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Coaching Newswriting For Online
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Coaching Newswriting For Online

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Best practices in online headline writing, breaking news writing, multimedia and blogs. A seminar for APME/ONA Newstrain.

Best practices in online headline writing, breaking news writing, multimedia and blogs. A seminar for APME/ONA Newstrain.

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    • 1. Newswriting for Online Headlines, breaking news, multimedia and blogs Anthony Moor Deputy Managing Editor/Interactive The Dallas Morning News [email_address]
    • 2. Agenda
      • Best practices
        • Writing headlines for people with search engines in mind
        • Breaking news: online and on deadline
        • Structured writing for multimedia
        • Blogging style and practice
    • 3. Web Headlines Eric Ulken [email_address]
    • 4. There is no context
      • Web headlines rarely have friends
        • No photos, graphics, related stories or other visual clues to tip off the reader
        • Often no labels or decks to help explain a headline
        • Sometimes it’s not immediately apparent what section a story is in (opinion?)
    • 5.  
    • 6.  
    • 7. Types of headlines
      • Story-level: Seed aggregators and search engines (make them very literal; keywords are vital)
      • Section-level: Present story to engaged readers (Keywords are important
      • Home page: Sell story to casual readers (Keywords are less important)
      • Mobile: Some sites also write short, bulletin-style heads
    • 8. SEO Speedwagon
      • SEO = Search Engine Optimization
      • Why do we have to do this?
        • Computers are dumb
        • Thoughtful SEO also improves the user experience
      • There’s a lot more to SEO than tweaking headlines, but it’s an important part
    • 9. SEO-friendly headlines
      • Proper nouns, especially familiar ones
      • Keep it short (40 characters, max)
      • Be direct, literal
      • Focus on the unique
    • 10. Story-level headlines
      • Survey finds teenagers taking fewer risks
      • On the mend, with a new mission
      • A new life informed by the old
      • Today’s teens using less sex and alcohol
      • Woodruff talks about his recovery from Iraq bomb
      • Starbucks gives jolt to child soldier’s Africa memoirs
    • 11. Humans have to read this stuff, too
      • Don’t write for Google, write for people with Google in mind
      • Web readers scan more than print readers
      • Some keywords are useful, but also encourage clever headlines that tease and amuse
      • It takes a lot to motivate a person to move that mouse and click it
    • 12. Your turn
    • 13. Writing Breaking News for Web Mike Johansson Rochester Democrat and Chronicle Anthony Moor
    • 14. Swift reporting suggestions
      • News – as it happens
      • Facts – as they are known
      • Briefs – not complete stories
      • Updates – as more is known
      Hang on! What about accuracy and credibility?
    • 15. Breaking news is a balancing act
      • Our first duty is to report the story accurately .
      • But we must also be fast and first to report significant news. That builds credibility .
      • Beyond that, a deadline is an arbitrary thing.
      – The Associated Press
    • 16. News – as it happens
      • Write what you know, then explain what you don’t know
      SANTEE, Calif. (AP)_A gunman opened fire at a high school Monday, wounding several students, according to reports from fire officials and sheriff’s deputies. The shootings were at Santana High School in this San Diego suburb.
    • 17. News – as it happens
      • Write what you know, then explain what you don’t know
      SANTEE, Calif. (AP)_A gunman opened fire at a high school Monday, wounding several students, according to reports from fire officials and sheriff’s deputies. There were no immediate reports of fatalities. The shootings were at Santana High School in this San Diego suburb.
    • 18. Facts – as they are known
      • Bulletin board approach: We publish facts as we learn them
      One witness told KGTV that the youth smiled as he fired the long-barreled handgun. “ We are in the process of evacuating the school,” said sheriff’s spokesman Ron Reina.
    • 19. Briefs – not complete stories
      • What would you tell a friend you meet on the street?
      • A few grafs will do
      • Direct quotes may not be essential
      • Reaction may not be necessary
      • The shirttail may be superfluous
    • 20. Updates – as more is learned
      • Put the newest information at the top
      • As necessary, facts can be updated and detail added throughout the day
    • 21. Style tips
      • Write tight and light
        • Active verbs: Make things do things
        • Forceful nouns: Start a fire story with ‘fire’
      • Include one idea per paragraph
      • Organize sources in blocks
      • Consider using bulleted lists
    • 22. Style tips
      • Let Web staff link to more
        • Background: A recent story
        • Documents: Indictment, photos, statements
        • Web resources: Stock quotes, Web sites
        • Interactivity: User message boards, polls
    • 23. Your turn
    • 24. Structured writing for multimedia
    • 25. Multimedia means multiple elements
      • Slideshows
        • Narrated slide shows
      • Video
      • Games, puzzles, quizzes, surveys
      • Documents, databases, calculators
      • Graphics, immersive 3D content
      • Message boards, feedback mechanisms
      • Resources
    • 26. So the whole must hang together
      • Reporter/Editor should be involved in creating the package
      • The opening screen must introduce the story
      • The experience must tell the story (don’t rely on what’s written for print)
      • Examples
        • Ottowa Citizen
        • Wisconsin State Journal
    • 27. Your turn
    • 28. Writing for Blogs
    • 29. Start connecting
      • Blogs exist together as a connected community – so connect
        • Determine your blog’s niche and find out who’s blogging your beat
        • Join the conversation
        • Link outside your blog
        • Promote other blogs in your blogroll
    • 30. ‘Voice’ versus ‘opinion’
      • Blogs are part of a conversation. So your voice should be different, but unless you’re a critic by profession, they should not include opinion
      • Ground your writing in your reporting, not your opinion
      • You can be analytical. We’re paid to know more than our readers
    • 31.  
    • 32. The kinds of blog posts
      • The news post
        • This is where you have learned a fact and are reporting it for the audience. You should link to background material wherever you find it
    • 33. The kinds of blog posts
      • The original thought
        • There aren’t any. So link to the place that spurred you to write
      • The comment on the original thought
        • Ditto. Or maybe, just comment on the other blog
      • The editor’s blog post
        • This is where you’re summarizing news from elsewhere. Link out
    • 34.  
    • 35. The kinds of blog posts
      • The live blog post
        • Beware that many in your audience will be reading what you write well after you’ve posted it – even days later. So don’t assume they know what you’re writing about.
      “ Sure looked like UT WR Limas Sweed took a few steps after catching the ball before getting hit.” “ On UT’s first possession against OU, it sure looked like WR Limas Sweed took a few steps after catching a pass before getting hit.”
    • 36. Your turn http://www.slideshare.net/ajmoor