Newspaper WritingNewspaper Writing
A quick exercise to teachA quick exercise to teach
newswriting basicsnewswriting basics
Skim the storySkim the story
Count: How many sentences inCount: How many sentences in
each paragraph?each paragraph?
• Five-sentence grafs?Five-sentence grafs?
• Four-sentence grafs?Four-sentence grafs?
Conclusion No. 1Conclusion No. 1
Newspaper paragraphs are SHORT –Newspaper paragraphs are SHORT –
often one or two sentences, sometimesoften one or two sentences, sometimes
three … rarely more.three … rarely more.
Sources needSources need
What’s the “indicator” that aWhat’s the “indicator” that a
source is speaking in the story?source is speaking in the story?
Conclusion No. 2Conclusion No. 2
““Said” is a perfectly lovely wordSaid” is a perfectly lovely word
• ““says”? Sparingly, in feature stories, but besays”? Sparingly, in feature stories, but be
• AVOID SYNONYMS for said. If you find theAVOID SYNONYMS for said. If you find the
English teacher who created the list “100English teacher who created the list “100
words you can use instead of ‘said,’ ”words you can use instead of ‘said,’ ”
please offer an eye-roll on my behalfplease offer an eye-roll on my behalf
Types of QuotesTypes of Quotes
Find examples:Find examples:
• DQs (direct quotes)DQs (direct quotes)
• PQs (partial quotes)PQs (partial quotes)
• IQs (indirect quotes – also calledIQs (indirect quotes – also called
paraphrase quotes)paraphrase quotes)
Conclusion No. 3Conclusion No. 3
• Most journalistic stories need the liberalMost journalistic stories need the liberal
use of quotesuse of quotes
• Beginners should have quotes run as aBeginners should have quotes run as a
separate paragraphseparate paragraph
• Put attribution in multi-sentence quotes atPut attribution in multi-sentence quotes at
the end of the first sentencethe end of the first sentence
• Generally, attribute quotes with subject-Generally, attribute quotes with subject-
verb construction (Grubaugh said) notverb construction (Grubaugh said) not
verb-subject (said Grubaugh)verb-subject (said Grubaugh)
Gazette Reporting andGazette Reporting and
Writing GuidelinesWriting Guidelines
1.1. Be a REPORTER FIRST.Be a REPORTER FIRST.
2.2. No one-quote wonders … aNo one-quote wonders … a
minimum of THREE differentminimum of THREE different
sources who are quoted insources who are quoted in
3.3. News stories should use aNews stories should use a
minimum of FIVE quotes.minimum of FIVE quotes.
Sports and feature storiesSports and feature stories
should use MORE.should use MORE.
Guidelines, cont.Guidelines, cont.
4. Use ACTIVE, not PASSIVE voice.4. Use ACTIVE, not PASSIVE voice.
5. Say something IMPORTANT in the lead,5. Say something IMPORTANT in the lead,
and keep it SHORT – NO MORE thanand keep it SHORT – NO MORE than
25 words.25 words.
6. Newspaper paragraphs are SHORT –6. Newspaper paragraphs are SHORT –
usually one or two sentences, rarelyusually one or two sentences, rarely
more than three.more than three.
Guidelines, cont.Guidelines, cont.
7. Attribute quotes correctly:7. Attribute quotes correctly:
““This is a great class,” Grubaugh said.This is a great class,” Grubaugh said.
““This is a great class,” said Grubaugh, who hasThis is a great class,” said Grubaugh, who has
been the Gazette adviser for more than abeen the Gazette adviser for more than a
decade. CORRECTdecade. CORRECT
8. “Said” is usually the right attribution word8. “Said” is usually the right attribution word
9. Keep it simple – no Speech and Debate9. Keep it simple – no Speech and Debate
disease, please.disease, please.
•Rubrics – lots of models
online (and a couple on the
disk you’ll get)
What else works for you?
♦Staff Writer’s Name: __________________________ __________________________
♦ Section: News / Opinion / Features / Sports / Green Screen ♦ Page Editor’s Name: ____________________________
Step 1: THINK SHEET TO Page Editor (ABOVE THE LINE ONLY)
Step 2: SELF-EDITING CHECK-OFFS –
Journalism Style and Mechanics
• _______AP Style used throughout – REFER TO THE ONE-PAGE STYLE GUIDE!!!!
• _______Spelling and grammar checked (especially check the spelling of ALL NAMES!)
• _______ NO OXFORD COMMAS.
Bad= GBHS teacher Karl Grubaugh is good at telling jokes, inspiring youngsters, and being an all-around boss.
Good= The best things about being in journalism are writing awesome-possum articles, working with neato-
mosquito people and eating Chipotle.
• _______Correct integration of quotes, using correct attribution. Ex. “It’s really difficult staying bright orange all
year long,” GBHS junior Suzy “Snooki” McSly said.
• _______At least four different sources, including quotes from at least three different sources, INCLUDING
• _______Meets or exceeds two-column minimum, with 10-point font size and 2.1 column width. DO NOT CHEAT
• _______Facts and quotes are accurate.
• _______All perspectives are presented.
• _______Story is balanced; there is no obvious or subtle writer bias.
• _______Story has a clear theme or angle
PLEASE NOTE: Stories that don’t meet minimum expectations WILL NOT BE PUBLISHED, and grades will be
Step 3: BRING FIRST DRAFT (HARD COPY) TO PAGE EDITOR BEFORE WEDNESDAY OF DEADLINE WEEK.
Signature of page editor (sign when editing conference is complete)
Step 4: MAKE CHANGES TO DRAFT AND SAVE IN THE FINAL DRAFT FOLDER.
Signature of page editor (sign when conference is complete)
Step 5: ON MONDAY/TUESDAY AFTER DEADLINE NIGHT, READ THROUGH THE PDF PRINTOUTS.
Signature of Writer (sign when entire step is complete
• Look for any errors, in spelling, grammar, photo credits and bylines. Initial story when corrected.
After the final PDF deadline, RETRIEVE ALL STORY PACKETS so you can include them in
your required self-evaluation.
WRITING, REPORTING and EDITING CHECK-OFF SHEET
Newspaper Basics:Newspaper Basics:
Interviewing 101Interviewing 101
A few tips on how to conductA few tips on how to conduct
journalistic interviewsjournalistic interviews
1. Be prepared!1. Be prepared!
Do background researchDo background research
Have some information in your headHave some information in your head
2. Have questions2. Have questions
•They help you be organizedThey help you be organized
•Sources wonSources won’t necessarily volunteer’t necessarily volunteer
3. Make an appointment!3. Make an appointment!
People are busy – you canPeople are busy – you can’t just show up!’t just show up!
Be on time!Be on time!
4. Dress4. Dress
appropriatelyappropriately•Not necessarily a suit and tie, butNot necessarily a suit and tie, but
avoid the trendy hip-hop wear and theavoid the trendy hip-hop wear and the
massive holes in the jeansmassive holes in the jeans
5. Take three things on5. Take three things on
every interviewevery interview
A grain of salt – donA grain of salt – don’t believe everything you’re told’t believe everything you’re told
6. Recorders?6. Recorders?
•Notes vs. recordersNotes vs. recorders
•Transcribing vs. shorthandTranscribing vs. shorthand
•Digital vs. tapeDigital vs. tape
•If you record, use a number system!If you record, use a number system!
7. The Interview7. The Interview
Get spelling of name, and confirmGet spelling of name, and confirm
Double check dates and spellings of any other namesDouble check dates and spellings of any other names
Easy questions first! Be sociable!Easy questions first! Be sociable!
Open-ended, not yes-noOpen-ended, not yes-no
Prime the interview (research!)Prime the interview (research!)
DonDon’t argue – but check later!’t argue – but check later!
Arrange for possible second interviewArrange for possible second interview
Find anecdotes – ask for examples!Find anecdotes – ask for examples!
Watch the source – body language, setting, etc.Watch the source – body language, setting, etc.
Watch the environment – use for descriptionWatch the environment – use for description
Save the tough questions (which might cut off the interview)Save the tough questions (which might cut off the interview)
for the endfor the end
Fact check!Fact check!
Thanks for coming!Thanks for coming!
Karl GrubaughKarl Grubaugh
916-786-8676, x5811916-786-8676, x5811