Presentation on theme: "Online Journalism The Writing Process Getting Organized Online Story Structure."— Presentation transcript:
Online Journalism The Writing Process Getting Organized Online Story Structure
The writing process Writing is a process, a logical sequence of steps. You follow a pattern in getting dressed each day, in baking a cake or in changing a flat tire. In the same way, your writing should be the product of a logical process. The successful writer gathers, focuses, orders, drafts and revises.
The Sixer Process 1. The first step in the process is gathering. 2. Once you have the facts, decide on a focus or theme. 3. Next, decide which of your facts are most important and place them in a logical order. 4. Write quickly from beginning to end so that you can spend time with the middle of your story and with the ending. 5.After you have written, edit your story to make it more powerful. 6.This process is not necessarily a straight line from gathering to revising.
Getting Organized Now that you have gathered the material for your story, take a minute to organize it. A minute spent in planning the story will prevent countless problems later on. 1.Look through your notes and background material. Mark the best of it, the key points and strongest quotes. 2.Decide on a focus. What is the core idea for the story? You should be able to express this theme in a sentence or two. 3.What are the main points that will support this theme? 4.It is very tempting to return from an interview and immediately begin writing a lead. 5."Writing is thinking “
Online Story Structure You have several options when it comes to the structure of your story. You can choose a chronological order, where you present the key events in your story as they occurred. It is more likely, though, that you will use one of the three traditional news forms: 1.The inverted pyramid, 2.The narrative, 3.or The hourglass…
Inverted Pyramid The most popular structure for news stories is the inverted pyramid. In the inverted pyramid, the information is arranged in descending order of importance. The most important material is placed at the beginning of the story, and less important material follows. Succeeding paragraphs explain and support the lead. The inverted pyramid is popular because it still serves readers well. It tells them quickly what they want to know. It also serves the reporter by forcing her to sharpen her news judgment, to identify and rank the most important elements of the story.
Example Inverted pyramid (starting with the conclusion)… start the article by telling the reader the conclusion ("After long debate, the Assembly voted to increase state taxes by 10 percent"), follow by the most important supporting information, and end by giving the background.
The Narrative One alternative to the inverted pyramid is narration or story telling. Narration uses scenes, anecdotes and dialogue to build to a climax. People are prominent in the story, and they are responsible for the action. The story has a beginning, middle and end. Quotations sound like real speech. The words and actions of the characters reveal motives.
Examples In narrative writing, writing that tells a story, five Ws and H (who, what, where, when, why, and how), and basic story structure, any subject can be made exciting.“ Might be fiction, or non fiction (your personal experience)
The Hourglass A third story structure, the hourglass, combines some of the best elements of both the inverted pyramid and the narrative. It consists of three parts: a top, which tells the news quickly; the turn, a nimble transition; and the narrative, a chronological retelling of events. The hourglass works well with police stories, courtroom dramas and other incidents that lend themselves to chronological narration. The hourglass has several advantages: Readers get the news high in the story; the writer gets to use storytelling techniques; and it encourages a real ending.
Begins with summary lead where main news is high in story A few paragraphs later, the story contains a turn that transitions into a narrative style A turn is a transitional paragraph that is used to tell the chronology of the story Example: “Police gave this account of the latest domestic violence:” “According to police, eyewitnesses describe the event this way…”
The News Lead The lead is your promise to the reader. It must: Capture the essence of your story, to help you decide on this theme, sometimes it helps to try the "tell-a-friend" technique. Imagine your friend asking, "What's your story about?" Answer that question in one sentence that captures the essence of the entire story. Encourage the reader to continue Think of the lead as a baited hook that lures the reader into the story.
The Rest of the Story (Body-Copy) Build strength in the middle of your story with: Background material Examples Quotes Definitions Observations
The ending The ending is often what the reader remembers most about the story, so end strong. The ending is so important that you should know how you are going to end before you start. The most common type of ending is the quote ending. Look for a quote that sums up the main idea of the story. Anther type is circle ending, you return to an idea expressed in the lead.
Exercise 1.Visit three of the biggest news sites on the Web – CNN.com, MSNBC.com and FoxNews.com – and select a major story (not a wire service report) they all have in common. Then write an outline of the story as it appears on each site, and discuss the similarities and differences in structure between the three stories. 2.When you read news stories online, do you frequently follow links on the page, or do you just read the story? Does this change depending on the look of the page, the quality of the writing or the subject of the story? Discuss the role of writing style in keeping you focused on a story.