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Writing 101

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Basic intro to journalistic writing for The Accent newspaper.

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Writing 101

  1. 1. Journalistic Writing 101 News, Features, Interviews, Qualities, Factors
  2. 2. News Vs. Features <ul><li>Listen to the news story and the feature story </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What do they have in common? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How are they different? </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Classic (Telegraph) News Form Most Important Least Important Summary Lead (5ws and H, starting with most interesting item) Quotes Transitions End on a good quote
  4. 4. The Feature Tell a true story Use plot, characters, dialogue, literary devices etc. Should have at least one nut graph (summary paragraph tied to recent events) Draw your reader in
  5. 5. The Interview <ul><li>Interview Definition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Any time you gather information, and solicit information from a source. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Primary- A person who has information that is essential to the story </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Secondary- People or documents that add information and perspective to a story, but are not essential </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Interview Keys <ul><li>Prepare! (RESEARCH) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Learn as much as you can about the person you will interview </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Write questions before the interview </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be prepared to add or change questions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Schedule interview </li></ul><ul><li>Greet and identify yourself and the purpose of the interview </li></ul>
  7. 7. Interview Keys- Poor Example <ul><li>Reporter- I’m supposed to ask you about your plans for student council. </li></ul><ul><li>Smiley- Okay. </li></ul><ul><li>Reporter-What can you tell me about your plans? </li></ul><ul><li>Smiley- Well, big things will be happening. </li></ul><ul><li>Reporter-How do you plan to implement those things? </li></ul><ul><li>Smiley- The student council will work very hard to make the changes. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Interview Keys- Prepared!!! <ul><li>Reporter- Joan, how do you plan to fight against suspensions and expulsions, as you promised in your campaign? </li></ul><ul><li>Smiley- Actually that will be tough at first. More important is my promise to have more student input in school board policies. With that input, we can work towards stopping suspensions </li></ul>
  9. 9. Interview Keys- Prepared!!! <ul><li>Reporter- I believe the council tried two years ago to get more student input in board decisions, and failed. How do you propose to become more involved now? </li></ul><ul><li>Smiley- Well, I’ve already met the superintendent and the school board president to create a student liason position on the policies committee. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Interview Keys- Questions <ul><li>INFORMED </li></ul><ul><li>OPEN ENDED </li></ul><ul><li>PROBING </li></ul><ul><li>FOLLOW UP </li></ul>
  11. 11. Interview Keys- Questions <ul><li>5 Ws and an H </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>GOOD STARTING POINT </li></ul>
  12. 12. Interview Keys- Questions <ul><li>OPEN ENDED </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask for an opinion or an interpretation. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>DO NOT LET THEM ANSWER YES OR NO! </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Interview Keys- Questions <ul><li>Change these to OPEN ENDED </li></ul><ul><li>Did you sign the petition? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you floss regularly? </li></ul><ul><li>Does your computer do calculus? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the football team going to be good this year? </li></ul>
  14. 14. Interview Keys- Questions <ul><li>FOLLOW UP (Probe) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>LISTEN to your source’s answers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Identify when they are being unclear, or vague and make them clarify. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Make them expand on new information you didn’t know about before the interview </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>LOOK FOR THE “ANGLE” AND FOLLOW IT </li></ul></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Three Factors are essential to News 1. FACT <ul><li>News Must be Factual </li></ul><ul><ul><li>News is based on actual occurrences, situations, thoughts, and ideas. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not all facts are news. </li></ul></ul>Interest People Fact
  16. 16. Three Factors are essential to News 2. INTEREST <ul><li>News Must be Interesting </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not all facts are interesting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The degree and breadth of interest will vary. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>High interest for a few </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Some interest for many </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Great interest for many </li></ul></ul></ul>Interest People Fact
  17. 17. Three Factors are essential to News 3. People/ Audience <ul><li>It is the job of the reporter to make facts interesting to people. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What does your audience want? </li></ul></ul>Interest People Fact
  18. 18. News Qualities #1 <ul><li>News must be Accurate </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Every statement, name and date, age, address, and quotation is a verifiable fact. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The general impression must be correct as well as the specific details. </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. News Qualities #2 <ul><li>News must be Balanced </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Every fact must have the proper emphasis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Get all of the sides to a story, and report all of the important details. </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. News Qualities #3 <ul><li>News must be Objective </li></ul><ul><ul><li>News is a non-biased, factual report of an event (as much as possible) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rely on knowledgeable sources for all information. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some background and interpretation is often needed. Such stories are written under a byline. </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. News Qualities #4 <ul><li>News must be Concise and Clear </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hard news follows the inverted pyramid form (Most important facts first) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Effective reporting is painstakingly precise in word choice, yet full of life and vigor; colorful yet without subjective tinting. . .” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>-Mitchell V. Charnley </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  22. 22. News Qualities #5 <ul><li>News must be Timely </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Other factors being equal, this quality will always determine what gets published. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>All events don’t have to be current. They all just have to be appropriate for the time. (current) </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Features are different <ul><li>Based on people, not necessarily events </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t have to be as timely </li></ul><ul><li>While you don’t want to waste words, you don’t have to be as concise </li></ul>Features are the same <ul><li>Everything must be accurate </li></ul><ul><li>Writing should be objective event though it is a personal story </li></ul><ul><li>Based on great interviews </li></ul>

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