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Telling Your Story and Making the News
 

Telling Your Story and Making the News

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Whether you are writing an article for your local newspaper or creating a newsletter for your FFA chapter, you will need to ask yourself, “What makes a good story?” and “What is the best way to ...

Whether you are writing an article for your local newspaper or creating a newsletter for your FFA chapter, you will need to ask yourself, “What makes a good story?” and “What is the best way to tell it?” This workshop will cover the steps for writing a good article from brainstorming and researching your topic, to interviewing sources, to writing and revising your first draft, to publishing a finished article. By the end of this workshop, you will have a better understanding of the news and how you can make it.

This presentation was for the Virginia FFA Convention on June 29, 2011.

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    Telling Your Story and Making the News Telling Your Story and Making the News Presentation Transcript

    • June 28, 2011
      Telling Your Story and Making the News
      Michael Sutphin, Writer, @michaelsutphin
      Lori Greiner, Communications Manager, @lgreiner
    • Overview
      How can I make the news?
      What makes a good story?
      How can I tell it?
      2
    • What is the news?
      Timely, immediate – not history
      Affects many people in some way
      Innovative or interesting
      What journalists decide as news
      3
    • Sources of news
      Word of mouth
      Print
      Broadcast
      Web
      Social media
      4
    • Making the news
      News releases
      Pitches
      Reporter queries
      Newsletters and magazines
      Multimedia
      Social media and blogs
      5
    • What is newsworthy?
      6
    • What is newsworthy?
      Timeliness
      Proximity
      Impact
      Prominence
      Novelty
      Conflict
      Human interest
      7
    • Why write?
      8
      Keep a record
      Organize thoughts
      Express creativity
      Share ideas
      Persuade others
    • The writing process
      Brainstorming
      Prewriting
      Drafting
      Revising
      Editing
      9
    • Step 1: Brainstorming
      List topics that come to mind.
      Draw a map with your main topic in the middle and other topics radiating from it.
      Create an outline.
      Work as a group or share ideas with others.
      10
    • Step 2: Prewriting
      prewriting
      —noun
      Preparatory work for a piece of writing, as idea formulation, an outline, or research.
      (Random House Dictionary, 2009)
      11
    • Who is your audience?
      12
    • Background research
      Archived news
      Documents
      Websites
      Friends and contacts
      Google
      13
    • Interviewing
      Be polite.
      Explain the purpose of the interview.
      Make it a conversation.
      Ask follow-up questions.
      Take good notes.
      14
    • Step 3: Drafting
      15
      Photo courtesy of KrissSzkurlatowski
    • The six questions
      Who?
      What?
      Where?
      When?
      Why?
      How?
      16
    • Activity: The inverted pyramid
      17
    • Writing a good lead
      Informative
      Concise
      Creative
      Attention-grabbing
      18
    • Ways to open a story
      Summary
      Picture
      Background
      Contrast
      Quotation
      19
    • Bad leads
      Buried
      Wordy
      Dense
      Uninformative
      Dull
      20
    • Direct vs. indirect quotes
      “This year’s FFA Convention will give hundreds of Virginia students a chance to share their passion for agriculture,” said Wes Kline, president of Virginia FFA.
      Wes Kline, president of Virginia FFA, explained that the 2011 convention will help more than 2,000 Virginia youth better understand agriculture in the commonwealth.
      21
    • Article length
      22
    • Headlines
      23
    • Step 4: Revising
      “The difference between the right and the nearly right word is the same as that between lightning and the lightning bug.”
      —Mark Twain
      “Half my life is an act of revision.”
      —John Irving
      24
    • Step 5: Editing
      25
      Photo courtesy of Jan Verbist
    • Style
      Question: What is the single most important element of writing style?
      26
    • Style
      Answer: Consistency
      27
    • Common mistakes
      Passive voice
      Too many prepositional phrases
      Mixed tenses
      Dangling modifier
      Redundancy
      Non-agreement
      Careless repetition
      Mixed construction
      28
    • Keys to success
      Write about what you know.
      Tell your story.
      Do your research.
      Ask questions.
      Stay focused.
      Think outside the box.
      29
    • Questions?
      30