Journalism Fundamentals
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Journalism Fundamentals

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This file includes the material for the second exam, the project and the final exam.

This file includes the material for the second exam, the project and the final exam.

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  • 1. 2 Journalism Fundamentals Essential Skills When you're new to writing, taking photos or capturing video from a journalist's perspective, it can be daunting to do it without having had any journalism training. This chapter is designed to help you go into any journalism assignment knowing some basic guidelines that first-time journalists should follow. Each of these sections covers the basic principles of a core journalism skill. Therefore, a study of Reporting, Writing, Editing, Multimedia and Ethics & News Judgments is needed. 1. Reporting A journalist's job is to provide the audience with the most accurate information possible. Gathering reliable information is the essential skill of reporting. The reporting process is the learning process: learning what is the news angle of your topic or idea, learning the background to the topic, learning who the key players are. You'll want to gather information from a variety of sources, different people who are directly involved in a story, websites and other organizations that collect data on the topic, and stories others have published. Previous stories will give you background on the topic as well as provide sources and resources for you to use in your reporting. All journalistic stories need to have the following basics: Facts, including who, what, where, when, why, how Sources and attribution Multiple views to give your story credibility and context Research A general online search is a good place to start to learning about the topic for your. You can find background information about a subject and some people you can talk to for more information.
  • 2. You want to find people directly involved in the subject or those who might have an interesting perspective on it. In addition, you should learn which sites have statistics, background information, blogs, discussion groups and RSS feeds that might be helpful. If you don’t understand something, keep digging for more information. Also look for a source who can explain it to you. Don't publish information you don't understand. If you don't understand it, your audience may not understand it either. Interviewing Talk to credible sources--people who know about the topic, people affected by the topic or those with an interest in the outcome. You can also ask the people you interview to recommend other sources for you to talk to. Before the interview, have a list of questions that you’d like answered. When you call to set up an interview, introduce yourself, tell the person what you want to talk about and be prepared to ask questions when you are setting up the interview. That may be the only time you get to talk to the person. Set up a time for an interview and tell the person how long it should take. It's important that you are on time when meeting someone for an interview whether it is on the phone or in person. When interviewing, avoid closed-ended questions (questions that can be answered with a “yes” or a “no”). And then give the person the time to speak. Be sure to listen to see if he or she is answering the question you have asked or is trying to take the interview in another direction. Try to keep the conversation on track about the subject you are covering. Make observations about the person and the environment. If applicable, ask the subject about the things around him or her. Try to write down as much as possible and be sure you get pertinent quotes down word for word. This will get easier as you do it more. At the end of the interview, double-check the spelling of the person’s name and title. Also, verify any background information you have dug up and plan to put in the story. Get a cell number or an email address so you have a way of contacting the person later. You may need this, in case you realize you need to clarify something when you are writing or you suddenly need more information.
  • 3. 2. Writing Every story is a puzzle to be constructed. Whatever kind of story you are writing, the most important thing is to write clearly and accurately. Editors can always fix writing errors, but they can't always fix bad information. So be sure all the information you are working with is credible. Keep your sentences simple and straightforward. Eliminate all unneeded words. Most paragraphs in a news story are only one or two sentences long. Most important first If you’re writing a news story, put the most essential information into the first sentence of the story, otherwise known as your lead. Don’t overload the sentence with too many details. It should contain the very basics of the story you are about to tell: who, what, where, when and why. The next paragraph is often called the nut graf. This section conveys the essence of the story, tells readers why the story is important and connects the lead to everything that follows. The nut graf can often be followed with the best quote pertaining to the story that you’ve got in your notes. Pretend you're telling a friend what happened The rest of the story should be an explanation of the pertinent events, with the most important information being placed higher in the story. Don't fall into the trap of writing the story chronologically. You can always go back later in the story to explain what else happened besides the most important or most interesting information that led off the story. Always identify by name and title everyone that you quote -- directly or indirectly -- on first reference. After that, identify him or her by last name. Tell readers where you got data you used or quoted. If you are writing a feature or profile, start the story with compelling information about the subject, something that will draw in potential readers. Then write your nut graf explaining just why we should care about this story. There's no "I" in "news story" When writing a reported news story, never inject your own opinion into the story unless it has been assigned as a review or an opinion piece. You should never be using the word “I” in a story. You need to remain as objective as possible when reporting on and writing about something. Whatever you are writing, try to include interesting details that you’ve discovered while reporting the story. When you are finished writing, reread the story (it helps to do so out loud) to be sure everything makes sense. Rewrite any sentences that are not clear.
  • 4. 3. Editing You'll need to learn how to be a good self-editor and how to take others' edits of your copy well. How to be a good self-editor When you eventually turn in your story to your instructor or editor, no matter how short or long it is, you are communicating that you think it is ready to be read by the general public. You should have done a spell check and read through the story already. Of course, there are some words that spell check won’t catch. The most important things to look for when self-editing are factual mistakes. Be sure that everything -- from the spelling of names and places to the proper times and dates -- is correct. When reading through the story, look for grammatical mistakes. Writing quickly to meet a deadline can sometimes make you write sentences in funny ways that you wouldn’t normally do if not pressed for time. Be sure that all of the information is clear and easy to understand. Ask your instructor or editor if your school has a style guide. A style guide is a collection of commonly used names and words -- a personalized dictionary -- that is compiled so the school or organization is consistent in the way it identifies people, places and things in the community. Style guides are created so that writers don’t have to figure out how the news organization wants to identify things such as the local high school or the town committee members. It will make your job a lot easier if you are familiar with the style guide when self-editing. You want the story’s content to be consistent in its spelling and presentation with anything else being produced by the school, organization, or newspaper; the style guide can help with this process. How to take edits well Also, be ready to get edited. It may take some time to get used to someone rewriting your work. At first, your instructor or editor likely will have a lot of advice and make a lot of changes. With time, as you get more experience, there won’t be as many changes. But don’t take editing personally. Even Woodward and Bernstein had editors who changed things around.
  • 5. 4. Ethics and News Judgment When it comes to covering news, regardless of the format, remember that your credibility, and the credibility of your news organization, are at stake. You don’t want to jeopardize that trust in any way. Just the facts Be certain that your story contains only objective facts. Every time the public sees wrong information in a news report, it erodes the image of news gatherers in general. Always reread your story or the information with your photos and be sure that everything makes sense and is completely factual. Absolutely never make up information or quotes and put them in a story. They are often discovered and end up making you and the news organization lose credibility. Your decision to do such a thing could not only affect your job, it could also affect your editor’s job. Don't plagiarize Never, ever copy information directly from another source without giving credit to that source. That is called plagiarism and it is one of journalism’s biggest crimes. When new writers are under deadline pressure, they may be tempted to plagiarize. Don't do it. If you cannot gather the information to finish your story by your deadline, tell your editor or producer as soon as possible. That stress is much more welcomed by an editor than discovering that a writer has plagiarized or fabricated information. Avoid conflict of interest You shouldn’t have any conflicts of interest about a person or place that you are covering. Don’t write about people who are your best friend’s husband or your cousin. If your editor assigns you to write about someone you know, inform your editor so he or she can re-assign the story. Invasion of privacy Be respectful of a person’s rights. You want to deliver the best information you can as quickly as you can, but you cannot infringe upon a person’s rights in order to get a story, whether the people are celebrities or not. This is a fine balancing act for any journalist, but since you are just starting, it is much better to err on the side of not potentially invading people’s privacy. Name names New journalists should avoid using anonymous sources. It is an ethically murky area that even seasoned journalists try to avoid. If someone is not willing to talk on the record, the information that person tells you should be immediately suspect. That's not to say you should ignore the information. Sometimes it's great stuff and the person who is telling it to you doesn't want to be named for a legitimate reason -- he may, for instance, fear for his job. However, it's still best to treat anonymous information as a tip and get independent verification. Talk to your editor about next steps. Using anonymous sources isn’t good for the news organization’s relationship with its readers, either. They like to know where information in a story originated.
  • 6. Try Your Skills Choose the Story Welcome to the West Willingport Daily Bugle. On the following pages are stories and scenarios from this fictional publication. See how well you can identify the best journalism practices in these areas: Reporting Editing Making ethical decisions Interviewing Writing leads Writing headlines You'll read each example and choose the version you think is better at carrying out the essential skills of journalism. Once you make your choice, you'll see what makes the good example good, and the bad example bad.  Reporting Can you identify the better reporting example? Review the story segments that follow. Then, select the one you think represents more thorough, accurate reporting. After making your selections, we'll explain what makes the good example good, and the bad example bad. LIGHTNING EXAMPLE (1) The West Willingport Black Lightning lost on Saturday in a faceoff against its rival, the East Willingport Blue Dolphins, 7-5. In the first inning, the Lightning scored a run when the opposing team’s Tom Trebadeb showed pure cluelessness and threw a ball to second base rather than to the catcher at home. The Dolphins then came back with two runs in the top of the second inning. Lightning shortstop Jimmy Sizemoe hit a dinger in the fourth inning, putting the Lightning ahead at the time. EXAMPLE (2) West Willingport’s under-12 Little League champions, the Black Lightning, closed their season Saturday with a devastating 7-5 loss to crosstown rivals the East Willingport Blue Dolphins. The Lightning held the lead until the sixth inning when the Dolphins scored three runs to create the final score.
  • 7. The lead changed four times in a nail-biter that had Lightning first baseman Jimmy Sizemore hitting a triple and two doubles in his final game with the team. “Jimmy nearly pulled this team to victory one last time,” Lightning head coach Marty Clowton said. ROLLER CIRCUS EXAMPLE (1) Two dogs and a baby hippopotamus were inadvertently left behind Saturday by the George’s Ginormous Roller Circus. The one-ring circus in which all of the performers, including animals, appear on wheels left West Willingport early Saturday in order to make its way to its next stretch of shows in Torrential Rapids. “We are horrified by our mistake in leaving behind Tonto, Blotto and Peanuts,” circus organizer Garry “George” Tropz. “The error was human and we apologize for any inconvenience that was caused to the good people of West Willingport.” EXAMPLE (2) Two dogs and a baby hippopotamus were inadvertently left behind Saturday by the George’s Ginormous Roller Circus, which I found to be appallingly bad. The one-ring circus in which all of the performers, including bizarrely, the animals, appear on wheels left West Willingport early Saturday morning – thank goodness -- in order to make its way to its next stretch of shows for the poor people of Torrential Rapids, which my wife and I always call Tiny Stream. “We are horrified by our mistake in leaving behind Tonto, Blotto and Peanuts,” extremely tiny circus organizer Garry “George” Tropz, who came off last week while performing here as a cross between a pint-size Donald Trump and my loudmouth freshman roommate in college. “The error was human and we apologize for any inconvenience that was caused to the good people of West Willingport.”
  • 8. ANSWERS LIGHTNING EXAMPLE (1): Incorrect. The other example is better. You shouldn't write the story chronologically. Put the most exciting and pertinent details as close to the top of the story as you can. Make sure your first sentence, the lead, gives the most basic version of what happened and why it matters. Then flesh it out in the second paragraph with some details and give a good quote to support the story in the third or fourth paragraph. Try to find interesting details about the game as well, such as that it is the star first baseman’s last game. EXAMPLE (2): Correct. You understand what is wrong with the other example. You shouldn't write the story chronologically. Put the most exciting and pertinent details as close to the top of the story as you can. Make sure your first sentence, the lead, gives the most basic version of what happened and why it matters. Then flesh it out in the second paragraph with some details and give a good quote to support the story in the third or fourth paragraph. Try to find interesting details about the game as well, such as that it is the star first baseman’s last game. ROLLER CIRCUS EXAMPLE (1): Correct. You understand what is wrong with the other example. You shouldn't inject your personal opinions into the article or make references to things that nobody else will understand EXAMPLE (2): Incorrect. The other example is better. You shouldn't inject your personal opinions into the article or make references to things that nobody else will understand
  • 9.  Editing Can you identify the better editing example? Review the story segments that follow. Then, select the one you think was edited better. After you make your selections, we'll explain what makes the good example good, and the bad example bad. BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING EXAMPLE (1) A crowd of about 175 to 200 people attended Monday's Board of Education meeting to protest the board's decision not to offer any after-school activities in the coming school year. Members of the teachers' union and West Willingport PTA distributed about 2,500 fliers throughout the township over the weekend asking people to show up at Monday's meeting to discuss the issue. Losing after-school activities would affect 435 West Willingport families. Some of them were very vocal at the meeting Monday. “The after-school science program has been a huge help to my son Travis’s understanding of himself and the world around him,” said Joe Tyson, a 32-year-old construction worker. “And I can’t think of another after-school program that will fit him quite as perfectly. Certainly not at the low price the school offers for those programs.” EXAMPLE (2) A large crowd of people attended Monday's Board of Ed. meeting too protest the board's decision not to offer any after-school activities ever again. Many fliers were given out over the weekend asking people to show up at Monday's meeting to discuss the issue. “The after-school science program has been a huge help to my son Travis’s understanding of himself and the world around him,” said Joe Dyson,. “And I can’t think ofanother after-school program that will fit him quite as perfectly. Tyson went on to say, “There priorities aren’t in the write place if they don’t keep these programs in placee.”
  • 10. STRIP STEAK EXAMPLE (1) Strip-steak lovers of West Willingport have a new destination: Quinchy’s Restaurant/Public House The founders of Quinchy’s, Tom Brezzle and Tree Collingswoth, have created an exotic mix of spicy Thai standards combined with American comfort foods. Brezzle is famed for the strip-steak creations he made for three decades as the founder of Chicago’s popular Sterno Bar. Now he’s “retired” with pastry chef Collingswoth to West Willingport and brought his steak recipes with him. “Tree and I have visited the area for the past 10 or 15 years and we can’t get enough of it,” Brezzle said. “Now we’re hoping to share some of our happiness with the people here.” One organization that is not happy about the arrival of Quinchy’s is longtime Willingport! Magazine’s Best Strip-Steak winner, Coakley Barton & Throngs. CBT has asked Quinchy’s to compete in a one-on-one strip-steak contest on June 7 to establish who the area’s leader is currently. EXAMPLE (2) If you like strip steak and happen to live anywhere near West Willingport, you are in luck: There is a new place opening up here called Quincy’s that will be run by Chicago steak master chef Tom Brezzle and pastry chef Tree Collingswoth. Quinchy’s looks to be kind of interesting from outside the place and it will curiously combine classic comfort food with spicy Thai cuisine. The launch of Quinchy’s has upset Heather Polthwather-Smyth and partner Felix Cott, the owners of Coakley Barton & Throngs, which has long been the favorite strip-steak joint in West Willingport. Polthwather-Smyth and Cott have challenged the owners of Quinchy’s to a cookoff on June 7 to decide which restaurant has the better strip steak. The competition will be judged by Willingport! Magazine food critic Marty Blodge, Willingport Police Chief Henry Blankenbiller, and Willingport’s only member of the International Federation of Competitive Eating, Daphne Serluca. Quinchy’s, named for what Collingswoth thinks his partner’s face looks like when he takes a big bite of garlic, will be handing out samples of its fare at the Brampton County Fair today thru Saturday and will also be utilized as the Brampton Rodeo’s official strip-steak provider for the summer.
  • 11. ANSWERS BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING EXAMPLE (1): Correct. You understand what is wrong with the other example. This version doesn't have any typos or errors of logic. Always spell check and then reread your story before turning it in to your editor. There are many things that spell check won’t catch, such as to whether “to,” “two” or “too” is correct in the sentence; or when to use “there,” “their” or “they’re.” Also, make sure everything is correct and consistent. In this story, is it Dyson or Tyson? Finally, be sure things are as clear as possible. Ask questions when rereading the story: How many people were at the meeting? How many fliers were given out? How many people will be affected? EXAMPLE (2): Incorrect. This version has several issues. Always spell check and then reread your story before turning it in to your editor. There are many things that spell check won’t catch, such as to whether “to,” “two” or “too” is correct in the sentence; or when to use “there,” “their” or “they’re.” Also, make sure everything is correct and consistent. In this story, is it Dyson or Tyson? Finally, be sure things are as clear as possible. Ask questions when rereading the story: How many people were at the meeting? How many fliers were given out? How many people will be affected? STRIP STEAK EXAMPLE (1): Correct. You understand what is wrong with the other example. Make your sentences as concise as possible and use descriptive words. “Kind of interesting” doesn’t say much of anything at all. The final sentence of the Bad example is difficult to read and contains two words – “utilize” and “thru” – that should never appear in the stories you write. The second paragraph could be shortened to the following: “Whether the new eatery is considered the best strip-steak joint in town will be decided on June 7 when a contest will be held with rival strip-steak joint Coakley Barton & Throngs.” EXAMPLE (2): Incorrect. Make your sentences as concise as possible and use descriptive words. “Kind of interesting” doesn’t say much of anything at all. The final sentence of the Bad example is difficult to read and contains two words – “utilize” and “thru” – that should never appear in the stories you write. The second paragraph could be shortened to the following: “Whether the new eatery is considered the best strip-steak joint in town will be decided on June 7 when a contest will be held with rival strip-steak joint Coakley Barton & Throngs.”
  • 12.  Ethics Choose the fairest, most ethical version of this story: THE WEST WILLINGPORT ART FAIR EXAMPLE (1) By Brian Smulgowtan The West Willingport Art Fair kicked off Saturday afternoon, featuring the work of 42 local artists. Located in the lobby of the West Willingport Public Library, the show will run until Saturday and 34 percent of revenue will benefit the library. “We are so proud of all of our local artists,” said festival director Tasha Lubinski, who noted that the artists involved range in age from 2-year-old Myles Tynes to 98-year-old Esther Prodloom. The types of media involved are also widely varied, with watercolors being the most common. Wood and stone sculptures are also dominant. EXAMPLE (2) By Brian Smulgowtan The West Willingport Art Fair kicked off Saturday afternoon, featuring the work of 42 local artists, including award-winning sculptor Ryan Smulgowtan. Located in the lobby of the West Willingport Public Library, the show will run until Saturday and 34 percent of revenue will benefit the library. “I’m so excited to have the stuff I’ve been making in Ms. Sniglish’s Pottery shop be sold and make me and my brother a few extra bucks,” Smulgowtan said.
  • 13. ANSWERS THE WEST WILLINGPORT ART FAIR EXAMPLE (1): Correct. You understand what is wrong with the other example. You can’t interview your brother for a story or mention him so high in the story without some mention that he is your brother. And, as it becomes clear in the story, you have a vested financial interest in your brother selling his art so mentioning him the way you do as well as quoting him is completely unethical. Other things to look out for on the ethics front: Never copy material from any other source without saying where that information came from. Never make up anything in your story, however small. To fabricate something calls into question everything that is in the paper and journalism in general. You don’t want to be the one bad apple spoiling the barrel. EXAMPLE (2): Incorrect. You can’t interview your brother for a story or mention him so high in the story without some mention that he is your brother. And, as it becomes clear in the story, you have a vested financial interest in your brother selling his art so mentioning him the way you do as well as quoting him is completely unethical. Other things to look out for on the ethics front: Never copy material from any other source without saying where that information came from. Never make up anything in your story, however small. To fabricate something calls into question everything that is in the paper and journalism in general. You don’t want to be the one bad apple spoiling the barrel.
  • 14.  Interviewing Choose the story that reflects the best interviewing techniques: JUNE FETE EXAMPLE (1) More than 1,200 residents of West Willingport enjoyed the June Fete this past weekend at Great Grounds State Park. “We had so much fun,” said Dick Den, a 43-year-old mechanical engineer. “My kids loved it.” Fete organizer Josie Hock had feared that the temperature that rose to 95 degrees would be an issue and prepared her workers accordingly. Her efforts clearly paid off as festival-goers extended kudos to her staff. “It sure was hot,” said Michael Berg, a 27-year-old blacksmith. “But they made us feel cooled off.” Tom Leopold, a 46-year-old diamond merchant who attended the Fete last year, said, “I regretted that I couldn’t get out to Great Grounds this year. The Fete is always a good time.” The 6-year-old festival-goer Terry Törpe said “yes” when asked if she enjoyed the misting bottles. “We were really ready for the heat because we had been visited back in February – and when I say we, I mean the town supervisors – by a bunch of people from the executive board of the National Association of Heatstroke Management, who are thinking that West Willingport might be a good place to have their next convention. And we’re still hopeful that they’ll have it here. When they visited, they provided excellent information that we used for the June Fete,” Hock said. EXAMPLE (2) More than 1,200 residents of West Willingport enjoyed the June Fete this past weekend at Great Grounds State Park. “The turnout was far more than we expected,” said June Fete chairperson Josie Hock, “but it never felt overcrowded.” Dick Den, a 43-year-old mechanical engineer, brought his family of nine to the Fete. “We had a ball,” he said. “The crowds were handled beautifully and everybody from my triplet 2-year-olds to my 12-year-old had a great time.” Hock had feared that the temperature that rose to 95 degrees would be an issue and prepared
  • 15. her workers accordingly. Her efforts clearly paid off as festival-goeers extended kudos to her staff. “Everywhere you turned, there were misting stations or inexpensive ice-cold bottles of water,” said Michael Berg, a 27-year-old blacksmith. “It seemed like everybody who worked there had cold cloths to give out or little misting bottles to be sure everyone stayed cool.” Six-year-old festival-goer Terry Törpe thought the misting bottles were as good as any ride at the Fete. “I kept going back to the misting lady to ask for more,” she said. Hock noted that the heat preparation stems from a visit town supervisors had in February from the National Association of Heatstroke Management executive board, which is considering West Willingport for its next convention. “When they visited, they provided excellent information that we used for the June Fete,” Hock said.
  • 16. ANSWERS JUNE FETE EXAMPLE (1): Incorrect. When looking for people to interview for your story, always look for those most pertinent to your story, such as the event's organizer, Josie Hock. She can likely give a lot of information about what went on behind the scenes and how problems were handled. Also, quotes should help to illustrate a point, such as how the staff handled the heat situation. They should move the story forward. One-word answers are not worth much and neither are quotes that don’t contain interesting details. Learn to edit down quotes to the most essential information and paraphrase other information in the story. It can be distracting to read long, messy quotes. EXAMPLE (2): Correct. You understand what is wrong with the other example. When looking for people to interview for your story, always look for those most pertinent to your story, such as the event's organizer, Josie Hock. She can likely give a lot of information about what went on behind the scenes and how problems were handled. Also, quotes should help to illustrate a point, such as how the staff handled the heat situation. They should move the story forward. One-word answers are not worth much and neither are quotes that don’t contain interesting details. Learn to edit down quotes to the most essential information and paraphrase other information in the story. It can be distracting to read long, messy quotes.
  • 17.  Leads Choose the leads that would most compel you to continue reading: THEATER EXAMPLE (1) The West Willingport Dinner Theatre Players packed its 342-seat performance space Saturday evening for its excellent saucy new version of “Fiddler on the Roof.” EXAMPLE (2) Albert Haynesgirth’s loincloth nearly slipped off during his rendition of “If I Were a Rich Man” Saturday night at the Bindemire/Knuff black-box theater. THE ICE FOLLIES EXAMPLE (1) A record crowd turned out to see the traveling Ice Follies last night at West Willingport’s famed Freezer Palace. EXAMPLE (2) “The Ice Follies were the most awesome thing I have ever seen in my life,” said 8-year-old Debra Tzing. ANSWERS THEATER EXAMPLE (1): Correct. You understand what is wrong with the other example. While this detail is very intriguing and may fit at a later point in the story, you first need to tell people what you are talking about. Haynesgirth could still make it into the lead (“Albert Haynesgirth led a cast of 12 singers and dancers through …”), but his loincloth nearly slipping is not the most important piece of information people should take away from reading the story (though it might be the most memorable, particularly if you’ve ever met Albert Haynesgirth). EXAMPLE (2): Incorrect. The other example is better. While this detail is very intriguing and may fit at a later point in the story, you first need to tell people what you are talking about. Haynesgirth could still make it into the lead (“Albert Haynesgirth led a cast of 12 singers and dancers through …”), but his loincloth nearly slipping is not the most important piece of information people should take away from reading the story (though it might be the most memorable, particularly if you’ve ever met Albert Haynesgirth).
  • 18. THE ICE FOLLIES EXAMPLE (1): Correct. You understand what is wrong with the other example. Never start your story with a quote. Tell the reader what the story is about and then let quotes support the story. EXAMPLE (2): Incorrect. The other example is better. Never start your story with a quote. Tell the reader what the story is about and then let quotes support the story.  Headlines Choose the most appropriate headline: MAYOR EXAMPLE (1) EXAMPLE (2) Mayor Swears in Committee Mayor Officiates as Panel Seated MS WALKATHON EXAMPLE (1) EXAMPLE (2) MS Walkathon Making Thousands Thousands MS Walkathon Raises ANSWERS MAYOR EXAMPLE (1): Incorrect. Be careful of any potential double meanings (could be read "Mayor Swears ... in Committee) in your headlines and don’t try to sneak one by your editor. Some reader will notice it and surely call. EXAMPLE (2): Correct. You understand what is wrong with the other example. Be careful of any potential double meanings (could be read "Mayor Swears ... in Committee) in your headlines and don’t try to sneak one by your editor. Some reader will notice it and surely call. MS WALKATHON EXAMPLE (1): Incorrect. Using active and specific verbs brings readers right into the story, making them active participants. EXAMPLE (2): Correct. You understand what is wrong with the other example. Using active and specific verbs brings readers right into the story, making them active participants.