Writing For Online Newspapers1


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Writing For Online Newspapers1

  1. 1. Dianne Smith, MJE Travis High School Fort Bend ISD
  2. 2. Writing for the web <ul><li>Shares other news writing characteristics: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Brevity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Clarity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accuracy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Often breaks long stories into “bite-sized” chunks for busy readers </li></ul><ul><li>Makes use of interactive features, such as polls, to involve the reader in ways other media cannot. </li></ul>
  3. 3. The web offers <ul><li>A bigger canvas for storytelling than newspapers, radio or television can be by themselves because elements of each, plus other features can be incorporated. </li></ul>
  4. 4. On the web, journalists can <ul><li>Publish information as news breaks. Updates are easy. Scheduled press runs and air times don’t apply. </li></ul><ul><li>Be as “in depth” as the situation calls for. There are no limits on space or time. </li></ul><ul><li>Link to previously published information or related content to make the story more relevant. </li></ul><ul><li>Make use of interactive or multimedia content </li></ul><ul><li>Get reader feedback almost immediately </li></ul>
  5. 5. The web is 24/7 <ul><li>Writers for the web emphasize the “up to the minute” aspect of the content. Present tense writing plays up the “happening RIGHT NOW” idea. </li></ul><ul><li>Because the story may be online for several days, the time element must be made very clear, so updating involves rewriting content to reflect that. </li></ul>
  6. 6. “ Teasing” is important <ul><li>Just like traditional newspapers and traditional broadcasts, news web sites need to invite readers to look at “what’s inside” or what’s coming. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>News summaries placed on the front page </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sidebars down one side of the web page </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Teaser videos </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Writing in layers <ul><li>Headlines and summaries on the web should also be navigation tools, leading readers to inside content. </li></ul>Headlines, photos, and summaries on this news web site from the British Broadcasting Co. lead to content on “inside” pages. Clicking on the photo brings up a larger version. Clicking on headlines and summaries takes the reader to the full story.
  8. 8. Use standard writing rules <ul><li>Readers are in a hurry. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use inverted pyramid for news stories </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use active voice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use strong verbs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use summary leads </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Write “tight” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use a punchy attention-grabbing headline </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Readers want facts and objectivity , not puffery. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Make use of microcontent <ul><li>Small easily digested chunks of information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>headlines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>blurbs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Summaries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>captions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>lift-out quotes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>subheadings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>bullet lists </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Photos, multimedia, hypertext <ul><li>It’s all about hypertext linkage. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Earlier stories </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Documents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discussions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Images </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Data bases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multimedia presentations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>These are all tools in helping to tell the story to aid in the reader’s understanding. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Photos, multimedia, hypertext <ul><li>The web editor may also want to include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Text menus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lists </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Summaries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Word balloons </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Photo captions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Narrations </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Flash presentations <ul><li>Aid in story telling by combining all elements into a type of “movie” </li></ul><ul><li>Most news sites incorporate some sort of flash multimedia. </li></ul>
  13. 13. “ Writing to the visuals” <ul><li>The simplest multimedia presentations are slide shows with captions, transitional texts and scripted narration. </li></ul><ul><li>This writing may be the job of the reporter or it could fall to the photographer. Convergence is the name of the game. </li></ul>