News Writing
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News Writing

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  • In the AF community, most stories with this characteristic deal with change: budget, manpower, infrastructure, processes, etc.

News Writing News Writing Presentation Transcript

  • Presented by: MSgt Mark Haviland Manager, Operations Basic News Writing Part 1
  • Overview
      • Open discussion
      • Defining News
      • Elements of news
      • Inverted pyramid
      • Anatomy of a news article
      • Writing a lede
      • Writing a bridge
      • Body
      • Conclusion
      • Summary
  • Elements of News What is news? “ News is the first rough draft of history.” — Philip Graham, Washington Post publisher “ News is anything that makes a reader say “ Gee whiz.” — William Randolph Hearst American newspaper tycoon “ News is anything that will make people talk.” — Charles Dana New York Sun editor “ News is anything you can find out today that you didn’t know before.” — Turner Catledge New York Times editor
  • Elements of News What is news? 1 ordinary man + 1 ordinary life 1 ordinary man + 1 extraordinary adventure 1 ordinary husband + 1 ordinary wife 1 husband + 3 wives 1 bank cashier + 1 wife + 7 children 1 bank cashier — $100,000 1 chorus girl + 1 bank president — $100,000 1 man + 1 auto + 1 gun + 1 six-pack 1 man + 1 wife + 1 fight + 1 lawsuit 1 ordinary man + 1 ordinary life of 79 years 1 ordinary man + 1 ordinary life of 100 years
  • Elements of News Impact Does the story matter to readers? Will it have an effect on their lives, careers or bank account? Don't overlook the "me factor" your audience craves.
  • Elements of News Timeliness Has this story just happened? Is it about to happen? Timeliness is crucial. News stories should generally be no more than a week old.
  • Elements of News
    • Prominence
    • News stories about
    • prominent people
    • generate more interest
    • than those about
    • ordinary people.
    • Readers are especially
    • interested in what
    • leaders have to say
    • about important issues
    • and events.
  • Elements of News Proximity This element can be physical – stories here at Langley – or psychological. On one hand, the Air Force community is local and on the other hand, it's global.
  • Elements of News Novelty Deviations from the normal – unexpected or unusual events, drama or change – are more newsworthy than the commonplace.
  • Elements of News
    • Conflict
    • Conflict is another
    • common thread in
    • news stories:
    • Overcoming hardships,
    • Balancing career and
    • family. War.
  • Elements of News
    • Emotion
    • Does this story make
    • us sad? Happy?
    • Angry? Readers
    • respond emotionally
    • to human-interest
    • stories that are
    • poignant, comical or
    • inspiring.
  • Inverted Pyramid
  • Anatomy of a news article
    • 1st Paragraph
      • Combined with the headline, the lead/lede is designed to capture readers by presenting the Who, What, Where and When elements of the story first
    • 2nd Paragraph
      • Known as the "bridge," this graph provides the How and or Why of the story. Sometimes, writers use direct attribution (a quote) from one of the article's important characters here.
    • Middle paragraphs
      • Are used to introduce and explain important (but secondary) details of the story. Other sources of attribution (experts, people directy affected, witnesses) are introduced here directly or indirectly.
    • Closing paragraphs
      • Are used to provide general background and historical information.
  • Anatomy of a news article
    • Attribution
      • Direct: “Home schooling is a Petri dish for the blossoming antisocial personality,” said Master Sgt. Mark Haviland.
      • Indirect: Home schooling children can lead to antisocial adults, according to Master Sgt. Mark Haviland.
      • Use direct attribution for impact, not the mundane …
    • Full ID
      • Full ID includes a person's rank, first name, last name, unit of assignment and specialty or duty title.
    • First reference
      • The first time a person, unit, office, or other object is mentioned, it must be identified fully and without abbreviations
  • Writing a lede
    • Critical element – “the hook”
    • Focus on most important element
      • Who
      • What
      • Where
      • When
    • 20-30 words max
  • Writing a lede
    • Summary
    • Immediate identification
    • Delayed identification
    • Multiple element
    • Feature or freak leads
  • Writing a lede
    • Summary
    • Immediate identification
    • Delayed identification
    • Multiple element
    • Feature or freak leads
    Usually, no prominent actors, or the action is taken by a body of people. For example, “Air Force officials,” “Members of the Air Force Uniform Board,” etc.
  • Writing a lede
    • Summary
    • Immediate identification
    • Delayed identification
    • Multiple element
    • Feature or freak leads
    Used when the person’s name is known to a majority of the audience.
  • Writing a lede
    • Summary
    • Immediate identification
    • Delayed identification
    • Multiple element
    • Feature or freak leads
    Used when the primary actor has little or no prominence with the audience and when inclusion of a title would make the lede bulky.
  • Writing a lede
    • Summary
    • Immediate identification
    • Delayed identification
    • Multiple element
    • Feature or freak leads
    Used when story has two or more elements of equal importance. Accidents, major infrastructure changes, etc.
  • Writing a lede
    • Summary
    • Immediate identification
    • Delayed identification
    • Multiple element
    • Feature or freak leads
    More on these when we cover features …
  • Examples of a ledes MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho (AFPN) – An NCO with the 366th Security Forces Squadron here was awarded a Bronze Star with Valor and the Army Commendation Medal here July 19 for his actions Aug. 8, 2006, in Qalat Province, Afghanistan. WASHINGTON - Former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld defended himself and took no personal responsibility Wednesday for the military's bungled response to Army Ranger Pat Tillman's friendly fire death in Afghanistan. LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. -- Langley Airmen - active duty, Reserve and Guard - can now obtain a bachelor's degree through Air University's Associate-to-Baccalaureate Cooperative program.
  • Exercise From the following facts, write a lede: Who: a nuclear weapon with a yield equivalent to 150,000 tons of TNT What: detonated Where: 40 miles south of Langley Air Force Base When: Today Why: it was accidentally released from an Air Force B-52 on a training Mission Other information: Members of the 1st Fighter Wing disaster control group are responding to the scene
  • Writing a bridge MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho (AFPN) – An NCO with the 366th Security Forces Squadron here was awarded a Bronze Star with Valor and the Army Commendation Medal here July 19 for his actions Aug. 8, 2006, in Qalat Province, Afghanistan. So, you’ve written your lede. What comes next?
  • Writing a bridge
    • One sentence
    • 25-35 words element
    • Usually why and or how
    • Used to introduce actor(s)
      • Direct or indirect attribution
    • Transitions to body
  • Writing a bridge MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho (AFPN) – An NCO with the 366th Security Forces Squadron here was awarded a Bronze Star with Valor and the Army Commendation Medal here July 19 for his actions Aug. 8, 2006, in Qalat Province, Afghanistan. Nearly a year ago, Staff Sgt. Jason Kimberling was part of a three person security forces convoy team called upon to assist about 15 members of the Afghan national police and 20 members of the Afghan national army when they came under attack from Taliban forces on a highway checkpoint in Afghanistan's Qalat Province. Effective? Let’s edit …
  • Writing a bridge MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho (AFPN) – An NCO with the 366th Security Forces Squadron here was awarded a Bronze Star with Valor and the Army Commendation Medal here July 19 for his actions Aug. 8, 2006, in Qalat Province, Afghanistan. Nearly a year ago, Staff Sgt. Jason Kimberling was part of a three person security forces convoy team called upon to assist about 15 members of the Afghan national police and 20 members of the Afghan national army when they came under attack from Taliban forces on a highway checkpoint in Afghanistan's Qalat Province. How would you write it?
  • Questions so far? SAF/PA ARCHIVE POLICE