Newsgathering and writing process


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Newsgathering and writing process

  1. 1. Newsgathering and Writing Process A Guide to Superior Stories
  2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Generating Ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Interviewing </li></ul><ul><li>Writing </li></ul><ul><li>Editing </li></ul><ul><li>Additional Resources </li></ul>
  3. 3. Generating Ideas <ul><li>Be alert. News can come from anywhere. </li></ul><ul><li>Concept mapping </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Connect the dots </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Address plausible hypotheticals </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Generating Ideas <ul><li>Has the story been done already? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Search the website archives </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Does it have news value? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the story getable? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can you get the sources you need? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can this story be done on deadline? </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Get Good Sources <ul><li>Non-Human Sources ( Documents are especially vital for investigative reporting.) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Existing News Reports </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Websites/Databases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scholarly Sources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Public records </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Human Sources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Who are the sources of authority? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who are the people most affected? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who are some underrepresented sources? </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Interviewing <ul><li>Mention that you’re doing this for CPJ. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Explain that the story might get published, but offer no guarantee. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Set interview appointment and show up on time. </li></ul><ul><li>Dress appropriately. </li></ul><ul><li>Press passes/CPJ business cards </li></ul>
  7. 7. Interviewing <ul><li>Record interview (ask them for permission) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Make sure in advance that the recorder is working and has enough battery life. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s great if you have a spare device as a backup. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Get contact information: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>First and last names (get them to spell it out for accuracy), official title (if student, get year and major), phone, email. </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Interviewing <ul><li>Have an interview guide prepared in advance. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do research in advance to have your facts straight and ask good questions. Know content from previous interviews the interviewee has done. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Get important questions answered, but also be alert and flexible to ask other logical questions that might arise during the interview. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Interviewing <ul><li>Create a comfortable intellectual space so people will be more open. </li></ul><ul><li>Start with easy questions and warm up to more difficult ones. </li></ul><ul><li>Throw in a “curve ball” question once in a while to steer away from dull, mechanical, or clichéd responses. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t make statements. Ask actual questions. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Interviewing <ul><li>Ask one question at a time. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask clear questions. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask neutral questions. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask open-ended questions that result in more than just “yes” or “no” responses. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Interviewing <ul><li>Learn from the pros: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Larry King (avoid bringing yourself into it) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mike Wallace (asking tough questions) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But develop your own style, whatever you’re comfortable with. </li></ul><ul><li>Be authentic. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Writing <ul><li>NARRATIVE: Tell a good story. It’s that simple. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The lead is everything. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Jump right into it. DO NOT bury your lead. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leave a lasting impression. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Provoke Reader </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Compel Action </li></ul></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Writing: Exemplary Lead <ul><li>Headline: Quake Moves Japan Closer to U.S. and Alters Earth’s Spin </li></ul><ul><li>Direct Lead: The magnitude-8.9 earthquake that struck northern Japan on Friday not only violently shook the ground and generated a devastating tsunami, it also moved the coastline and changed the balance of the planet. </li></ul><ul><li>Source: The New York Times, 3/13/11, Kenneth Chang </li></ul>
  14. 14. Writing: Exemplary Lead <ul><li>Headline : Kepler Planet Hunter Finds 1,200 Possibilities </li></ul><ul><li>Delayed Lead : Astronomers have cracked the Milky Way like a pinata, and planets are now pouring out so fast that they do not know what to do with them all. </li></ul><ul><li>Nut Graph : In a long-awaited announcement, scientists operating NASA’s Kepler planet-hunting satellite reported on Wednesday that they had identified 1,235 possible planets orbiting other stars, potentially tripling the number of known planets. </li></ul><ul><li>Source: The New York Times, 2/2/11, Dennis Overbye </li></ul>
  15. 15. Editing <ul><li>Fact check. Fact check. Fact check. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Start with names (including titles) and other major factual information . Then progress to more minor details. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You may find these fact-checking tips helpful. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Proofread </li></ul><ul><li>Find errors of logic. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Additional Resources <ul><li>Use these sites to improve your fundamentals. </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>