How to write an enterprise story


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How to write an enterprise story in journalism.

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How to write an enterprise story

  1. 1. Prepared by:Prof. Grabowski
  2. 2. What is an enterprise story  Enterprise reporting involves stories not based on press releases, daily events or news conferences. Instead, enterprise reporting is all about the stories a reporter digs up on his or her own, what many people call “scoops.”
  3. 3. What is an enterprise story  Enterprise reporting goes beyond merely covering events. It explores the forces shaping those events. It provides in- depth examinations of people and issues. It anticipates future developments, provides insights into complicated situations and sometimes even entertains, among other things.
  4. 4. What is an enterprise story  Unlike most breaking news stories, which just focus on the who, what, when and where, enterprise stories delve deep into the why and how. For instance, coverage of a murder is not enterprise reporting; a story that addresses why the murder rate is higher in one particular area over others is.
  5. 5. Cite credible sources A source provides reliable, truthful information on a topic. A source can be a spoken source/person (such as a witness, an expert in the field, a school or government official, an organization leader or spokesperson, etc.) or a written source/document (such as a study, a survey, a government report, a court decision, etc.)
  6. 6. Cite credible sources Your enterprise story should contain a mix of several sources (not just one or two), including at least one written source/document. Sources are an essential part of enterprise stories because they support whatever claim your story is making by providing evidence and testimonials.
  7. 7. Types of sources A primary source offers the best and most reliable information on a topic – information that’s essential to your story. Often a primary source is an expert, someone recognized as a leading authority on a topic. Or a primary source may be a person with firsthand information on a topic. A primary source may also be an original document or an official report. Always find at least one primary source for each story you write. But don’t just stop at one. Use as many as you need to tell the story.
  8. 8. Types of sources A secondary source offers reliable second-hand information on a topic. Reference books, newspaper articles and other media are common secondary sources. People with informed opinions on a topic can also serve as secondary sources. For example, you may quote a student’s opinion on a guest speaker. Use secondary sources to expand your information.
  9. 9. No anonymous sources Note: always avoid using anonymous sources. This means you need full names. Not partial names, made-up names or vague references (such as “a source said” or “a student said” or “a professor said”). If people are unwilling to talk to you on the record, don’t interview them.
  10. 10. Talk to all sides The things you write about will likely involve controversial issues in which people disagree. It is therefore important that you talk to sources on all major sides involved in the issue. If you’re writing about the food at the cafeteria, you need to seek out dissatisfied students as well as satisfied students. You also must talk to university officials and food service officials and give them a chance to respond to any criticisms or complaints.
  11. 11. Talk to experts Don’t just get opinions from regular people about issues. Talk to people with firsthand knowledge. And talk to experts with specialized knowledge. For example, if you’re doing a story on divorce, you could talk to people who have divorced and to children of divorced parents. But you also want to make sure you talk to counselors who deal with divorce and psychology professors who have done research on the issue.
  12. 12. Talk to experts A story on online classes should include opinions from students who have taken online courses. But also include info from professors who teach them and university administrators like the provost or dean who oversees them. At some schools, there’s a separate dean or VP who just handles distance learning.
  13. 13. Finding experts Look locally: Many professors on campus are experts on various topics. For example, Peggy Cassidy in the Comm. Dept. is an expert on cyberbullying. Look online: or are free websites that help reporters to locate sources for their stories. (Note: If you want to use these websites, be sure to talk to me first and I’ll assist you.) Do research: look up old stories on your topic, see whom they cite and try to contact them yourself. (But don’t plagiarize or lift quotes from other reporters’ stories!)
  14. 14. Talk to sources directly Do your own work. Don’t lift quotes from other articles. Contact all sources you use and get your own quotes from them yourself. Using quotes from other newspapers is plagiarism – and lazy. Provide me with contact info for all your sources.
  15. 15. Not a profile story You may use a particular person as an anecdote for a larger issue but your story should not just be about one person. (For an example, see the enterprise story I posted on tattoos at This assignment should focus on an issue or trend, not a person. This article should be different than your profile story.
  16. 16. Still a news story That means the typical rules of journalism apply: you need sources and quotes, a strong lead, tight writing, good organization, AP Style, etc. Also: write your story in the third person. Third person is any person, place, or thing other than the speaker (I, we) and the addressed (you). This means using he, she, it, him, her, they, them, etc. Eliminate the words I, me, my, mine, we, us, our, you and your from your story unless you indicate that a source said them. And dont inject your opinion into the story, even if its in the third person
  17. 17. Requires more work Your enterprise story will be about twice as long and require twice as much time as your profile story. Because this is a more in-depth story, this story should be longer and include more sources than your profile story. That means it will also take more time to do than your profile story.
  18. 18. Suggested process 1) Choose topic. For example, you might want to focus on online classes. The university’s administration recently said they want to offer more online courses and even online degrees.
  19. 19. Process cont’d 2) Develop story idea. Online classes are increasingly popular at universities -- and the university wants to get into the business. But they’re also controversial. Proponents say they offer students flexibility and convenience. Online classes save students time because they dont require commuting to campus and they tend to be much cheaper. Additionally, they are a big money maker for schools, who don’t have to spend money providing classroom space or electricity as they do with traditional brick-and-mortar classes. On the other hand, critics contend they don’t provide the same educational experience as a traditional classroom setting. Some students struggle to adjust to the different learning style. What is the future of online classes?
  20. 20. Process cont’d 3) Identify sources and gather info: Talk to people who support online classes: administrators at universities that offer them, professors who teach online classes, students who take online classes and liked them. Also talk to opponents of online classes: educators opposed to them and students who took them and didn’t like the experience as much as a traditional classroom setting. Gather info: how many schools offer online classes? How large is the industry (i.e. how much money per year do online classes generate?)? Have any studies been done comparing online classes to traditional classes?
  21. 21. Process cont’d 4) Conduct interviews and outline story. What will the main points be? 5) Write story 6) Revise: gather missing info and edit. 7) Proofread: consider going to Writing Center for assistance or having a good writer review your story. 8) Submit story by deadline.
  22. 22. For more info… Read the directions at se_story and talk to me:Prof. Grabowskic: 202-360-8900e: mgrabowski [at]
  23. 23. Don’t forget!Imust approve your enterprise story topic. If you decide to change it, you must check with me first.