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Revising and Editing News Writing.

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Presentation on theme: "Revising and Editing News Writing."— Presentation transcript:

1 Revising and Editing News Writing

2 All Writing is Rewriting
How to revise and edit news stories

3 L-Q-T-Q Remember the basic formula. Use the LQTQ handout. Write a lead that quickly and clearly indicates the focus of the story. The next paragraph supplies the details and remaining 5W’s. Next, use a quote from your subject that summarizes the story or provides an additional detail, opinion or emotion. Write a transition to the next quote or thought. Use another quote. And so on … This slide can be used as a reminder on a day that students are primarily working on their stories. Other than this slide, this lesson is about rewriting and self-editing, after an initial draft is complete. *

4 Remember, short paragraphs
In English class, a complete paragraph has a topic sentence and support. In news writing, the topic sentence is one paragraph and each item of support is ANOTHER new paragraph. In news writing, you need a new paragraph for each new idea. Every quote gets its own paragraph. Bottom line: You will write with LOTS of SHORT paragraphs. No big long blocks of text. Shorter paragraphs break up the text and make it more inviting for the reader, online or in the newspaper or yearbook. Do a test. Pick any student story and take all of the paragraphs out of it. Then put it side-by-side with one that has all the paragraphs in it. Ask the students which they would be more likely to read. Even though the one with paragraphs looks longer, it also is more inviting and most of your students will agree it looks easier to read. *

5 When you’ve written your story...
High-five yourself. Good story. Now make it better. Most stories, even yours, require rethinking, rewriting, restructuring, rewording. Stop thinking that it is perfect just the way it is. You can do better. Everyone rewrites. The next few slides will help you decide what needs to be improved … Every teacher knows that there is nothing students hate more than the “do over”, which is what they think of rewriting. It doesn’t help that most standardized writing assessments are timed writing assignments in which they are graded on how well they can write a draft. So of course they think it’s finished. IT IS NOT. It is the job of the journalism teacher, more than any other, to drive the notion of first draft as completed work out of the heads of students. You really have to SELL the rewriting and editing process. GOOD LUCK. * *

6 It’s perfectly OK to write garbage – as long as you edit brilliantly.”
“I’m always surprised that people think professional writers get everything right on the first try. Just the opposite is true; nobody rewrites more often than the true professional.” — William Zinsser, author of On Writing Well It’s perfectly OK to write garbage – as long as you edit brilliantly.” — C.J. Cherryh, science fiction writer *

7 — Ron French, The Detroit News
“A reporter who doesn’t rewrite has tight deadlines, bad habits or both. (In fact, I rewrote the above sentence twice.)” — Ron French, The Detroit News “I don’t write. I rewrite. My stories come about more like rocking a car back and forth in a ditch … Eventually it gets out and I’m on my way.” — Tim Nelson, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn. *

8 The rewriting process is not:
making your handwriting neater and leaving out all of your scratch-outs. using the thesaurus to find bigger words. typing exactly what you wrote by hand. running spell check and grammar check and fixing the things it tells you to. (Although that is a good thing to do.) adding extra words and more people saying the same thing to make it longer. *

9 Making it better, Step 1: Run spell-check. Correct typos, spelling errors and obvious grammar errors. Check names, dates and facts. Run a word count. If you have 500 words for a 350-word article, that’s good. If you have 200 words, stop right there. You need to do more interviewing before you go on. THINK: What am I missing? *

10 Making it better, Step 2: Read your story out loud.
Stop and mark any place where you stumble, pause, or have to reread. Take a look at the sentences that your word processor has underlined for grammar errors (that green squiggly line). Check for a subject and verb in every sentence. Rewrite every sentence you or the computer marked. *

11 anything that sounds hollow, strange, bad poor grammar and syntax
Read out loud Listen for … clumsy spots excessive length anything that sounds hollow, strange, bad poor grammar and syntax It’s very difficult to get kids to do this. Try making them all read their stories out loud at once. If everyone is doing it, then it’s not so strange. Or, have one student read another’s work out loud to the writer. Usually, once students do this, they understand why it should be done. Getting them to do it consistently is the trick. * *

12 Making it better, Step 3: quotes
Reread all your quotes. Reread your notes for other quotes that might work better or fit better. Don’t have good quotes? Go back and conduct more interviews. Double-check names and spellings. Add your own observations about what it looked like and sounded like. No opinions! *

13 Making it better, Step 4: balance
Reread all your quotes. Do they represent various perspectives, stakeholders, constituents, sides of an issue? Are all the important points made by the people who are in disagreement? Double-check your own words. Eliminate any personal pronouns not in quotes (we, our, us, my, me, I). Make sure you are not expressing an opinion. *

14 Making it better, Step 5: verbs
Circle all the –ly words. Can you take out the adverb without changing the meaning of the sentence? Then do. Can you improve the sentence with a stronger verb? Use the verb and take out the adverb. *

15 More on verbs Circle all the –ing words and all the instances of “is”, “was” or “has.” Can you change the verb to an active verb (“walked” instead of “was walking”)? Is the sentence written in active voice? (Who – did what – to whom) Can you improve the sentence with a stronger verb? Use it. *

16 Making it better, Step 6: lead
Go back and reread your lead. Count the words. If it’s over 30, that’s way too many. Make it shorter. Are all of the 5W’s and H covered in the first two or three paragraphs? If not, add what’s missing. Does the lead grab the reader and tell what the story is about? If not, write one that does. *

17 Making it better, Step 7: ending
Reread your ending. Is it a quote that summarizes or adds a twist to the story? Then go on to the final step. Is it an essay-like conclusion that you wrote yourself? REWRITE it. Try to find a kicker quote. Don’t ruin a great news story by editorializing at the end. *

18 Making it better, Step 8: finally!
Run spell-check again and correct errors. Check your word count again. If your word count is close to the word count you were given, your story is ready for a peer edit. If it’s still too long, go through it again, looking for any place you repeat yourself or where you can say something in fewer words. If it’s still too short, go back to Step 3. *

19 Details and description Style and grammar
Is your story a GQ STUDS? Great Quotes Strong start Transitions Unique angle Details and description Style and grammar Use the GQ STUDS handout as a simple peer critique sheet, or for self-critique. If you prefer, you can use the more detailed Peer Editing for News worksheet. * *

20 *

21 Checklist for news stories
Are the most important and recent facts first? Is the story accurate? Are all sources identified? Are the paragraphs short? Is the sentence structure varied in the story? Is the story formatted so it is easy to read? Does your story flow? Did you use the transition/quote (L-Q-T-Q) formula? Did you use active voice? This is another quick-check list that can be used for peer critique or self-critique. There is also a more thorough two-page peer editing worksheet that can be used for peer edits.

22 First draft rubric Interview sources and quotes(at least three sources) ________ / 20 possible Organization/sentence fluency (clarity and wordiness) _______ / 20 Focus (on topic from beginning to end) ____ / 20 Compelling lead and conclusion _______ / 20   Conventions (names spelled correctly; correct capitalization and punctuation; correct grammar and spelling. More than five errors = 0) ______ / 20 Total______________100 possible And this is another possible assessment that can be used for your grading or for self-critique or peer critique. There is also a more complete News Writing Rubric to use as a handout or for grading news stories. * *

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