Writing Business News for the Web - Day Two

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Jacqui Banaszynski presents "Writing Business News for the Web - Breaking News and Beyond," a Webinar hosted by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism. For more information, …

Jacqui Banaszynski presents "Writing Business News for the Web - Breaking News and Beyond," a Webinar hosted by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/aIlIwt.

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  • 1. Day Two Agenda
    • Organizing breaking news online
    • Stakeholder wheel
    • Story structures
    Photo by Flickr user The SeaFarer
  • 2. “ Yep, text still matters.” - ONA 2009 WRITING TO PURPOSE AND PLATFORM
    • Effective writing is defined by:
      • The audience you are trying to reach
      • The message you are trying to deliver
      • The medium (platform) you are using
    Photo by Flicker user Marc_Smith
  • 3. SCAN and SKIP READING HABITS
    • Less than 30 seconds on a home page
    • Less than one minute on an interior page
    SOURCE: HOA LORANGER - Director, Nielsen Normal Group, San Diego - Presented at ONA, October 2009
  • 4. BULLETS AND HIGHLIGHTS
  • 5. EFFECTIVE WEB NEWS-WRITING…
    • Form follows and serves function
      • What is core purpose of your report?
        • Alert readers to breaking news?
        • Update ongoing news?
        • Answer immediate reader questions?
        • Provide how-to information?
        • Highlight significance or impact?
  • 6. KEY ELEMENTS OF NEWS-WRITING FOR FAST WEB READING
    • Priority
    • Clarity
    • Efficiency
    • Brevity
    • Transparency
    • Audience-think (common sense)
    Photo by Flickr user timbrauhn
  • 7. SIMPLE, DIRECT SENTENCES
    • Make understanding easy and immediate
      • Context and significance are essential
        • Where did this story come from?
        • What does it mean?
      • Information needs to be literal and direct
        • Assumptions are dangerous
        • Jargon, cumbersome titles, complex numbers, etc., create speed bumps
  • 8. PRIORITIZE & SYNTHESIZE
    • PRIORITY: Make essential information fast and immediate
      • - Priority changes with audience, market and publication
  • 9. MAD COW DISEASE A public health story BUT also a business story with MULTIPLE STAKEHOLDERS and MULTIPLE STORY POSSIBILITIES
  • 10. STAKEHOLDERS GOVERNMENTS (state, national, foreign) LOBBYISTS BEEF RANCHERS MEAT PROCESSORS FOOD DISTRIBUTORS BUTCHERS GROCERY STORES RESTAURANTS CONSUMER HEALTH INSPECTORS
  • 11. THE COVERAGE PLAN
    • What is the immediate news?
    • What is the most important question to answer for YOUR readers?
    • What can you get from the wire, and what should you get yourself?
    • What’s the second-day story?
    • What are the longer-range stories?
  • 12. “ Stakeholder Wheel”
    • Quick identification of everyone who is a source and subject
    • Also identifies secondary sources & audiences for in-depth enterprise follow-ups
      • News is the HUB of the wheel
      • Primary stakeholders are the SPOKES
      • Secondary stakeholders are the RIM
  • 13. BE REPETITIVE
    • Don’t assume readers have followed every update
    • - Consider a WHAT HAPPENED box to anchor follow-ups
    • Don’t assume readers know why a story is significant
    • - Consider a SO WHAT box
        • In complex stories, highlight significance by audience
  • 14. NEW AGE INVERTED PYRAMID
    • Prioritize and synthesize the news
    • Summarize context, scope, significance (nut graf)
    • Return to the news, writing quickly in prioritized order
  • 15. SUMMARY NUT LEDE News Context Significance, Scope, Impact Anchor quote General attribution Transition to what’s to come NEWS BIT NEWS BIT NEWS BIT NEWS BIT NEWS BIT
  • 16. BREAKING NEWS WITH BACKSTORY
    • Structure that allows quick news/nut summary top, then tells rest of the story chronologically or by hierarchical topic
  • 17. SUMMARY NUT LEDE News Context Significance, Scope, Impact Anchor quote General attribution Transition to what’s to come START AT THE BEGINNING CONTINUE CHRONOLOGY NEXT/BUILDING CHRONO OR TENSION NEXT/KEEP BUILDING KICKER
  • 18. NEWS TOTEM
    • Inverted pyramid but with news sub-items that can’t be easily prioritized in a descending hierarchy
    • Lede & nut graf: includes mention of all key sub-items
    • Then sub-items of news expanded on on by one
  • 19. LEDE SUMMARY NUT News Context Significance, Scope, Impact Anchor quote General attribution Transition to what’s to come NEWS BIT NEWS BIT NEWS BIT NEWS BIT NEWS BIT
  • 20. EFFICIENCY
    • Write and organize material for the fastest understanding
      • Write for “snapshot” reading and scans
      • Highlight key news bits to be easily found
      • Organize your reporting, writing and packaging in a way that helps you and readers
    Photo by Flickr user BigTallGuy
  • 21. LABELS and LINKS
    • Fatalities and injuries: xxxx
    • Property and crop damage: xxxx
    • Civic disruption: xxxx
    • The response: xxxx
    • How the story developed: xxxx
    • Where to get help: xxxx
  • 22. The i-Pad NEWS, DECONSTRUCTED
    • The announcement: xxx
    • Functions: xxx
    • Cost: xxx
    • Competition: xxx
    • Consumer reaction: xxx
  • 23. HORIZONTAL NEWS TOTEM
    • When sub-items in a story are of equal interest to different audiences
    • Allows readers to get summary of story and then identify which sub-item they want to read first
  • 24. LEDE SUMMARY NUT News Context Significance, Scope, Impact Anchor quote General attribution Transition to what’s to come NEWS BIT NEWS BIT NEWS BIT NEWS BIT NEWS BIT
  • 25. Imagine This Story Redone
  • 26. A Possible Web Rewrite
    • Another $204 million will be cut from the Missouri state budget, Gov. Jay Nixon announced at a news conference at 2 p.m. Wednesday.
    • Key to those cuts:
    • The elimination of 650 full- and part-time jobs, mostly through layoffs.
    • Savings of $32 million by aligning Medicaid reimbursements with federal rates.
    • Cuts already made this year: $634 million including 1,700 full-time jobs.
    • What’s causing the cuts: State revenues are down 10 percent this year, Nixon said. Missouri state statute requires a balanced budget.
    • What’s next: Nixon did not identify specific jobs to be cut. He said he hoped revenues would increase, but did not rule out additional cuts.
  • 27. TRANSPARENCY
    • Be clear about source and credibility of information
      • If information is not verified, say so
    • Consider sourcing boxes
      • Don’t clutter copy with unnecessary or awkward attribution
  • 28. KNOW S-E-O Speak
    • Overt about location
    • Mega-tagging of searchable words
  • 29. Questions?