casino/Old Downtown Fond du Luth Casino/Old Downtown First Street/Cozy Bar/Encounter First Street/Cozy Bar/Encounter Gas station Gas station Miller Hill Mall bus stop Miller Hill Mall bus stop Pizza Luce concert Pizza Luce concert Courthouse Courtyard Courthouse Courtyard Public library Public library Canal Park/Lift bridge Canal Park/Lift bridge WalMart WalMart Dunn Brothers coffee shop Dunn Brothers coffee shop
Ideas from 2007 UMD Dining Center/Kirby Student Center UMD Dining Center/Kirby Student Center Northland Gaming Center Northland Gaming Center –Lincoln Park/West End Encounter/Cozy Bar corner (2 nd Ave. E. & First St.) Encounter/Cozy Bar corner (2 nd Ave. E. & First St.) Spirit Mountain Spirit Mountain Miller Hill Mall Miller Hill Mall Community Center Community Center DECC: Hockey game DECC: Hockey game Downtown: Superior Street Downtown: Superior Street Marshal Performing Arts Center: Play Marshal Performing Arts Center: Play
Hard News 1 Story Pitch Due: September 27 Length of story pitch: three paragraphs, about 200 words Length of story pitch: three paragraphs, about 200 words Include the 5 Ws and H: what makes this story newsworthy Include the 5 Ws and H: what makes this story newsworthy
Sample story pitch Michelle Skarp Michelle Skarp Michelle Skarp Michelle Skarp –What’s missing from list of questions?
In-class assignment for 9/27 To help you prepare for interviewing sources, during next week’s class you will be interviewing Lucy Kragness. She will review her background, and each student will ask at least one question. –Assume story assignment for the Statesman –To prepare, review website, write out questions in advance. http://www.d.umn.edu/~lkragnes http://www.d.umn.edu/~lkragnes
Out-of-class assignment for 9/27 Summary lead exercises Summary lead exercises –Steps to help you: Identify the five Ws and H What’s the focal point? –Determine what’s the most important to include –Reminder: Summary lead contains no more than 35 words –Email assignment, written in Microsoft Word, as an attachment to email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Be a Reporter and Be an Editor through NewsU Be a Reporter and Be an Editor through NewsU Chapter 4 Quiz Chapter 4 Quiz
Today’s assignment AP Stylebook editing practice AP Stylebook editing practice Summary lead exercise Summary lead exercise –Steps to help you: Identify the five Ws and H –Who? –What? –When? –Where? –Why? –How? What’s the focal point? –Determine what’s the most important to include –Reminder: Summary lead contains no more than 35 words –Email assignment, written in Microsoft Word, as an attachment to email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org