Nut Grafs


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  • Supporting information and context
  • What is the nut graf?
  • What context? Summary, simply stated without numbers to get in the way Numbers: Hundreds in jail. Specific examples.
  • Mental illness in China.
  • Fingernails. So how does this end?
  • Nut Grafs

    1. 1. Story structure: After the Lede J425
    2. 2. Notes on Beat Notes <ul><li>Public Affairs Journalism: Government and your beat </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How does your beat affect public affairs? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>With a few exceptions, we’re interested in issues, not events or breaking news. That requires you delve into topics rather than cover the latest club meeting. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We can identify issues at a meeting -- it can be a great starting point for covering an issue or a beat. But it’s not the endpoint. </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. Beat note notes <ul><li>Write for front page, not feature page </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If it’s not newsy enough to land on the front page, it’s not newsy enough for this class. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If you aren’t already, you should be reading newspaper front pages from across the country. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Spokesman-Review </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Seattle Times </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>New York Times </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Washington Post </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Wall Street Journal </li></ul></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Beat note notes <ul><li>Write to publish </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Think about your audience and media outlets for your work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No opinion, columns/commentary or reviews. That should be clear by now. </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Beat note notes <ul><li>Yes, we want people in our stories. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>But we want people who tell broader stories or illustrate trends in society. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In this class, we’re interested in issues, not events. Writing about club’s meeting is not enterprising work. Writing about the issues might be. </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Traditional Structure <ul><li>Who, What, When, Where and Why </li></ul><ul><li>The most important and immediate information leads </li></ul><ul><li>What kind of stories does this work for? </li></ul>
    7. 7. December 28, 2007 Bhutto Assassination <ul><li>RAWALPINDI, Pakistan - Benazir Bhutto, the Pakistani opposition leader and twice-serving prime minister, was assassinated Thursday evening as she left a political rally here, a scene of fiery carnage that plunged Pakistan deeper into political turmoil and ignited widespread violence by her enraged supporters. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>SALMAN MASOOD and CARLOTTA GALL, New York Times </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. When doesn’t it work? <ul><ul><li>“ It doesn’t have to have happened today to be news.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Barney Kilgore, Wall Street Journal </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sometimes it’s not the singular event that makes news, it’s the context of that event: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Complex stories or issues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Trends </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In-depth analysis </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. A1 example <ul><li>SAN FRANCISCO — Kara Lynn has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or A.L.S., which has attacked the muscles around her mouth and throat, removing her ability to speak. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Any breaking news here? </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. A1 example <ul><li>A couple of years ago, she spent more than $8,000 to buy a computer, approved by Medicare, that turns typed words into speech that her family, friends and doctors can hear. </li></ul><ul><li>Dismayed by the PC’s limitations and clunky design, Ms. Lynn turned to a $300 iPhone 3G from Apple running $150 text-to-speech software. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Any news yet? </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. A1 example <ul><li>Medicare and private health insurers decline to cover cheap devices like iPhones and netbook PCs that can help the speech-impaired, despite their usefulness and lower cost. </li></ul><ul><li>Instead, public and private insurers insist that, if Ms. Lynn and others like her want insurance to pay, they must spend 10 to 20 times as much for dedicated, proprietary devices that can do far less. </li></ul><ul><li>The logic: Insurance is supposed to cover medical devices, and smartphones or PCs can be used for nonmedical purposes, like playing video games or Web browsing. </li></ul>
    12. 12. Nut Graf <ul><li>One or more paragraphs that explain the news value of the story, particularly in news features. </li></ul><ul><li>* It justifies the story by telling readers why they should care. </li></ul><ul><li>* It provides a transition from the lead and explains the lead and its connection to the rest of the story. </li></ul><ul><li>* It often tells readers why the story is timely. </li></ul><ul><li>* It often includes supporting material that helps readers see why the story is important. </li></ul>
    13. 13. Example 2 <ul><li>Blacksburg, Va. -- High on a mountain overlook, construction crews blast through solid rock on a 20-hours-a-day rush schedule to build the first two miles of an expressway that, for the next few years, will lead only to a turn-around. </li></ul>
    14. 14. Example 2 <ul><li>But for promoters in this Appalachian university town, that's of little concern. Dubbed the &quot;Smart Road&quot; and designed to double as a high-technology research site, this federal-state project shows how a little &quot;pork&quot; tucked into a federal transportation bill can buy a whole hog for a community. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The primary focus isn’t the building of the road. It’s how the building of that road illustrates the broader problem of “pork” or unnecessary spending in federal budgets. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why? Most readers don’t care that Blacksburg is building a road. They do care that it’s part of a federal “pork” project that could cost taxpayers $. </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. What should a nut graf do? <ul><li>Emphasize explanation over information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What does that mean? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Understanding over knowledge </li></ul><ul><ul><li>And this? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Anticipates readers questions </li></ul>
    16. 16. Diana K. Sugg, Baltimore Sun <ul><li>February 24, 2002 </li></ul><ul><li>Early that morning in the emergency room, with a soft &quot;oh&quot; and a drop of his head, 11-year-old Ryan King stopped breathing. Within moments, a young doctor straddled the boy, pumping his chest. Nurses quickly wheeled the gurney from the exam room to the trauma room. Ryan's mother grabbed her son's panda and stray sneaker and ran after them. </li></ul><ul><li>(What is this story about?) </li></ul>
    17. 17. Sugg’s Nut Graf <ul><li>For a few minutes, Donna King was left alone in the hallway, outside closed doors. </li></ul><ul><li>But, like an increasing number of physicians around the country, doctors at the Johns Hopkins pediatric emergency department did what was once unthinkable: They let Donna King be with her son. As doctors struggled to get intravenous lines into his collapsing veins, injected him with drugs and took turns doing manual compressions on his chest, his mother climbed under staffers' arms and between IV poles. She cradled Ryan's head and put her cheek against his. </li></ul>
    18. 18. Nut Graf expanded <ul><li>For years, at the most critical moment in emergency medicine - when someone's heart stops - the drill has been the same. Nurses rush relatives out, chaplains distract them and, later, physicians deliver the bad news. But in the past few years, many in the health care field have arrived at a surprising conclusion: It can be good to bring families in the room during resuscitation efforts. </li></ul>
    19. 19. <ul><li>Lede: The death of a child </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A tragic and compelling but unremarkable event </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Nut graf: Medical professionals allow family to be with a dying relative </li></ul>
    20. 20. Barry Bearak, May 12, 2001 The New York Times <ul><li>PAKISTAN _ Blasphemy is a capital crime in this volatile Islamic nation, so Dr. Younus Shaikh, while teaching at a medical college, might have wisely avoided any discussion of the personal hygiene of the holy Prophet Muhammad. </li></ul><ul><li>But the topic came up during a morning physiology class. And the doctor talked briefly about seventh-century Arabia and its practices regarding circumcision and the removal of underarm hair. Some students found his remarks deeply offensive. </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Only out of respect, because he was our teacher, did we not beat him to death on the spot,&quot; said Syed Bilal, 17. </li></ul>
    21. 21. What is this story about? <ul><li>Pakistan, a nearly bankrupt nation with 150 million people, a military government and an expanding nuclear arsenal, is drifting toward religious extremism. Blasphemy cases are its version of the Salem witch trials, with clerics sniffing out infidels, and enemies using the law to settle personal scores. </li></ul><ul><li>Accurate crime statistics are a low priority here, but the number of those imprisoned on blasphemy charges is estimated in the hundreds. </li></ul>
    22. 22. Caged in China <ul><li>By NICHOLAS ZAMISKA, Wall Street Journal, January 16, 2008; Page A1 </li></ul><ul><li>JIAOXI, China -- For more than three years, Wang Guocheng lived in a small cage in his parents' house. </li></ul><ul><li>In 2003, Mr. Wang, who grew up in this rural town in eastern China, stabbed a neighbor to death. He was arrested, then released when the police realized he was mentally ill. Mr. Wang's family couldn't afford to hospitalize him, and villagers were afraid he might strike again. </li></ul><ul><li>So Mr. Wang, now in his late thirties, was kept in a cage at home. His father, Wang Yanxu, who grows apple trees, says during that time he never let his son out of the cage, which was about six feet high, seven feet long and three feet wide. </li></ul><ul><li>WHAT QUESTIONS DOES THIS LEDE RAISE? WHAT CAN WE EXPECT THE REPORTER TO ANSWER IN THE STORY? </li></ul>
    23. 23. What else do we want to know? <ul><li>Is this unusual in China? </li></ul><ul><li>How did China’s society arrive at this point? History of health care. </li></ul><ul><li>How does this affect the lives of China’s citizens? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you build a 6’x7’x3’ cage? </li></ul><ul><li>The personal history of Wang Guocheng </li></ul><ul><li>What’s it like to live in a cage? </li></ul>
    24. 24. Does the writer deliver? <ul><li>Mr. Wang's confinement by his family isn't unique. The caging of patients in China is rooted in the convulsions that the nation's health-care system has gone through in the past few decades. </li></ul><ul><li>Under Mao Zedong, the quality of health care -- psychiatric and otherwise -- was minimal at best, and the government sometimes persecuted political dissidents under the guise of psychiatric treatment. But the socialist state did manage to provide basic medical care to those who needed it in most cases, including rudimentary treatment for mental illness. </li></ul>
    25. 25. What’s it like to live in a cage? For the next three years, Guocheng lived in the cage. He scratched elaborate designs on the room's limestone wall with his fingers.
    26. 26. Ending <ul><li>One day last March, Yanxu was working in the fields and heard there was trouble back home. When he arrived, police had blocked the door. </li></ul><ul><li>Guocheng had somehow broken one of the bars loose from the top of his cage, crawled through the hole, and killed his mother, Leng Jizhen. He beat her to death with the bar, according to Yanxu … Five days later, Guocheng was admitted to the Jiaozhou Mental Disease Recovery Hospital, according to Ma Changzheng, a doctor there. </li></ul><ul><li>In Jiaozhou, the local civil-affairs bureau agreed to pay for Guocheng's hospitalization, signing a long-term contract of $1,600 a year. </li></ul><ul><li>THE WRITER HAS TURNED OUR EXPECTATIONS UPSIDE DOWN. SHOULD HE END WITH THE KILLING OF THE MAN’S MOTHER? </li></ul>
    27. 27. Miami Herald <ul><li>For months now, the widow has clung to her tiny shack in this picturesque village above the Changuinola River - even when local officials and hydroelectric workers said she must leave, even when a bulldozer roared into her yard in the summer. </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;I will not go,&quot; insists Isabel Becker, 59, a diminutive Ngobe Indian who lives in a dirt-floored home. &quot;If the company wants to send police to kill me, go ahead.&quot; </li></ul>
    28. 28. Herald nut graf <ul><li>In the northern mountains of Panama, two worlds are colliding as the region's fastest growing economy pushes to develop hydroelectric projects in rural river valleys where poor, indigenous farmers have lived for generations. </li></ul><ul><li>Nearly 90 hydroelectric projects are proposed in this country, part of a massive effort to wean the booming economy from its dependence on foreign energy - which accounts for more than two-thirds of the country's use. </li></ul>
    29. 29. MSNBC lede <ul><li>In 1969, an aeronautical engineer at North American Rockwell discovered a discrepancy in his paycheck: Every hour, he was being overpaid by roughly 2 cents, or one-third of 1 percent of his pay. </li></ul><ul><li>Spurred by an incentive program that rewarded employees for finding wasteful spending, Walter T. Davey submitted the discovery to his superiors and suggested a simple fix. </li></ul><ul><li>“ It was so simple to correct,” said Davey, a 79-year-old retired Air Force colonel now living in Newport Coast, Calif., “just change a few digits in the coding software.” </li></ul>
    30. 30. MSNBC nut graf <ul><li>A surreal experience followed: For decades, Davey has attempted to correct a calculation that cost taxpayers a n estimated $10 billion dollars in the past 40 years. He has alerted contractors, legislators, and federal auditors -- all to no avail, even though a 1981 federal report seemed to confirm his calculations. Through it all, he said, no one has challenged the numbers. </li></ul><ul><li>As President Barack Obama seeks to crack down on costs overruns in the defense industry, Davey’s experience provides a telling illustration of the challenges facing reformers. </li></ul>
    31. 31. AWOL Animals <ul><li>What’s the nut graph? </li></ul><ul><li>Identify the questions raised and answered by each section </li></ul><ul><li>Post to blog </li></ul>