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Stalking the wily news feature
 

Stalking the wily news feature

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A brief guide to conceiving, reporting, organizing and writing a work of enterprise journalism.

A brief guide to conceiving, reporting, organizing and writing a work of enterprise journalism.

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    Stalking the wily news feature Stalking the wily news feature Presentation Transcript

    • Stalking the wily news feature A brief guide to conceiving, reporting, organizing and writing a work of enterprise journalism
    • What is a news feature? • Not breaking news
    • What is a news feature? • Not breaking news • Not merely a human-interest story
    • What is a news feature? • Not breaking news • Not merely a human-interest story • Generated by reporter and editor
    • What is a news feature? • • • • Not breaking news Not merely a human-interest story Generated by reporter and editor Freedom to define what the story is
    • Is it a newspaper or magazine story? • Lines have blurred — “magazine” story can appear in a newspaper
    • Is it a newspaper or magazine story? • Lines have blurred — “magazine” story can appear in a newspaper • Medium-length feature — 1,500 to 2,500 words
    • Is it a newspaper or magazine story? • Lines have blurred — “magazine” story can appear in a newspaper • Medium-length feature — 1,500 to 2,500 words • News story — 700 to 1,200 words
    • Is it a newspaper or magazine story? • Lines have blurred — “magazine” story can appear in a newspaper • Medium-length feature — 1,500 to 2,500 words • News story — 700 to 1,200 words • Longer magazine story — 3,000 to 10,000 words
    • Getting ideas • Reading — newspapers, magazines, books, Internet
    • Getting ideas • Reading — newspapers, magazines, books, Internet • Talking — friends, family, colleagues, sources
    • Getting ideas • Reading — newspapers, magazines, books, Internet • Talking — friends, family, colleagues, sources • Paying attention — carry a notebook!
    • Is there a story? • Pre-reporting
    • Is there a story? • Pre-reporting • Google, LexisNexis, etc. – What can you learn? – Who else has written about this?
    • Is there a story? • Pre-reporting • Google, LexisNexis, etc. – What can you learn? – Who else has written about this? • Short interviews to refine story and see if sources will be available
    • Theme sentence • A sentence (or two) explaining precisely what your story is
    • Theme sentence • A sentence (or two) explaining precisely what your story is • A guide to your reporting — cut it out, paste it on the wall in front of you
    • Theme sentence • A sentence (or two) explaining precisely what your story is • A guide to your reporting — cut it out, paste it on the wall in front of you • Could form basis of your lede or nut
    • Theme sentence • A sentence (or two) explaining precisely what your story is • A guide to your reporting — cut it out, paste it on the wall in front of you • Could form basis of your lede or nut • Could serve as your pitch
    • Theme sentence • A sentence (or two) explaining precisely what your story is • A guide to your reporting — cut it out, paste it on the wall in front of you • Could form basis of your lede or nut • Could serve as your pitch • You might have to change it
    • The nut graf • Usually the third or fourth paragraph
    • The nut graf • Usually the third or fourth paragraph • It places the anecdotal lede in context by answering three questions
    • The nut graf • Usually the third or fourth paragraph • It places the anecdotal lede in context by answering three questions • What is the story about?
    • The nut graf • Usually the third or fourth paragraph • It places the anecdotal lede in context by answering three questions • What is the story about? • Where is the story going?
    • The nut graf • Usually the third or fourth paragraph • It places the anecdotal lede in context by answering three questions • What is the story about? • Where is the story going? • Why should the reader keep reading?
    • Whom should you interview? • Horizontal diversity – Variety of viewpoints — fair and neutral
    • Whom should you interview? • Horizontal diversity – Variety of viewpoints — fair and neutral • Vertical diversity – Variety of sources — key players, expert observers and ordinary people
    • Blundell’s six key concepts • History
    • Blundell’s six key concepts • History • Scope
    • Blundell’s six key concepts • History • Scope • Reasons
    • Blundell’s six key concepts • • • • History Scope Reasons Impacts
    • Blundell’s six key concepts • • • • • History Scope Reasons Impacts Countermoves
    • Blundell’s six key concepts • • • • • • History Scope Reasons Impacts Countermoves Futures
    • Organizing and writing • Step one — read through your material quickly
    • Organizing and writing • Step one — read through your material quickly • Step two — re-read slowly, organizing it as you prepare to write
    • Organizing and writing • Step one — read through your material quickly • Step two — re-read slowly, organizing it as you prepare to write • Keep related material together
    • Organizing and writing • Step one — read through your material quickly • Step two — re-read slowly, organizing it as you prepare to write • Keep related material together • Try not to bring sources back for an encore
    • Organizing and writing • Step one — read through your material quickly • Step two — re-read slowly, organizing it as you prepare to write • Keep related material together • Try not to bring sources back for an encore • Aim for a memorable ending
    • A generic news-feature outline • Part one – Lede
    • A generic news-feature outline • Part one – Lede – Nut graf
    • A generic news-feature outline • Part one – Lede – Nut graf – Support for nut graf
    • A generic news-feature outline • Part one – – – – Lede Nut graf Support for nut graf Quote and/or setup for next part
    • A generic news-feature outline • Part two – Secondary lede
    • A generic news-feature outline • Part two – Secondary lede – Explication and narrative
    • A generic news-feature outline • Part two – Secondary lede – Explication and narrative – Flesh out all or some of the six key concepts • History, scope, reasons, impacts, countermoves, futures
    • A generic news-feature outline • Part three – Can be short
    • A generic news-feature outline • Part three – Can be short – “Circling back”
    • A generic news-feature outline • Part three – Can be short – “Circling back” • Quote from person you opened with
    • A generic news-feature outline • Part three – Can be short – “Circling back” • Quote from person you opened with • Quote from another, similar person
    • A generic news-feature outline • Part three – Can be short – “Circling back” • Quote from person you opened with • Quote from another, similar person • Your own attempt to sum up
    • Too formulaic? • Not as much as it seems, especially after you’ve done it a few times
    • Too formulaic? • Not as much as it seems, especially after you’ve done it a few times • Not the only way to write a news feature, but simple and effective
    • Too formulaic? • Not as much as it seems, especially after you’ve done it a few times • Not the only way to write a news feature, but simple and effective • Sometimes editors want something different
    • Reading for journalists • William E. Blundell, “The Art and Craft of Feature Writing” (much of this slideshow is based on his ideas)
    • Reading for journalists • William E. Blundell, “The Art and Craft of Feature Writing” • William K. Zinsser, “On Writing Well”
    • Reading for journalists • William E. Blundell, “The Art and Craft of Feature Writing” • William K. Zinsser, “On Writing Well” • Strunk and White, “The Elements of Style”
    • Reading for journalists • William E. Blundell, “The Art and Craft of Feature Writing” • William K. Zinsser, “On Writing Well” • Strunk and White, “The Elements of Style” • Anywhere good news features are published