Sources of ideas• “Steal” (Get inspiration from others)• Ask readers• Turn ideas around• Mapping diagrams• Point of view diagrams• Noticing your surroundings• Read old stories
“Stealing”• Read other papers in your area.• Read major national papers.• Read respected, innovative smaller papers.• Read news magazines, other magazines.• Read the wires.
Ask readers• Ask readers and sources, “What do you want to know about your community?”• Ask people if they have heard of anything interesting or unusual.
• Joseph Alsop’s strategy. – Alsop wrote five columns a week for 40 years. – He asked 20 people every day (100 a week) what they wanted to know. – He needed only 5 percent to be good ideas.
Turn ideas around• Stand ideas on their head.• Turn them inside out.• Put unlike things together. – Brandon Tartikoff, a TV executive, put together the ideas of MTV and cops, and came up with the idea for the series Miami Vice.
Mapping• Write a general topic in the center of a piece of paper.• Indicated spin-offs or subtopics.• Example: Kids and guns. – State and federal gun laws. – Training programs. – Injury and death rates. – School safety.
Point of view• Write an event, issue or topic in the center of a piece of paper.• Draw lines radiating from center indicating all relevant points of view.
• Example: Physician-assisted suicide. – Medical organizations. – Ethicists. – Religious leaders. – Legal scholars.
Noticing your surroundings• Watch what’s happening around you. – Businesses closing, new construction, etc.• Vary your routine. – Take different routes to work. – Do something different on your lunch hour or breaks. – Attend gatherings: church socials, Star Trek conventions, political caucuses.
Read old stories• Get out your stringbook and reread those stories you wrote last year.• Look for things to follow up.• Keep anniversaries in mind.• Reviewing your old stories will also help you improve your reporting and writing.
Keep a file• Put your story ideas in a file.• Organize evergreens (stories that are not tied to a specific event and therefore are always fresh) by topic.• File time-sensitive ideas by date.
Put the process to work• Use the techniques described in this section to generate five ideas for news stories. Discuss those ideas with your instructor or with the editor of a campus or local newspaper or Web site. Try to turn two or three of the ideas into stories.
What is news?• What people talk about.• What editors say it is.• Something that wasn’t known yesterday.• What’s interesting and important to many people.
News values• Timeliness• Impact• Prominence• Proximity• Singularity• Conflict or Controversy• Other Characteristics
Timeliness• How recent are the events?• The more recent the events, the more newsworthy they are.• News organizations constantly update stories to emphasize the most recent important developments. They also follow what other organizations are reporting so they know what is new.
Impact• How many people will a story affect?• The more people affected, the more important the story.• A story about a citywide street- improvement plan will affect more people than a story about a jewelry store burglary.
Prominence• How well known are the people involved in the story?• Stories about famous people are more newsworthy than stories about unknowns.• When an ordinary person catches a cold, only friends and relatives care. When the president catches a cold, the stock market may fall.
Proximity• Events that happen close to home – where the newspaper or broadcast station is located – are more newsworthy than events elsewhere.• A traffic accident in your town is more newsworthy than a similar accident in another town 30 miles away.
Singularity• Events or situations that deviate from what is ordinarily expected are more newsworthy than stories about routine events.• When someone shoots and kills several students in a school, that is more newsworthy than the routine events in thousands of other schools that day.
Conflict• A story about a conflict between two legislators is more newsworthy than one about legislators who agree.• Sometimes news organizations have overemphasized conflict and overlooked the importance of cooperation.• The public journalism movement attempts to address that imbalance.
Other Characteristics• Factors affecting story selection: – Humor. – Focus on events. – The medium (broadcast vs. print; weeklies vs. dailies). – Size of the community. – Traditions and practices of the organization.
Types of news• Journalists talk of hard and soft news.• Hard news includes breaking stories of broad impact: crimes, wars, disasters, labor disputes, major legislation.• Soft news includes feature stories and human interest. Such stories are not linked to specific events and may be newsworthy anytime.
Public journalism• Public, or civic, journalism encourages readers and viewers to participate in public life.• Typically, practitioners of public journalism try to find out what citizens are interested in and then cover those issues.• Public journalists also try to show how problems can be solved.
News stories are…• Written in the third person.• Written in the past tense.• Free of the writer’s opinions.• Accurate.• Concise.• Complete.
Objectivity• News stories should report facts and the opinions of knowledgeable sources, not the opinions of reporters and editors.• While no person can be completely objective, journalists strive to be impartial in the way they gather and report the news.• Seeking multiple sources with different points of view enhances objectivity.
Accuracy• Readers and viewers expect accuracy and they are angry when news stories are not. – Confirm all dates, addresses, amounts and other specific facts. – Confirm the spellings of all names. – Don’t assume a statement that sounds accurate is accurate.
Some things news reports omit• Offensive details• Sensationalism• Rumors• Names of rape victims• Unnecessary racial identifications
The issue• Reporters use confidential sources for a variety of stories.• Those stories often raise allegations of or contain evidence of wrongdoing.• Prosecutors, defense attorneys, other officials want to know where reporters got their information.
The conflict• If reporters identify people who give them information, they may lose all confidential sources.• If reporters fail to testify, they may go to jail for contempt of court.
Scope of problem• Subpoenas have been used to seek – the names of confidential sources, – confidential information, – unpublished notes and outtakes.• Journalists have been asked to testify at – grand jury proceedings, – trials, – criminal and civil proceedings, – legislative hearings.• Half of news organizations subpoenaed at least once in 1993.
Branzburg vs. Hayes ruling• U.S. Supreme Court majority recognized some protection for newsgathering.• But it refused to recognize a First Amendment basis for confidentiality.• The court held that benefits of reporting about crime do not outweigh the government’s interest in prosecuting crime.
• Because of an ambiguously written concurring opinion by Justice Lewis Powell, news organizations have argued with some success that there is some right for journalists to protect sources.• Lower courts have turned to the dissenting opinion by Justice Potter Stewart for criteria for when journalists may withhold information.
Stewart criteria• Justice Stewart said a reporter may be subpoenaed only if – there is probable cause to believe a reporter has clearly relevant information about a probable violation of the law, – the information cannot be obtained by other means less destructive of the First Amendment, and – there is a compelling and overriding need for the information.
Influence of Stewart dissent• Nine of 12 U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals recognize some privilege.• One has rejected privilege (6th Cir.) and two (7th and 8th Cir.) have not ruled.• Fifteen states have recognized some privilege.• Five have rejected or not ruled on the Stewart criteria.• Here are a few examples of the privilege recognized by state courts.
Florida standard• Reporter has relevant information.• Information not available from other sources.• There is a compelling need for the information.
Iowa standard• Information is necessary or critical to the cause of action or defense.• Other reasonable means to obtain the information have been exhausted.• The action or defense is not patently frivolous.
Kansas standard• A reporter has a limited privilege to withhold information.• Disclosure may be compelled if the information is central to – an element of the offense – proving a defense – reducing the classification of the charge – mitigating or lessening the sentence.
Shield laws• Protect journalists from having to testify in at least some circumstances.• Thirty-six states and the District of Columbia have such laws.• Laws vary widely in what and who is protected.• There is no federal shield law, although bills creating one have been introduced in Congress.
Breakdown of shield laws• Shield laws in 24 states provide qualified protection for sources.• Shield laws in 12 states plus the District of Columbia provide absolute protection for sources.• No shield laws exist in 14 states.
Shield law issues• Who is protected? – Reporters, editors, producers, freelancers, students; type of media.• What is protected? – Confidential sources and information, nonconfidential information, outtakes?• How extensive is the protection? – Qualified or absolute? What are the qualifications? Criminal and civil?
When a news organization burnsa source• During a 1982 governor’s race in Minnesota, the Minneapolis Star Tribune published the name of a confidential source.• The source was fired from his job after the story appeared.
• The source sued under a tort theory known as promissory estoppel.• The U.S. Supreme Court said such suits were permissible under the First Amendment.
Promissory estoppel• Person may enforce a promise that is not a contract if – the defendant made an unambiguous promise, – the plaintiff relied on the promise to his or her detriment, and – enforcement of the promise is necessary to avoid injustice.
Sixth Amendment• In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed....
Preliminary hearings• Criminal defendants often say police gathered evidence in violation of their Fourth Amendment rights or obtained statements in violation of their Fifth Amendment rights.• These challenges are decided in preliminary hearings before the trial.• But evidence excluded from the trial may be disclosed and published by media covering the preliminary hearing.
When news coverage becomes aconcern• Evidence of actual prejudice: – difficulty impaneling a jury. – evidence that jurors influenced by news reports or other outside sources.• Presumed prejudice (even in absence of evidence): – carnival-like atmosphere. – proceedings lacking in solemnity and sobriety.
Convictions overturned• Irvin v. Dowd (1961)• Rideau v. Louisiana (1963)• Estes v. Texas (1965)• Sheppard v. Maxwell (1966)
The Sheppard case• Dr. Sam Sheppard was arrested for the July 4, 1954, murder of his wife, Marilyn.• Sheppard insisted the murder had been committed by a bushy haired man with whom he had struggled.• Sheppard’s case attracted intense news coverage throughout the proceeding, locally and nationally.
• The publicity included reports that Sheppard had a love affair with a nurse, Susan Hayes, who eventually testified at the trial.• The jurors who were deciding Sheppard’s fate were also the objects of publicity, having their names and photographs published in local newspapers.• Sheppard was convicted of second- degree murder and sentenced to prison.
• The U.S. Supreme Court reviewed Sheppard’s conviction in 1966 and said the trial judge, Edward Blythin, had failed to take necessary steps to protect Sheppard’s right to a fair trial. The court did not say what steps, if any, a judge may take against news media.• Following the Sheppard case, judges used a variety of techniques to minimize the impact of news coverage.
Remedies for prejudice(No direct interference with news gathering) • Continuance • Change of venue • Change of venire • Voir dire – Peremptory challenge – Challenge for cause
• Sequestration of jury• Admonitions to jury• Shield witnesses• Caution reporters• New trial
Remedies for prejudice(Direct interference with news gathering) • Restraints on publication • Restraints on attorneys and parties to case • Closure of courtrooms • Closure of court records • Use of contempt power • Restraints on cameras and other equipment
Restraints on publication• A prior restraint on news reporting may be justified to protect a fair trial only after the trial judge determines – the nature and extent of prejudicial news coverage poses threat to a fair trial; – other measures would be unlikely to mitigate the effects of the coverage; – a restraining order would prevent the threat to a fair trial.• The U.S. Supreme Court adopted this test in Nebraska Press Association vs. Stuart.
Restraints on attorneys, etc.• Most states prohibit attorneys from making out-of-court statements they know or should know will prejudice a case.• Prohibitions are constitutional only where there is a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing a proceeding.• Furthermore, such rules must give attorneys fair notice as to what they may or may not say.
Access to proceedings (Step 1)• The First Amendment guarantees access to trials, but not every kind of judicial proceeding is open.• When does a right of access exist? Two guidelines: – Is there an "enduring and vital tradition" of public access to a proceeding? – Does public access enhance the proceeding? (Do the benefits of access outweigh the benefits of secrecy?)
• These guidelines establish a First Amendment right of access to trials and many pretrial proceedings but not to grand jury proceedings, petit jury deliberations and other proceedings traditionally closed.
Access to proceedings (Step 2)• If a proceeding is one to which the public has a right of access, it still may be closed in a particular case if the court finds – a substantial probability that a defendants right to a fair trial will be prejudiced; – closure would prevent the publicity; – and reasonable alternatives to closure would not protect a fair trial.
• Using this test, a court might ─ with difficulty ─ find that the First Amendment right of access to a trial could be abridged.
Problematic information• The following pieces of evidence are ordinarily excluded from trial: – Accused persons prior record of convictions (unless the accused chooses to testify). – Confessions, unless made after the accused has been told of right to remain silent. – Items seized in an unlawful search.
Problematic information• Guidelines used by the U.S. Department of Justice and found in state bar-press voluntary codes endorse disclosure and publication of the following: – Defendants name, age, residence, job, marital status and similar information. – Substance or text of the charge. – Investigating and arresting agency, length of investigation. – Circumstances of arrest, including time, place, use of weapons, resistance by defendant and description of items seized.
Problematic information• DOJ guidelines and bar-press guidelines recommend but do not require withholding or not publishing the following: – Statements, admissions, confessions or alibis attributable to the defendant. – Investigative procedures, such as fingerprints, polygraph tests, ballistics tests. – Identity, credibility or testimony of prospective witnesses. – Evidence or arguments in a case. – Observations about defendants character.
DOJ limitations on agents• Justice Department personnel shall not volunteer information about a suspects prior criminal record, although some of that information may be public.• Justice Department personnel also shall not assist news personnel in photographing or televising a suspect.• State and local agencies may have similar policies.
Access to court records• The right to inspect and copy court records is based on common law, not the First Amendment.• Records are presumed open, but courts may close them for good cause.
• "Good cause" is a low standard, but it means more than preventing embarrassment to a party.• Appellate courts will overturn closure only if trial judge abused her or his discretion.
Contempt of Court• Direct contempt: Actions occurring in or near the courtroom.• Indirect or constructive contempt: Out-of- court actions the judge believes may influence the administration of justice.• Punishing out-of-court statements as contempt is permissible only if statements pose a clear-and-present danger to the administration of justice.
Camera access to courtrooms• The Sixth Amendment does not require an absolute ban on cameras and electronic recording devices in the courtroom.• But the First Amendment does not require state or federal courts to admit them.• All but a few states allow cameras and other devices under a variety of limitations.
Excluding cameras• A defendant may win an order barring cameras and other devices if – news coverage has compromised the ability of the jury to try her or him fairly; or – in a particular case cameras may have such an adverse impact as to deny due process.• The defendant must show more than juror awareness that the trial is likely to attract electronic coverage.
Elements of a libel suit • Defamation • Identification • Publication • Falsity • Injury • Fault
Defamation• A communication is defamatory if it – tends to so harm the reputation of another as to – lower him or her in the estimation of the community, or – deter third persons from associating or dealing with him or her.
Roles of judge and jury• The judge determines whether the statements are capable of a defamatory meaning ─ a question of law.• The jury decides whether the statements were understood as defamatory ─ a question of fact.
Factual nature• For a statement to be defamatory, it must be one that a reasonable person might understand as stating actual facts about the plaintiff.• Generalized insults, unflattering statements may not be defamatory even if false.
Libel per se• The words are defamatory on their face.• Examples are statements implying – Criminal conduct. – Professional incompetence. – Sexual immorality. – A loathsome disease.
Libel per quod• A facially innocent statement becomes defamatory when it is combined with unstated facts known to the audience.• The distinction between libel per se and libel per quod is not as important as it once was.
Libel by implication• Although every fact in a publication may be true, the arrangement of the facts or the omission of some facts creates a false and defamatory impression.• Public officials and public figures must prove publisher knew or had a high degree of awareness of the false implication.• Private individuals must only prove negligence.
Identification• A libel plaintiff must prove that the allegedly defamatory statement is "of and concerning" him or her.• Requires showing that the recipient of the statement correctly or mistakenly (but reasonably) understood the statement to refer to the plaintiff.
Defamation of groups andidentification• Publisher of defamatory statement about a group may be liable to individual members if – the group is so small the statement can reasonably be understood to refer to any member, or – the circumstances reasonably suggest the publication refers to a particular member.
Publication• Publication consists of communicating, intentionally or negligently, defamatory material to one other than the person defamed.• One who republishes defamatory statements is liable for that publication (with some exceptions).
Single publication rule• One edition of a publication is a single publication• The edition is published when it is first received by the general public.
Statute of limitations• States require that a libel suit be brought within a certain number of years of the date of publication.• In most states, it is two years, but some states have one-year limits and others have three-years limits.
Injury• In many cases, the plaintiff must produce evidence of actual injury.• This can mean loss of reputation, mental anguish, humiliation.• Injury is presumed if the publication was a knowing or reckless falsehood (actual malice).
Types of damages• Actual: Compensate plaintiff for injury to reputation; hurt feelings; humiliation. Must be supported by evidence.• Special:Compensation for real, tangible, pecuniary loss (lost business, lost wages or salary, etc.) Must be supported by proof and may not include projected or future losses.
• Presumed: (Also called general damages.) Damages a plaintiff can get without proving any injury. Libel law used to allow juries to presume injury. Now, presumed damages can be awarded only on a showing of actual malice.
• Punitive: Intended to punish bad conduct on the part of the defendant and deter such conduct in the future. (Not allowed in a few states.)• Nominal: A small award made when there has been a breach of duty but no substantial harm to the plaintiff.
Falsity• Plaintiffs must prove the defamatory statements are false in all cases where the plaintiff is a public official or public figure or where the plaintiff is a private individual and the defamatory statement is a matter of public concern.
Matter of public concern• Supreme Court has not defined “public concern” but four factors are relevant: – Forum in which statement appeared. (Statements in the mass media are more likely to be of public concern.) – Status of plaintiff. (A public figure or a private person?)
– Whether statements concern politics or government. (“Politics” should be considered broadly to include any matters affecting how people live their lives.)– Motives of speaker. (Is the speaker trying to alert people to an issue that may affect them or is she seeking some personal benefit?)
Common law defenses: truth• A defamatory statement of fact is not actionable for defamation if it is true.• Truth is a complete defense.• The "sting" or the "gist" of the defamatory charge must be true.• Accurately repeating a defamatory statement is NOT a defense. (Some exceptions apply.)
Common law defenses: fairreport privilege• Publication of defamatory statements made in official documents, official proceedings or public meetings dealing with matters of public concern is privileged• if the publication is a full, fair and accurate abridgement of the document, proceeding or meeting.
Protection for opinion andMilkovich• The U.S. Supreme Court said in Milkovich vs. Lorain Journal that a defamatory statement of fact, even if phrased as a statement of opinion, may be the basis for a libel action.• However, four principles, developed in other cases, provide substantial protection for opinions as well as for other kinds of statements.
• 1. Plaintiffs must prove defamatory statements about matters of public concern are false.• 2. Rhetorical hyperboles or imaginative expressions are not factual, cannot be falsified and cannot be the basis for a libel suit.• 3. Public officials and public figures must prove actual malice.• 4. Appellate courts will review libel judgments with extra care.
Four effects of Sullivan decision • The most important libel decision is New York Times vs. Sullivan. It established four principles: – First Amendment limits state libel law. – Actual malice rule. – Clear-and-convincing evidence standard. – Heightened appellate review of libel judgments.
Actual malice• Public officials (and public figures) must prove actual malice to win a libel suit. That means proving the publisher either – knew the communication was false and defamatory of the other or – acted in reckless disregard of whether it was false and defamatory.
Indicators of actual malice• The following may be evidence of actual malice: – The publisher simply makes up a story. – The story is based wholly on information from an unverified anonymous source. – The story is so inherently improbable that only a reckless person would circulate it without substantiation. – There are obvious reasons to doubt the veracity of the source. – The publisher failed to check known sources that would conclusively establish truth or falsity. – The publisher continued to rely on information that had been disavowed by the source who provided it.
• It is NOT evidence of actual malice when the publisher… – Displayed ill will or spite toward the subject or an intent to harm the subject. – Failed to investigate where • there was no reason to doubt the information, or • the story was breaking news. – Made negligent errors such as confusing or misspelling names. – Selected a reasonable, but mistaken, interpretation of ambiguous documents, etc. – Took an adversarial or investigative stance. – Disregarded a subject’s unsubstantiated denials.
Who must prove actual malice?• Any plaintiff who is a public official.• Any plaintiff who is a public figure.• Any plaintiff who is seeking punitive damages, even if that person is neither a public official nor a public figure.
Who is a public official?• Is in government.• Has or appears to have substantial responsibility for or control over government affairs.• High enough rank that public has an interest in person’s performance and qualifications beyond the general interest in government employees.
Gertz decision• Should private individuals have to prove actual malice? – Private individuals have not invited public scrutiny. – They do not have media access. – They are not shaping public affairs. – Therefore, states may allow private individuals to recover actual damages by showing the publisher was negligent. – But private plaintiffs must prove some degree of fault.
Negligence• Publishing what a reasonable and prudent person would not; failure to protect plaintiff from unreasonable risk to reputation.
Public figures• In Gertz vs. Robert Welch Inc., the U.S. Supreme Court identified three kinds of public figures. – Involuntary – General Purpose – Limited Purpose
Involuntary public figure• A person who has become a public figure through no purposeful action of his or her own.• So rare as to be almost nonexistent.
General-purpose public figure• Persons who have “assumed roles of especial prominence” in society and have acquired such “persuasive power and influence” as to be public figures for all occasions.• These people must prove actual malice regardless of the nature of the defamatory statement.
Indicators of general-purposestatus• Celebrity status – artists, athletes, business people and anyone else famous or infamous.• Ability to influence the opinions and actions of others.• Extent of previous press coverage, voluntariness of exposure, access to media.
Limited-purpose public figure• Persons who have “thrust themselves to the forefront of a particular public controversy” with the aim of influencing the resolution of that controversy.• Must prove actual malice only for defamatory statements related to the public controversy.
Determining limited-purposestatus• Isolate a public controversy.• Determine plaintiff voluntarily played a prominent role in the controversy.• Make sure the defamatory statements are germane to the plaintiffs role.• Determine plaintiff had regular and continuing access to the media.
Identifying public controversies• Must have received press coverage before the defamatory statements were published.• Not every matter of public interest is a public controversy, i.e., sensational divorce cases.• Generalized concerns, even about important issues, are not public controversies, i.e., government spending.
Public vs. private figures• Public figures • Private figures – Subject of organized – Person charged with crime investigation. murder. – Owner of consulting – Consulting firm with firm with city government contracts contracts. – National sportswriter. – Assistant basketball coach. – Insurance company – Corporations with that advertised on competitive ads on health care issues. health insurance.
Corporations as public figure• Factors to be weighed; none is decisive. – Notoriety of corporation to public in the relevant geographic area. – Nature of the corporations business, i.e. consumer goods vs. machine tools. – Frequency and intensity of media scrutiny the corporation normally receives.
How factors relateType of Plaintiff Type of Damages Level of FaultPublic official All damages Actual malicePublic figure All damages Actual malicePrivate figure (public Actual Negligence (in mostconcern) states)Private figure (public Punitive Actual maliceconern)Private figure (no public Presumed and punitive Negligence (in mostconcern) states)
Neutral reportage defense• A news organization is not liable for republishing defamatory charges, even if a reporter doubts them, when they are – made by a responsible, prominent organization – and reported accurately and in a disinterested manner.• This defense is recognized in very few states.
Checking stories• Does the story contain defamatory material?• Check for unintended implications of combinations of visuals and copy.• Are the defamatory statements newsworthy?• Are persons clearly and accurately identified?
• What evidence supports the defamatory statements? Say nothing you can’t support.• Are the sources, documents credible and reliable? (State any limitations.)• Are there relevant sources that have not been interviewed or examined?
• Is the story hot news? If not more investigation may be necessary.• Have you adhered to internal procedures?• Do substantial doubts remain about the accuracy of the story?
Elements of intrusion• One may be liable for invasion of privacy if one – intentionally intrudes, physically or otherwise, upon the solitude or seclusion of another or his private affairs and concerns, and – the intrusion would be highly offensive to a reasonable person.
Additional points• One may be liable for intrusion even if the information gathered is not published.• One may be liable even if the information obtained is true or harmless.
• Intrusion may be by physical means, i.e. entering another person’s home without permission.• Intrusion may be by use of one’s senses, with or without mechanical aids, i.e. peeking into a window, wiretapping a phone.
Which of these is intrusion?• A reporter interviews a senator’s ex-wife who says the senator has a male lover.• While waiting for an interview, a reporter rummages through a senator’s desk and finds a letter from a male lover. She does not publish a story.• Reporter rummages through senator’s desk and finds his secret comic book collection. She publishes a story.
Intrusion• Defendant must intrude on a private place or private seclusion plaintiff has thrown about his affairs.• Expectation of privacy must be reasonable.• No liability for examining public records.
Highly offensive• Intrusion must be a substantial one.• Must be highly offensive to a reasonable person. – Calling a person one, two, three times to ask for an interview would not be an intrusion. – Calling the person repeatedly and frequently would be an intrusion.
General principles• First Amendment does not protect reporters who break the law to gather news.• First Amendment does NOT guarantee press a special right of access to information not available to the public. – California law guarantees a right of access to news scenes to those who need it for their jobs, i.e. reporters.
• Officials may grant press special access at their discretion.• Access must be nondiscriminatory.
Areas of Concern• Public places.• Private places.• Private places where newsgatherers have been invited by officials.• Surreptitious recording and photographing.• Posing.
Public places• What happens in public or can be perceived by people in public places is usually fair game.• An exception may be made for reporters or photographers who are exceptionally aggressive.
• One famous case involved photographer Ronald Galella and Jacqueline Onassis, the widow of President John F. Kennedy.• Onassis considered Galella’s aggressive tactics a threat to her safety and that of her children.• She obtained a court order restricting Galella’s practices in photographing Onassis and her children.
Anti-paparazzi bills• Since the death of Princess Diana, several legislators have introduced bills that would restrict newsgathering in public places.• Most such bills failed to pass.• In 1998, however, California passed a law that imposes liability on photographers who trespass with “malicious” intent.
Private places• Uninvited newsgatherers in private homes may be liable for trespass or intrusion.• Newsgathering may be restricted in private businesses, too, even if open to the public.• Businesses have no privacy rights, but they may sue for trespass.
Private places-police invitation• When police enter private homes to execute a search or arrest warrant and bring news reporters and photographers with them, they violate the Fourth Amendment rights of the residents.
• Police may be liable for damages. Press may be liable, too, either for violating Fourth Amendment rights or for common-law intrusion.• It is possible that journalists may ride along with police and not be liable if – they stay on public property or – they get consent of residents.
Surreptitious recording• Federal law and most state laws allow a person to record a conversation so long as one party consents.• The consenting party may be the one doing the recording.• Thirteen states —California, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington—require the consent of all parties to the recording of conversations.
• Michigan allows a participant to a conversation to record it without notifying others, but a participant cannot authorize a third party to record a conversation.• Another 13 states (i.e., Kansas, South Dakota) prohibit unauthorized use or installation of cameras in private places.
The FCC Phone Rule• Broadcasters must say when a conversation is being recorded for broadcast or is being broadcast live.• Consent is not required to satisfy the rule.
• The rule does not apply when parties may be presumed to know the conversation will be broadcast. – Conversations with station employees. – Conversations with those who originate calls to stations (as in contests).
FCC Tariff Regulations• Require that all parties to a telephone conversation be informed when it its recorded.• Tariff regulationss are operating rules that govern phone companies; they are not enforced by government.• If phone company learns the tariff has been violated, it may terminate the customer’s service.
Posing• Two ABC reporter-producers got jobs at Food Lion using phony names and references.• Food Lion sued for fraud, trespass, breach of duty of loyalty and unfair competition.
• A jury awarded $5.5 million in damages (later reduced to $315,000) to Food Lion.• Appeals court reversed all but trespass and breach of duty of loyalty awards: total $2.• Although this may seem like a victory for the media, it may be the product of the unusual circumstances of the case.• The jury award reflects public displeasure with media practices.
Components of an effective statute• Clear definitions. • Post where records available; how to• Limits on executive access them. sessions. • Timely notice of• Extend to the public meetings. legislature, all state agencies and local • Civil penalties. units. • A public appeals commission or oversight official.
Types of privacy actions• The right of privacy is invaded by – a) intrusion upon seclusion (this will be covered in the section on newsgathering); – b) misappropriation of anothers name or likeness; – c) publicity given to private facts; or – d) placing another in a false light.
False light• False light consists of – a) giving publicity to matters concerning another that place the other in a false light, and – b) the false light would be highly offensive to a reasonable persons, and – c) the author or publisher acted with knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard for falsity.
False light vs. libel• In libel, the plaintiff must prove the statements defamatory. In false light, they merely must be proved highly offensive.• Libel protects an individual’s interest in reputation. False light protects a person’s privacy interest.
Private figures and false light• Because false light resembles libel, some say the rules for public and private figures should apply here, too.• Some states have ruled that private individuals can recover for false light on a showing of negligence, not actual malice.
Situation 1• Alice is a taxi driver. The Beacon newspaper publishes a story saying many local taxi drivers cheat the public on fares. The Beacon illustrates the story with a photograph of Alice, who has never cheated a fare.• Is this libel or false light?
Situation 2• Abe is pro-life. Betty induces him to sign a petition nominating Charlotte for public office. Afterwards, Abe discovers Charlotte is pro-choice. He demands that Betty remove his name from the petition. She refuses to do so and continues to circulate the petition bearing Abe’s name.• Is this libel or false light?
Misappropriation• One may be liable for invasion of privacy if one• a) misappropriates to his own use or benefit• b) the name or likeness of another.
Newsworthiness exception• Use of a persons name or likeness in connection with a matter of public interest is NOT considered misappropriation unless the use bears no real relationship to the matter of public interest.
Scope of newsworthiness• Courts have been very liberal in finding publications in mass media newsworthy.• Actress Ann-Margret appeared partially nude in a movie. She sued for misappropriation when a magazine published a still photo of that scene.• The court ruled the publication was newsworthy.
Publicity given to private facts• One may be liable for invasion of privacy if one – a) gives publicity to a matter concerning the private life of another and – b) the matter publicized would be highly offensive to a reasonable person and – c) it is not of legitimate concern to the public.
Private facts • Only the disclosure of private facts is actionable. • Publicity to public information or matters that occur in public cannot be the basis for a lawsuit.
Publicity vs. publication• “Publication” means any communication by the defendant to a third person.• “Publicity” means communicating the message to the public at large.
• Privacy is not invaded by communicating a fact to a small group. “Publicity” requires communicating the message to a large enough audience that one can say it has been made public.
Highly offensive• The law protects only against unreasonable publicity, the kind highly offensive to a reasonable person.• Minor and moderate annoyance is not enough.• Only when a reasonable person would feel seriously aggrieved is there basis for a lawsuit.
Shulman vs. Group WProductions • California Supreme Court laid down a standard for newsworthiness. • Courts must make some assessment of the social value of a publication. • Newsworthiness depends on the intimacy of the facts disclosed and plaintiff’s role in public events.
• Publication is protected only if there is some substantial relevance to a matter of legitimate public concern• and a nexus between the facts disclosed and the events that brought the plaintiff to the public eye.• Publication is newsworthy if some reasonable members of the public could entertain a legitimate interest in it.
Public figure status for privacyaction• Voluntary Public Figure. Those who voluntarily place themselves in the public eye cannot complain when they receive the publicity they have sought, even if it is unfavorable.
• Involuntary Public Figure. Some people do not seek publicity, but through circumstances or their own conduct, they become legitimate subjects of public interest. Often these people are victims of crime, victims of catastrophes or accidents or participants in judicial proceedings or other events that attract public attention. As such they are regarded as proper subjects of public interest.
Extent of permissible publicity• Permissible publicity is not limited to the particular events that arouse the interest of the public. That interest may legitimately extend, to a reasonable degree, to unrelated facts about the individual [and his family members], which are not public....
• The line is to be drawn when the publicity ceases to be the giving of information to which the public is entitled, and becomes a morbid and sensational prying into private lives for its own sake, with which a reasonable member of the public, with decent standards, would say that he had no concern.
Copyright and freedom• Copyright both limits and enhances freedom of expression.• It limits by preventing the use of another’s copyrighted work.• It enhances by providing an economic incentive to creators of copyrighted works.
Subject matter of copyright• Copyright protects original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which the works can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.
Works of authorship• Works of authorship include literary works, musical works, dramatic works, pantomimes, choreographs, photographs, paintings, sculptures, motion pictures, sound recordings, and architectural works.
Excluded from copyright protection• Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, procedures, processes, systems, methods of operation, concepts, principles, or discoveries.• Some of these may be protected under patent law.• Copyright does protect the expression of facts, ideas, processes, etc.
Originality • The prerequisite for copyright is originality. • Originality does not mean novelty. • Only a small amount of originality is sufficient to qualify a work for copyright protection. • The work must owe its origin to the author.
• Facts cannot be copyrighted because they do not "owe their origin" to an author. The person who reports a fact does not create it.• Factual compilations may qualify for copyright protection if the authors selection and arrangement of the facts is sufficiently original.
Elements of infringement• To prove copyright infringement, the holder of the copyright must show – ownership of a valid copyright and – unauthorized copying of the work by the defendant.
Proof of copying• To prove unauthorized copying of a copyrighted work, the plaintiff must show – access to the work by the defendant and – direct or circumstantial evidence of copying.
Direct and circumstantialevidence of copying• Direct evidence may consist of the infringers admission of copying or the testimony of witnesses.• More commonly, the copyright holder must use circumstantial evidence, usually evidence of a substantial similarity between the plaintiffs work and the defendants.
Substantial similarity• One may find two works substantially similar where "the ordinary observer, unless he set out to detect the disparities, would be disposed to overlook them, and regard their aesthetic appeal as the same." – Judge Learned Hand in Peter Pan Fabrics, Inc. v. Martin Weiner Corp. , 274 F.2d 487, 489 (2nd Cir. 1960)
• The test of similarity is whether a lay observer would regard the copy as having been appropriated from the original.• Copying need not be of every detail so long as the works are substantially similar.• Similarity should be not of the idea alone but of the expression of the idea.
Remedies for infringement• Impound or destroy infringing works.• Pay actual or statutory damages.• Actual damages are gross revenues less noninfringing expenses and profits.• Statutory damages = $250 to $10,000.• Up to $50,000 for willful infringement.• As low as $100 for unknowing infringement.
Exclusive rights in copyrightedworks• Copyright owner may – reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords; – prepare derivative works; – distribute copies or phonorecords for sale, rental, lease or lending;
– perform the copyrighted work publicly (as with plays or musical compositions);– display the copyrighted work publicly (as in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works).
Work made for hire• A "work made for hire" is – prepared by an employee within the scope of employment; or – specially commissioned, on written agreement, as a contribution to a collective work. (For instance, photographs prepared to accompany a text written by another author.)
• The employer or other person for whom the work was prepared is considered the author of a work for hire (unless the parties have expressly agreed otherwise in writing) and owns all of the rights comprised in the copyright.• Freelance writers and photographers generally own copyrights to their works unless assigned to another.
Duration of copyright• Single author: Life of the author, plus 70 years.• Joint authors: Life of last surviving author plus 70 years.• Works for hire, anonymous and pseudonymous works: 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter.
Copyright registration• Establishes a public record.• Establishes prima facie validity of copyright.• Is a prerequisite for an infringement suit.• Allows owner to register with U.S. Customs Service for protection from importation of infringing copies.
• Registration is not required.• Works enjoy copyright protection without registration.• Owners of copyrighted works must deposit two copies with Library of Congress, even if work is unregistered.
Registration procedures• Obtain and complete applicable form. (Varies with the nature of the work.)• Pay filing fee (usually $30).• Deposit one copy of unpublished works, two of published works.• Send to – Register of Copyrights; Copyright Office, Library of Congress; Washington, D.C. 20559
Fair use• A limitation on exclusive rights.• The fair use of a work for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.• To determine whether any use is a fair one, courts must consider four factors.• No use is presumptively fair.
The four fair use factors• The purpose and character of the use.• The nature of the copyrighted work.• The amount and substantiality of the portion used.• The likely effect on the potential market for the original work.
Purpose and character of theuse• Focuses on what the defendant does with the plaintiff’s copyrighted work.• Is the use commercial in nature or is it for nonprofit educational purposes? – Commercial uses are not automatically excluded as fair uses, nor are noncommercial uses automatically fair.• Is the use “transformative”?
The nature of the copyrightedwork• Focuses on the plaintiff’s work.• Is the work fiction or factual?• Is the work published or unpublished?
Amount and substantiality ofportion used• No quantitative guidelines.• How much of the original was used?• How much of the infringing work was borrowed from the original?• Using even small amounts may be unfair if the heart of the original is taken.• Parodies may use enough to recall the original.
Likely effect on the potentialmarket• Must estimate future impact.• Applies to derivative creations.
Summary leads• Should focus on one of these: – Most important information (the central point). – What action was taken; what was said. – The most recent developments. – The facts most likely to interest readers. – The most unusual facts.
Suitcase lead• Reporters used to try to cram the who, what, when, where, why and how all into the lead, like trying to cram a week’s worth of clothes into a small suitcase.• The better practice is to put only the most important or most newsworthy information in the lead.
Example of a suitcase lead• Brian Earl Taylor, 22, of Ypsilanti was pronounced dead at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital and his 20-year-old companion is hospitalized following a drive-by shooting at 9:30 p.m. Sunday in which an unknown number of gunmen shot into a crowd gathered along Second Avenue in front of the Forrest Knoll public housing complex on the city’s south side. (60 words)
Improved version• An unknown number of gunmen fired into a crowd gathered along Second Avenue Sunday killing one man and wounding another. (20 words)
Blind leads• The term Jack Hart gives to leads that hold back less important details blind leads. – BOSTON (AP) – A study published today concludes that lactose intolerance is probably not responsible for bouts of intestinal mayhem most people blame on milk.• A catchall paragraph follows explaining “lactose intolerance.”
Tips for good summary leads• Be concise: Shoot for 18-20 words or fewer.• Be specific: Use details readers can visualize.• Use strong, active verbs.• Stress the unusual: What makes this story different?• Write for your readers, not your sources.
Missing the news• The lead that follows looks like a good one, but it omitted a distinctive detail that lifted this story out of the ordinary. – YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) – A car sliced through a crowded fast-food restaurant at lunchtime Tuesday, officials said, killing two people and injuring six others.
Rewritten version• Here’s a rewritten version with the distinctive detail lifted from the body of the story to the lead. – YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) – A car sliced through a fast-food restaurant Tuesday, killing an elderly couple who had stopped for lunch before going to a family member’s funeral. Six other people were injured.
Using strong verbs• The following leads rely on strong verbs to make them more interesting. – NEW YORK (AP) – To the last day, Americans flocked to the tall ships at berth, clambered up the treacherous gangplanks, grasped the huge wheels, and fondled the brass windlasses. – FRANKLINTON, La. (AP) – A tank truck carrying 7,000 gallons of gasoline collided with a car and overturned Monday, crushing the trucker to death and igniting a fire that spread 50-foot flames over two blocks.
Dramatic contrasts• Good leads often use dramatic contrast, irony to grab readers’ attention. The contrast in this photo is the man dressed as a 12th century Scottish warrior talking on a cell phone.
• FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – Thou shalt post the Ten Commandments on the classroom wall, says a 1978 Kentucky law. Thou shalt not, says the U.S. Supreme Court. Help! Say confused local school boards.
• Or they mayemphasize or evoke strong emotions.
• The New Jersey hospital where Karen Anne Quinlan has lain in a coma for nearly a year will not challenge a court decision granting her the right to “death with dignity.”
• Or theymay create strong images that will help readers visualize the story.
• MADISON, Wis. (AP) – State Sen. Clifford “Tiny” Krueger eased his 300- pound frame into a witness chair Friday and said fat people should not be barred from adopting children.• MIAMI (AP) – Bill Cashman, a fireman, says he didn’t mind posing nude for a centerfold in a magazine for women who like men. But he has a $2 million objection to use of his picture in a magazine for men who like men.
Things to avoid• Burying the news behind attribution or subordinate clauses. – At a press conference in Washington, D.C., Friday, Neil A. Schuster, spokesperson for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, announced that last month the cost of living rose 2.83 percent, a record high.
• The following revision puts the news first: – The cost of living rose 2.83 percent last month, a record high, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Friday.
• Agenda leads emphasize topics, time and place, not the news. – James Matthews, president of International Biotech Inc., a company that manufactures recycling and composting machinery, was the keynote speaker at Monday night’s opening ceremony of the Earth Preservation Society’s annual conference at the Lyceum Center.
• This revised version emphasizes the news – what the speaker said. – REVISED: Unless industrial nations learn to recycle, Earth’s inhabitants may confront a future troubled by disease and hunger, the president of a company that makes recycling machinery told the Earth Preservation Society Monday.
• Label leads tell readers the topic of a meeting or speech, not the news. – The City Council Tuesday discussed ways of regulating a new topless club in the city.• This revision tells the readers what the news is. – The City Council Tuesday asked the city attorney to draft a new zoning ordinance that would limit the locations for topless clubs.
The 2-3-1 rule• Leads often have three points of emphasis. Donald Murray of The Boston Globe recommends using them in 2-3-1 order.• Use the second most important or interesting fact to capture the reader’s interest, but save the most important for last, where it will have the most impact.
Example of 2-3-1 order• MACON, Ga. (AP) -- Two men who 2 illegally plucked the tail feathers from two golden eagles 3 were sentenced to work 1 in a chicken processing plant.• “You’ll have your fill of feathers – and, hopefully, you’ll never want to be around another feather in your life,” U.S. Magistrate Claude Hicks told them Wednesday.
Don’t forget the when• The time element – when something happened – is an important part of news stories.• The time element doesn’t have to be in every lead, though it should run high in the story.• Placement is a matter of judgment.
• Generally put time element after the main verb, unless it could be mistaken as the object of the verb: – WRONG: President Bush said America faces a new terrorist threat Tuesday . – BETTER: President Bush said Tuesday America faces a new terrorist threat. – WRONG: President Bush postponed Tuesday a decision on welfare. – BETTER: President Bush postponed a decision on welfare Tuesday.
Phrasing the time element• For morning papers: – Use “today” only to refer to the day of publication. – Use the day of the week – “Monday,” “Tuesday,” etc. – to refer to a day seven days before or after publication. – Use month and date – June 17 – to refer to a date beyond the seven-day range.
• For afternoon papers: – Use “today” and “tonight” to refer to the day and evening of publication. – Use “tomorrow” and “yesterday” to refer to the day immediately before or after the day of publication. – Otherwise, follow the rules for morning papers.
Examples of problems withleads and possible revisions
• This lead tells only half the story: – With the opening of its new loop design, Russ Griess had hoped he’d seen the last of the “T- bone accidents” at the Interstate 80 interchange south of the city.• Revision: – Russ Griess had hoped the new loop design would end “T-bone accidents” at the Interstate 80 interchange – but it hasn’t.
• This lead focuses on a bureaucracy: – ROSE RIVER – School boards from two of the three elementary feeder schools for Rose River Rural Junior/Senior High School have voted in favor of a middle- school concept for the 2002-03 school year.• This revision emphasizes people: – ROSE RIVER – If the Arcadia elementary school district agrees, the Rose River Rural Junior/Senior High School will add sixth graders in 2002-03.
• More bureaucracy: – A city transportation system and another bond issue could be in the school district’s long-range plans, according to discussions Thursday night during a school board budget review.• Emphasize people: – Changes in where families with children live may force the school district to bus students or build new schools or both, district officials said Thursday.
• “Staffing plans” are abstract, bureaucratic: – County Supervisor Pam Wong wants to discuss the staffing plans for the White Ridge Army Ammunition Plant when the county board meets Tuesday.• The news is how this will affect workers: – A Hall County supervisor hopes to keep three employees working at the White Ridge Army Ammunition Plant until environmental clean-up work is finished.
• This lead is so focused on legalities that it contains no news: – Hall County is required to give inmates the same level of medical treatment the general public receives, Corrections Director Dave Arnold said.• This revision emphasizes what’s new: – Hall County’s costs for medical care for jail inmates doubled – from $50,000 to $100,000 – last year because of a new state regulation. – Friday morning, county, state and federal officials gathered to find a way to pay the bill.
• This lead is abstract and contains no news: – Home ownership is good for a community for a number of reasons – pride, responsibility, property maintenance, taxes – says Community Projects Director Cindy Johnson.• The revision makes clear the story describes a new program that may affect citizens: – You can rent-to-own a TV; you can rent-to- own a sofa, and soon you’ll be able to rent-to- own a home.
• Here’s a good lead on a great story: – One woman burglar went to great lengths to escape the long arm of the law Wednesday by shrugging out of the top half of her clothes to escape detention before Westwood police arrived.• But this revision is shorter and more concrete: – A woman burglar interrupted during her crime Wednesday fled leaving the loot, her coat, her shirt and her brassiere.
Alternative leads• Use storytelling devices to hook readers: – Anecdotes – Description – Dialogue• Have a nut paragraph – usually three to six paragraphs into the story – that summarizes the focus.
Pros and cons• Alternative leads use storytelling techniques to attract readers.• They allow writers freedom to organize the story in different ways.• Critics say alternative leads are inappropriate for many news stories.• They bury the news several paragraphs into the story.
Delayed leads• Begin the story with an anecdote or situation.• After the first two to five paragraphs in which you develop the anecdote or situation, write a nut paragraph that explains what the story is about.
An example: – With gasoline topping $4 a gallon, Allen Welles envied drivers who could buy the ethanol blends, which usually were 10 to 15 cents a gallon cheaper. – But he knew his imported sports car needed the more expensive premium blend, so he kept paying the higher price. – When his car developed engine trouble, his mechanic said the gasoline Welles was buying contained ethanol.
– Now the state attorney general suspects the gas station Welles patronized is one of many that have been selling cheap ethanol-blend gasoline as premium.• The first three paragraphs describe the problems a sports-car owner is having with his car. The problems could easily be dismissed as those of one rich man with an expensive toy.
• The fourth paragraph, the nut paragraph, explains that this man’s problems are part of a trend that may be affecting thousands of drivers, poor and rich.• The rest of the story would develop how widespread is the problem of passing off cheaper grades of gasoline as premium and what the state is doing about it.
Quotations• Quotations usually make poor leads.• They may create more confusion for the reader than stimulate interest.• Quotations are rarely self-explanatory.• Quotations make better kickers, or conclusions, than they do leads.
Questions• Occasionally questions make good leads.• Examples: – Every two minutes, three people become victims of identity theft. Will you be next? – Who fares better in marriage – men or women?• Avoid overusing questions as leads.
Other kinds of leads• Some may have a shocking twist: – Nobody knows who killed Amy Silberman – maybe not even the killer. – But there are plenty of suspects in the death of the Boston tourist killed by a bullet that dropped from the sky and pierced her skull New Year’s Eve. • The Associated Press
• Other leads may employ irony: – Richard Vasquez thought he had problems when his computer broke down and he had to have a technician repair it. – But when Vasquez showed up to reclaim his computer, police officers were waiting to arrest him for collecting and distributing child pornography.
Inverted pyramid• The most common organization for news stories.• The first paragraph or two tell the most important and newsworthy facts.• The rest of the information is organized in descending order of importance.
How a story might look• Here’s how an inverted pyramid story about an automobile accident might look:
Tips for inverted pyramidstories• Avoid leapfrogging.• Continue with the news in the second paragraph.
Leapfrogging• Leapfrogging happens when the lead refers to a person whose name appears in the second paragraph – but the connection is not clear. – A 55-year-old man wept Wednesday after a Circuit Court jury found him innocent of burglary. – Gary Lee Phillips was arrested two months ago.
– REVISED: A 55-year-old man wept Wednesday after a Circuit Court jury found him innocent of burglary. – The defendant, Gary Lee Phillips, was arrested two months ago.• The revision makes clear that Phillips is the defendant referred to in the first paragraph.
Continue with the news• Be sure the second paragraph continues with the news. – The City Council rejected the mayor’s proposed budget Saturday as requiring too large a tax increase. – Mayor Sabrina Datolli was born in Arcadia, Kan.• In the above example, the second paragraph has no bearing on the lead.
Names and background• Don’t emphasize names unless they are inherently newsworthy. Emphasize what people say and do, not who they are.• Don’t crowd background information into the second paragraph. Save it for later in the story, or – better still – incorporate background information that’s relevant to the news.
Complicated stories• Meetings, speeches and other stories may raise several newsworthy topics.• The lead should emphasize the one or two most important items.
• Summarize the less important items in the second or third paragraph.• The body of the story should first develop the more important topics, then the lesser ones.
Focus stories• This formula was developed by The Wall Street Journal and adopted by many other papers.• The lead focuses on an individual, a specific event or a situation that illustrates a larger issue.• A nut paragraph states that issue and explains how the focus relates to it.
How a focus story looks • The body of the story develops and explains the issue. • A kicker, which often ties back to the lead, concludes the story
Tips for focus stories • The success of the focus story depends on the selection of the lead. – It must be interesting so as to capture the attention of readers. – It must also clearly connect to the central point of the story expressed in the nut paragraph. • The body of the story can be developed in may ways: chronological; inverted pyramid, etc.
Hourglass stories• Created by Roy Peter Clark, writing coach at the St. Petersburg, Fla., Times.• The hourglass structure combines advantages of the inverted pyramid and chronological narrative.
How an hourglass story looks • The first few paragraphs areinverted pyramid style. • A “turn” makes the transition to theremainder of the story,which is chronological.
Tips for hourglass stories• The inverted pyramid top keeps the news high.• The chronological body allows the writer to use narrative to develop the story.• The “turn” is one or more paragraphs that make the transition from inverted pyramid to the chronology.
Conclusions or kickers• Strong conclusions are as important – and as hard to write – as strong leads.• Often a kicker is a quote from a key source ...• Or an explanation of future action...• Or a return to words or ideas in the lead.• Don’t editorialize.
Central point• Every story should have a central point – a one- or two-sentence summary of what the story is about and why it is newsworthy.• The central point should be stated in the story, either in the lead or in a nut paragraph.
A central point is not a topic• Two stories may have the same topic but have different central points.• Two reporters profile the same political candidate. – For one the central point might be: “Single mom balances campaigning and family life.” – For the other it might be: “GOP candidate adopts conservative positions on most issues.”
Central point provides direction• Helps reporter decide what information to seek.• Helps reporter decide what information to leave out.• Answers the “so what?” question for the reader.
Absence of central point• Stories that lack a central point tend to wander.• Reporters include unrelated facts, quotations and anecdotes because they have no sense of what they are trying to accomplish.• Stories are disorganized and hard to read.
Central point, lead, nutparagraph• The central point, lead and nut paragraph may all be the same thing … or they may differ.• The lead is the first paragraph of the story.• The nut paragraph gives the essence of the story; it answers the “so what” question. It may be the fourth or fifth paragraph.
• The lead and the nut paragraph may be the same paragraph. – In stories that use a basic, or summary, lead, the lead is the nut paragraph.• Either the lead or the nut paragraph must incorporate central point.
Outline• Good stories are planned; that includes making an outline.• Use jot outlines• List four or five main topics in the order you will develop them in the story.
Example• Central point: Central High School journalism students fear censorship. – Football story angers principal. – Threats of prior restraint. – Legal status of high school press. – Parents support journalism students.
Simplify words, sentences,paragraphs• Strive to keep sentences short – 15 to 20 words. Short sentences are easier to understand.• Keep paragraphs short – two or three sentences at most.• Use concrete nouns and verbs that convey action.• Eliminate unnecessary words.
Remain objective• Attribute all statements of opinion to sources.• Don’t let sources dictate your story.• Avoid adjectives and adverbs, which usually convey an evaluation.• Avoid stereotypes of race, gender and age.
Purpose of attribution• It serves the same purpose as footnotes in scholarly papers.• It tells the reader where the information came from.• It increases the reader’s confidence in the story’s accuracy.
What to attribute• Direct and indirect quotations.• Statements of opinion.• Second-hand information.• Descriptions of events, scenes not witnessed by reporter.
What not to attribute• Common knowledge.• Events witnessed by the reporter.
Verbs of attribution• The most versatile verb is “to say.”• Other verbs – “comment,” “reply,” “explain,” “point out,” “urge” – all have narrower meanings.• Use the past tense for attribution in hard- news stories.• Present-tense attribution is acceptable in features.
Word order for attribution• Use subject-verb order for attribution: – "Your crime was so bloody that I must sentence you to death," the judge said. – NOT: “Your crime was so bloody that I must sentence you to death," said the judge.
• Exception: Put the verb first when a long identifying phrase accompanies the name. – “We must halt binge drinking by students,” said Norm Wilson, associate dean for student life. – NOT: “We must halt binge drinking by students,” Norm Wilson, associate dean for student life, said.
Placement of attribution• Attribution may come at the beginning of a direct or indirect quotation, at the end or at a natural break in the middle. – President Bush said, "We will teach Saddam Hussein a lesson." – "We will teach Saddam Hussein a lesson," President Bush said. – WRONG: "We will teach," President Bush said, "Saddam Hussein a lesson." – BETTER: "We will teach Saddam Hussein a lesson," President Bush said, "by refusing to be intimidated."
Placement of attribution• Never bury a good quotation behind the attribution. Put the quotation first, unless there is some special reason to emphasize the source. – Gen. MacArthur said, “I shall return.” – BETTER: “I shall return,” Gen. MacArthur said.
• Put the attribution first when switching from one speaker to another or introducing a new speaker.• WRONG: – “The president’s budget will not pass,” Boehner said. – “I think we can find enough votes to adopt this plan,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.
• BETTER: – “The president’s budget will not pass,” Boehner said. – But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “I think we can find enough votes to adopt this plan.”
Levels of Attribution• On the record• On background• On deep background• Off the record
On the Record• May use direct quotations.• Attribute by name and full title.• Example: – “The president’s plan will eliminate income taxes on corporate dividends paid to investors,” said Joshua Bolton, the White House chief of staff.
On Background• May use direct quotations.• Attribute by general description; do not use name and title.• Example: – “The president’s plan will eliminate income taxes on corporate dividends paid to investors,” a White House official familiar with the proposal said.
On Deep Background• May NOT use direct quotations.• May not attribute to any source.• Example: – The administration is preparing an economic plan that will eliminate income taxes on corporate dividends.• Because you’re asking the reader to take your word, use deep background rarely.
Off the Record• The reporter may not use the information in any way.• Some would use as a lead to an on- the-record source.
Guidelines for Using AnonymousSources• Get your editors approval.• Be prepared to identify your anonymous sources to your editor.• Use anonymous sources only for essential facts, not opinions. Even then, information from anonymous sources should be verified.
• Be sure you understand the motives of the anonymous source.• Identify sources as specifically as possible without revealing their identities so that readers can judge their reliability.• Explain in the story why the source does not want to be identified.• Never allow a source to engage in anonymous attacks on other individuals or groups.
When to use quotations• To let the sources talk directly to the reader.• When you cannot improve on the speakers exact words.• To tie a controversial opinion to the source.• As evidence for a statement.• To reveal the speakers character.
When NOT to use quotations• To tell the story.• To convey facts.• Simply to use quotations.
Attributes of good quotations• short• dramatic• grammatical• self-explanatory
Types of Quotations• Full quotation• Partial quotation• Orphan quotation• Quotation with parenthetical material
Full Quotation• A full quotation is at least one complete sentence of quoted material.• Example: – The Soviet premier said, "We are going to decorate the soldiers who shot down this plane."
Partial Quotation• A partial quotation combines less than a full sentence of direct quotation with a paraphrase.• Example: – Mayor Datolli declared today, tomorrow and Sunday as days of mourning for the “extraordinary men and women who died as heroes in defense of freedom."
Orphan Quotation• An orphan quotation is using quotation marks around a single word or two.• Example: – Sheriff DiCesari promised “swift” action to apprehend the suspect.• Usually, as in the above example, the quotation marks are meaningless.
Misuse of orphan quotations• Orphan quotation can cause problems. In the following example, the use of the orphan quotation led to a libel case. Can you guess why? – As police delved into his tangled business affairs, several women described as "associated" with Brenhouse were questioned at Hastings Police Headquarters. – Among those questioned were Mrs. W. B. Wildstein who, with her husband, shared the second half of the two-family house in which Brenhouse lived.
Quotation with ParentheticalMaterial• In this type of quotation, the writer inserts in parentheses a word or phrase the speaker did not use.• If you need to insert more than a word or two to make the quotation understandable, use a paraphrase instead.
• Examples: – Armstrong said he had no difficulty moving around on the moon. "Its easier than the simulators in one-sixth G (gravity) we performed on the ground," he said. – "And now (oil officials) are talking about dispersants. I cant believe any of this," said Riki Ott of the Cordova District Fishermans United.
Quotation marks• Use double quotation marks for the speakers words. – "In the past days, however, it has become evident to me that I no longer have a strong enough political base in the Congress to justify continuing that effort," Nixon said.
• Use single quotation marks for quotes within quotes. – "This law makes it a crime to distribute A Catcher in the Rye over the Internet," she said.
• Use one set of quotation marks for each direct quotation no matter how long. – "But this risk of prejudice does not automatically justify refusing public access to hearings on every motion to suppress. Through voir dire, cumbersome as it is in some circumstances, a court can identify those jurors whose prior knowledge of the case would disable them from rendering an impartial verdict. And even if closure were justified for the hearings on a motion to suppress, closure of an entire 41-day proceeding would rarely be warranted. The First Amendment right of access cannot be overcome by the conclusory assertion that publicity might deprive the defendant of that right," Chief Justice Burger wrote.
• For a quotation of two or more paragraphs, open each paragraph with quotation marks but use closing quotes only at end of last paragraph of quotation. – "Neither our elected nor our appointed representatives may abridge the free flow of information simply to protect their own activities from public scrutiny. – "But it has always been apparent that the freedom to obtain information ... is far narrower than the freedom to disseminate information...," Justice Stevens said.
• Do not place the attribution inside the quotation marks. – WRONG: "He just told us that the country couldnt operate with a half-time president, Goldwater reported. Then he broke down and cried." – BETTER: "He just told us that the country couldnt operate with a half-time president," Goldwater reported. "Then he broke down and cried."
Commas• Use commas to set off attribution from quotations. – Goldwater reported, "He just told us that the country couldnt operate with a half-time president."
Colons• Colons may be used to set off attribution from quotations of two or more sentences. – Goldwater reported: "He just told us that the country couldnt operate with a half-time president. Then he broke down and cried."
Periods and commas• If the attribution follows the quotation, change the period at end of the quotation to a comma.• "He just told us that the country couldnt operate with a half-time president," Goldwater reported.
End punctuation• Periods and commas always go inside quotation marks.• Examples: – Gingrich said, "I can give you seven examples of Democratic stupidity." – "I can give you seven examples of Democratic stupidity," Gingrich said.
• Colons and semicolons always go outside quotation marks. – Gingrich listed seven issues over which Democrats had displayed their "stupidity": defense, welfare, medical care, environment, the minimum wage, telecommunications reform and taxation. – Gingrich listed seven issues over which Democrats had displayed their "stupidity"; however, Democrats had won elections on each in recent years.
• Exclamation points and question marks go inside or outside depending on whether the entire quotation is a question or exclamation.• Examples: – "Why are Nebraska winters so cold?" he asked. – How will future audiences regard "Citizen Kane"?
Preparing for the interview• Know the purpose of your interview: – news, – feature, – investigation.• Select your sources.• Research your sources and topics.• Prepare your questions.
For news story interviews• Obtain the following: – facts, specifics, details; – chronology; – relationships; – context and perspective; – anecdotes.
For feature story interviews• Obtain the following: – everything you get for a news story plus... – description of environment; – description of subject; – mannerisms; – smells, sounds, likenesses; – vignettes.
For investigative story interviews• Obtain the following – everything you would seek for a new interview or a feature interview plus … – the source’s version of events; – explanations of contradictions; – replies to charges, allegations.
Selecting sources• Review the presentation “Sources.”• Interview the best available source.• Interview sources who are relevant to the central point.
Researching sources and topics• Research helps you – Save time by not asking old questions. – Prepare questions that will interest the source. – Recognize newsworthy statements. – Spot inconsistencies in a source’s story. – Avoid having to reinterview a source. – Encourage the source to speak freely.
Interview secondary sources first• Secondary sources provide leads, possible questions.• Secondary sources provide context.• You’re less likely to have to reinterview your main source if you interview secondary sources first.
Preparing questions• Ask questions that will enable you to develop the tentative central point of your story.• Don’t hesitate to change the central point if something more newsworthy emerges.• Write down questions in abbreviated form.
Open-end vs. closed-end• Dont ask closed-end questions: – Will the states new lids on taxes and spending hurt local schools?• The source can answer just yes or no.• Ask open-end questions: – How will the states new lids on taxes and spending affect local schools?• The source must provide explanation.
Prepare questions that…• Allow sources to tell their stories.• Elicit anecdotes and examples.• Don’t make the source think you are bringing preconceptions to the story.• Are short.
Questions that elicit anecdotes• What crime was the most difficult for you to solve in your career as a police officer?• What television shows do you consider most harmful for children to watch?• (Always seek examples or anecdotes to illustrate or support generalizations.)