3 crime stories


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  • Welcome to lecture 3, writing crime stories.
  • Today we’re going to learn how to write a crime story, which you will do for your first writing assignment starting today. I’m going to provide you with the details for your assignment.You will note that I have assigned you peer editing partners. I will explain your duties as a peer editor at the end of this lecture. Remember, your participation as a peer editing partner has a large impact on your participation grade, which accounts for 20 percent of your overall grade in this class.
  • Before we continue on, please open and have handy the extra credit prompt I provided you. We’re going to go over some examples from the prompt, so please be sure you have read through it and attempted to write the story before continuing on.
  • Remember the most important things you learned about writing a hard news lede. You want to make sure it is one sentence, and it is less than 30-35 words. Let’s take a look at this example… Notice I have used the “who” to lede off the sentence. You are free to approach it any way you like, with the exception of starting with the when and where at the start of the sentence. You’ll note that I used delayed attribution, saying “a Delmar man,” and “a local bar.” Also, I only focused on what happened; you do not want to put the charges in the lede. You’ll also note that I did not say “a Delmar, Md. man.” That is because you do not need to include the state name when you are writing about the state you are reporting in.You’ll also note that I included the most interesting part of the story in the lede: the sledgehammer. It is the sledgehammer that makes the story different and interesting, because how often do you hear about someone using a sledgehammer to break into a place? Also, there is no need to attribute in the lede, as there really is not any subjective information. You’ll want to attribute later.
  • A couple of notes about referencing law enforcement officials in news stories…
  • After the lede, you’ll want to list the charges. Take a look at this example, and try to mimic it as closely as possible. You will see almost every crime story with charges structured this way. Make sure you carefully check the name, as misspelling it would be a fact error. Also, note where the commas are in this story. Ages written the way this one is count as non-essential clauses, so they would need commas on both sides. Also, there is no comma after the and in the series of charges: burglary of a business…
  • Next, I listed the chain of events as they occurred…You typically only want to attribute once per paragraph, as over-attribution will make the paragraphs too long. You also do not need to include all of the times that appear in the police report in the story. It is not important what time the police were called, what time they arrived, etc. You can use a more generalized time in the middle, like 3 a.m.Make a note of the correct AP style for the address. The direction, street number and abbreviated roadway are all written in correct AP style. You will also see that at no point in here have I said Burgess committed the crime. By using attribution and careful wording, you need to be sure you don’t convict the person – you are simply relaying the information from the report to readers, who can make their own decisions. Notice too how this paragraph is only 2 sentences. Remember, I will deduct points if you write grafs that are more than 1-2 sentences. One last note, you will always use last names only after first references. You see here how I only said Wiggins after introducing him in the previous graf.
  • Here is more of the chronologically ordered story…A few tips:
  • Let’s talk about a few more law enforcement terms before we finish up the story. You should know that the words burglary, larceny, robbery, and theft are not interchangeable words…
  • Finally, you can end the story simply with the information that the reader would likely care least about…Notice the ending is broken up into two simple sentences instead of using a comma to connect them. Also, it is important to continue to use past tense: Wiggins WAS transported, and bond WAS set at $12,000. Remember, I have posted my example in its entirety in today’s section of our MyClasses website. Be sure to look it over and use it to help you write your homework assignment.
  • Go ahead now and open the homework prompt that I posted on the website. You will need to email your homework assignment to your peer editing partner by 11:59 p.m. tonight. You will note from the prompt that this is a different type of cops reporting story. There is no crime involved, but the structure of the story should remain largely the same. Use delayed identification in the lede, inverted pyramid style, incorporating the W’s up high, and short, simple sentences. In the second graf, instead of listing the alleged criminal’s name, you will put the names and identifying information, such as ages and home towns, of those involved in the crash. A few more important notes: be sure to use complete sentences. Keep your lede to one sentence, and all other paragraphs between one and two sentences long. Please take a look at the checklist now that I posted in today’s MyClasses section. This checklist will give you a step-by-step guide to what it is I’m looking for. Make sure you print off the checklist and use it while you are writing to ensure you have followed the directions carefully.
  • I have assigned you peer editing partners on the website for this week. You will need to exchange your news stories BEFORE you turn them in to me on Friday. You can exchange them via email, Google docs, or any other method you want. You can also give each other feedback any way you want. You can exchange numbers, email comments, or do comments right on the document. When you are looking at your partner’s work, be sure to use the checklist, and send them a copy of it after you have gone through it. Here are some things to look for: …You need to submit your story to your peer editing partner by 11:59 p.m. tonight. Then, you will need to review your partner’s work and return it to him or her Thursday by 11:59 p.m. The final copy will need to be uploaded to MyClasses Friday by 11:59 p.m.Also on Friday, you will turn in a peer review sheet assessing your partner’s helpfulness and responsiveness, which I will use in part to determine your participation grade for the week. Please make sure you work diligently together, and if there are any issues, be sure to contact me immediately.
  • Foryour homework, …
  • 3 crime stories

    1. 1. Writing Crime Stories Jennifer Cox http://cmat240summer.wordpress.com
    2. 2. objectives • Learn the structure of crime writing • Go over assignment • Learn to work together to improve your writing
    3. 3. Crime story prompt • Open practice prompt from the website • Read through it carefully • Keep it handy as we discuss
    4. 4. Most important/interesting info first • 24 words • Delayed identification • No conviction • No state name needed • Eye-catching info • Attribution A Delmar man was arrested early Thursday morning after deputies said he was trying to break in to a local bar using a sledgehammer.
    5. 5. Law enforcement • Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office – deputies • Salisbury Police Department – police • Maryland Highway Patrol – troopers • All - officers
    6. 6. Details next • List of charges • Carefully check the name • Commas – non-essential clause & commas in a series • One-sentence graf Tyler Ramone Wiggins, 20, was charged with burglary of a business, possession of burglary tools and criminal mischief.
    7. 7. Chronological order • Attribution (once per graf) • Omission of unnecessary items (times) • Distribution of details • AP style for address • Still no conviction • Last name only on subsequent references Deputies responding to a call of loud noises after a man reported spotting Wiggins attempting to break into Grouper’s Bar shortly after 3 a.m., according to a Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office report. He was seen using a sledgehammer to pound on plywood siding near the door of the business, located at 5820 NW 34th St.
    8. 8. Chronological order • Don’t begin sentence with attribution if you can help it • “A” report; then “the” report • Concise, chronological • Unimportant details omitted Deputies said Wiggins admitted to attempting to get into the business to steal money, according to the report. Wiggins had been inside the bar at about midnight and saw business was good. After talking with a former employee who told him money was kept inside the club overnight, Wiggins felt it would be a good time to break in, according to the report.
    9. 9. Law enforcement terms Burglary, larceny, robbery, theft • Burglary – entering a building (not necessarily breaking in) and remaining unlawfully with the intention of committing a crime • Larceny – the legal term for the wrongful taking of property • non-legal = stealing or theft • Robbery – involves the use of violence or threat in committing larceny • Theft – larceny that did not involve a threat, violence or plundering • Use the terms listed in the charges
    10. 10. Least important/last info at the bottom • Two simple sentences • Past tense Wiggins was transported to Wicomico County Jail. His bond was set at $12,000.
    11. 11. homework • Write in inverted pyramid • Omit unnecessary information • AP style, grammar, spelling errors = -2 • Fact errors = -10 (check your proper nouns)
    12. 12. Peer editing • Grammar errors • Commas, punctuation, capitalization • AP style errors • Addresses, ages, city without state • Summary lede • Inverted pyramid • Delayed identification • Last name only on second reference
    13. 13. Announcements • Remember, crime story due to partner by 11:59 p.m. tonight • For tomorrow, read Chapter 18 (Speeches, News Conferences & Meetings) • Readings quiz tomorrow covering: • Chapter 1 (Changing Concepts) • Chapter 9 (Story Forms) • Chapter 20 (Crime & Punishment) • Chapter 18 (Speeches, etc.) • Full day tomorrow: • Lecture on covering meetings • Writing assignment • Quiz • Peer editing due