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Writing for Media - News Stories
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Writing for Media - News Stories

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  • 1. Writing for the Mass Media UCSD Extension Mike Lawson 760/845-8146 [email_address]
  • 2. Charactistics of News Stories
    • All good pieces of writing have one thing in common: a unifying theme.
    • A central idea will usually be expressed in the first paragraph of the story - called the lead .
    • A strong lead will unify the writing for the reader.
  • 3. Transitions
    • Tying info together
    • Tips the reader as to what comes next
  • 4. Types of Transitions
    • Connectors - conjuctions (and, but, etc.)
    • Hooks - repeated words to unify story
    • Pronouns - use to avoid repeating things
    • Associations - using different words for the same idea (ex. p115)
    • Chronology - word or phrase refers to time
    • Enumeration - numbering items sequentially
  • 5. Attribution
    • Tells the reader where the information in the story came from.
    • Establishes news report’s credibility
      • Verbs of attribution : (p.117)
        • Said • Declare
        • Explain • Add
        • Relate • Reveal
        • Point out • Exclaim
        • State • Assert
  • 6. Short Sentences, Short Paragraphs
    • Get information to the reader as quickly as possible
    • Long paragraphs are difficult and daunting to read
  • 7. Third Person
    • News stories are usually written in the third person
      • Unless writer is a participant in an event
    • News stories rarely address the reader by using second person - you
    • Editorializing - writer speaks in first person
  • 8. Accuracy
    • Accuracy is the core of the writing process.
      • Enhances credibility
      • Enhances reliability
      • Enhances trust
      • What good is a news story if it’s false?
  • 9. Inverted Pyramid
    • Most common form of writing news stories (example: p.119)
      • Most important items at top of story
        • Lead (focal point of story)
        • Second paragraph expands/supports on lead
        • Body adds details to information
        • Cut story from bottom if necessary to fit layout
  • 10. The Lead
    • Lead types:
      • Straight news lead (just the facts!)
      • Summary lead (more than one major fact)
      • Blind lead (people in story not named)
      • Direct address lead (writer speaks directly to reader)
      • Question lead (writer ask question)
      • Direct quote lead (uses direct quote)
  • 11. Using Quotes
    • Let’s the subject tell the story
      • Direct quotes
      • Indirect quotes/paraphrasing
    • Use speaker’s exact words
    • Use direct quotes sparingly
    • Use direct quotes to supplement and clarify info presented in indirect quotes
    • Quote sequence
      • Direct quote - speaker - verb
  • 12. Other Story Structures
    • Narrative
      • chronological approach
    • Bullet
      • several things happen at an event (bullet items)
    • Eyewitness Accounts
      • reporter at an event
      • reporter collaborates with eyewitness at event
    • Micro-Macro
      • issue to larger problem (person to big issue)
  • 13. News Story Types
    • Meetings
    • Speeches
    • Obituary
    • Weather
    • Crime and courts
    • Periodicals and anniversaries
  • 14. Editing and Rewriting
    • All writers need an editor
      • First drafts are rarely satisfactory
    • Two types of editing
      • Copy-editing
      • Rewriting
  • 15. Spelling, Grammar, Style
    • Nothing more embarrassing to a writer than spelling and grammar mistakes
    • Watch out for style mistakes, too, for particular mediums
  • 16. Verbs
    • Quickest way to improve writing skills
    • Use active and descriptive verbs
    • Calls for a more powerful and interesting sentence
  • 17. Writing Feature Stories
    • Anecdotal
      • uses facts to support the point of the story
    • Suspended interest
      • produces some special effect
    • Profiles
      • centers around a particular person
    • Question and answer
      • Q&A
  • 18. Parts of a Feature Story
    • 4 parts
      • Lead: builds interest
      • Engine paragraph: sets stage for story
      • Body: expands on details
      • Ending: tie it up in a bow (but have a point)
  • 19. Finally…
    • Questions?