Organizing A News Story


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This lecture focuses the organization process in telling a news story.

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Organizing A News Story

  1. 1. Organizing a News Story
  2. 2. Inverted-Pyramid Style: The Industry Standard “What goes into my story and where?” Organizing your news story • The lede or broad opening: – Who, what, where, when and usually why. – Usually the first sentence or two of the first paragraph • The body of the story – Support material: quotes, background material, etc. – Traditionally in decreasing levels of importance • The conclusion
  3. 3. When to Use Inverted-Pyramid • If your story demands that you get to the point ASAP • Breaking news stories frequently use the inverted-pyramid lede
  4. 4. Body of the Story • What comes after the summary lede in breaking news? • Present the news in order of descending importance
  5. 5. Body of the Story • After the lede, you introduce other important elements – Additional facts – Background – Quotes – Paraphrased information – Use Transitions Effectively
  6. 6. Prioritizing Paragraphs • Significant supporting facts placed in order of importance • Include strongest quotes higher than peripheral or paraphrased quotes
  7. 7. Organizing the Story • After your lede, you will need to add necessary background to the story • Is there important information that the reader needs to know from previous reporting? – Summarize key details so that the story makes sense to a new reader
  8. 8. Example As summer vacation approaches, the West Los Angeles Police Department will implement extra security measures to combat problems with overcrowding and loitering in Westwood. Beginning the first weekend in May, West LAPD will resume periodic curfew sweeps and mounted patrols, said Linda Arneal, coordinator of the Westwood Village Merchants Association. Arneal added that officers on horseback are part of a special task force designed to increase security and ensure the safety of Westwood Village merchants and visitors.
  9. 9. Quotes vs. Paraphrasing • Direct quotes – Use if the statement is clear and does not need clarification – Use if it is particularly memorable or striking – Use if the person is well- known and it adds credibility to the story
  10. 10. Example “Westwood has become a beacon that attracts people who have nothing to do,” said Sgt. John Bradbury of the West Los Angeles Police Department. “Minors cause problems with overcrowding, drinking, drugs and fighting.”
  11. 11. Quotes vs. Paraphrasing • Paraphrasing – Use when statement is hard to understand or technical – Use when statement can be summarized better for the flow of your story
  12. 12. Example Beginning the first weekend in May, West LAPD will resume periodic curfew sweeps and mounted patrols, said Linda Arneal, coordinator of the Westwood Village Merchants Association.
  13. 13. Hourglass Style: A Different Kind of Structure • An alternative type of writing news • Begins with summary lede where main news is high in story • A few paragraphs later, the story contains a turn that transitions into a narrative style
  14. 14. Hourglass 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…”
  15. 15. After the Turn • The rest of the story is written in a chronological order • Expands and builds upon the lead and fleshes out in detail some of the important facts of the story • The narrative may repeat some of the lead info, but it also expands it
  16. 16. Example of Hourglass Writing • Police today accused a handyman who once worked in the home of Elizabeth Smart with burglary and theft. • The charges, filed against Richard Ricci, are not related to the disappearance of 14-year-old Elizabeth. On June 5, the teen was taken from her bedroom at gunpoint as her younger sister watched. • Ricci is charged with one count of theft for allegedly stealing $3,500 worth of items - jewelry, a perfume bottle and a wine glass filled with sea shells - from the Smart’s home in June 2001. The articles were found during a search of Ricci’s home last month, said police. • Here is what happened.  the turn • After Elizabeth disappeared last summer, the …
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