Developing A News Story


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This lecture focuses on the process of developing your news story.

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Developing A News Story

  1. 1. Developing a News Story JOURN 305
  2. 2. What gets coverage? <ul><li>There are several variables determining news coverage </li></ul><ul><li>The largest variable is the impact that the story has on the readership/public </li></ul>
  3. 3. Other Factors <ul><li>“ Real world” factors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reporter interest/prejudice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Exclusive” access </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Competition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Size of the market </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other breaking news </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Covering Developing Stories <ul><li>Each story has its own life cycle </li></ul><ul><li>There may be several “phases” to the reporting of the story </li></ul>
  5. 5. Phase 1 <ul><li>Breaking news </li></ul><ul><li>Front-page placement </li></ul><ul><li>Reporting may be limited to initial info </li></ul><ul><li>Time is critical </li></ul><ul><li>Details updated when available </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For Web and broadcast </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Mainbars vs. Sidebars <ul><li>Mainbar = primary story </li></ul><ul><li>Sidebar = related story </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Usually human interest angle </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Example <ul><li>Mainbar </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The New York Times runs a front-page story on memorial events marking the 5-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sidebar </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The New York Times revisits the families for a human-interest profile (“Portraits of Grief”) </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Example <ul><li>Billboard , May 29, 1999 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Anti-Copy Plan Would &quot;Filter' Downloads </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Phase 2 <ul><li>Follow-up story with more details </li></ul><ul><li>Focuses more on the why and how </li></ul><ul><li>May or may not be front-page news </li></ul>
  10. 10. Example <ul><li>Billboard , June 5, 1999 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>SDMI's &quot;Trigger' Framework Nears Fruition - Some In Online Biz Decry Plan As Attack On Freedom </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Second-day Stories <ul><li>After the initial “breaking news” is reported, a follow-up story that runs a day later will need a new angle </li></ul><ul><li>“Second-day lead” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Puts the initial event into perspective </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Offers more information and analysis </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Example <ul><li>The space shuttle Columbia explodes on Feb. 1, 2003 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All seven astronauts die </li></ul></ul><ul><li>On Feb. 2, the initial event is still important, but it is no longer “breaking news” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Second-day lead focuses on: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Reactions from public </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Safety of the NASA program </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Investigation of the cause of the mishap </li></ul></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Example <ul><li>Phase 1: &quot;Breaking News&quot; One Killed at Stockton &quot;Sideshow&quot; Phase 2: &quot;Second-Day Lead&quot; Second &quot;Sideshow&quot; Victim ID'd </li></ul>
  14. 14. Example <ul><li>Breaking news: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Man charged with murder hours after girlfriend taken off life support </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Follow-up: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Autopsy puts end to murder charges </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Phase 3 <ul><li>New angles on old stories </li></ul><ul><li>Human-interest angle </li></ul><ul><li>In-depth analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Follow-up on events </li></ul>
  16. 16. Phase 4 <ul><li>Most reporters have moved on </li></ul><ul><li>Findings of long-term investigations </li></ul><ul><li>New developments from the original event are uncovered </li></ul>
  17. 17. Internet Reporting <ul><li>On the Web, your first version of a news story will likely be updated as new info comes in </li></ul>
  18. 18. Developing Story Checklist <ul><li>Latest news gets highest placement </li></ul><ul><li>Include original breaking news high in follow-up stories </li></ul><ul><li>If possible, go on location </li></ul><ul><li>Humanize the story </li></ul><ul><li>Find a new or unique angle </li></ul><ul><li>Add to your sources </li></ul><ul><li>Coordinate multimedia and graphics </li></ul>
  19. 19. In-Class Writing Assignment <ul><li>Go to the class blog for information on writing a “second-day lead” story </li></ul><ul><li>The original story is provided </li></ul><ul><li>Facts and a quote are provided for the “second-day” lead story </li></ul>