Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Key Points from 2/12/18
By Marshall Child

-       Remember use numerals for numbers higher than 10
-       Always use past tense for print leads
-       Look at five minute style book for what to hyphenate, state abbreviations, numerals etc..


-       Grammar quiz next week on (31-38 of textbook) in addition to current events quiz
-       Read Ch. 13 for public relations writing (three takeaways)
-       Due Date for next story: Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. (Ali Rhami)

*Find the heartbeat of a story

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Religion News Service's Lauren Markoe Visits Class
Class Blog (2/5/18) by Lucy Elliott

RNS Managing Editor Lauren Markoe

Washington Post headline
·      “A Call for Bipartisanship” changed to “A ‘New American Moment”
·      republicans and democrats have been clashing, newspapers are supposed to remain unbiased
·      the headlines did not tell much, you needed to read the article to get an impression of the speech
·      people are picking their news outlets based on the type of information they want to be exposed to, and news outlets are catering to their segregated audiences
·      if we’re only receiving information outlets giving us what we want to hear, we’ll never be exposed to other viewpoints
How to eliminate wordiness
·      don’t use meaningless modifiers such as “various”
·      avoid passive voice, needless repetition, and wordy phrases
·      all first-draft sentences must be evaluated for wordiness
Stephen King “On Writing”
·      active verb: the subject is doing something
·      passive verb: something is being done to the subject
·      there are circumstances where the passive voice is appropriate but in general, it is weak
·      the reader is always the main concern
·      adverbs: words that modify other verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs (usually ending in –ly)
o   avoid them, they weaken the writer’s authority
·      the appropriate verb for attribution is “said” all other verbs imply a hidden connotation
·      don’t over explain
Lauren Markoe: managing editor religion news service
·      religion is very prevalent in political stories (Trump and evangelical advisory board, islamophobia)
·      Markoe did not have a religious upbringing, she learned by asking questions
·      if you want to work in journalism, you need to grow a thick skin and listen to criticism
·      clarity: you need clear writing, saying what needs to be said in the minimum amount of words possible
·      religion can be a source for good or evil
o   conflicts that appear religious are something else at their core, but expressed in terms of religion
·      cover the stories no one else is covering
o   Religion News covers atheist news, not being covered anywhere else
·      work-life balance, having a life outside of your career or that works with your career
·      editors expect their reporters to come up with their own stories, know their own beats
·      while you are writing, you are not a member of your religion, you are a journalist
·      there used to be a religion page in the Washington Post, not treated like hard news
·      lauren.markoe@religionnews.com (send 3 clips cover and letter if you’re interested in an internship. deadline 3 weeks to apply)

   Alex Gilder adds:
   In the Washington Post, there were 2 headlines, one “A Call for Bipartisanship” and another “A “New American Moment”” which led to over 3,000 negative comments. Class members showed how there was too much opinion in the first headline, and how the second headline was unreflective. In contrast, the NY Daily News was much clearer of their opinion with the headline “What a Load of Clap … Trump Praises Himself, touts ‘Unity’ while bashing Immigs”, which shows more of how the Daily News viewed the speech. Classmates prefer headlines that leave opinion out of it, but studies have shown that people mainly judge their news outlets by headlines, and news outlets are catering to specific group’s beliefs. This is an issue because it is limiting perspectives and not giving people new opinions or full stories. This is why we will work to keep our opinions out of our writing.
   We then moved on to “wordiness,” and how to be concise, a class goal. We have issues with this due to past assignments’ expectations or to emulate literature writers. We then read through the sarcastic “Nine Easy Steps to Longer Sentences by Kathy McGinty” and then did the Eliminating Words Exercise 1 from OWL. The take-away from the exercise was that our work will not be perfect the first time, but that revision will be required to make our writing more concise and refined. We then reviewed a sentence from a government report on education, and reworded it to simplify it common language, and discussed how jargon is unnecessary and adding words in order to sound smarter is misguided, and that we should always remember our audience when writing.

  We then read an excerpt from Stephen King’s “On Writing.” Review this and pay special attention to the sections Professor Piacente has underlined. The main messages of this excerpt are to avoid the “passive voice” at all costs, to avoid the use of adverbs, to use said whenever possible for dialogue attributions, and to not let into fears in writing to therefore write more concisely and confidently.
·      Joy Baker story due by 5 p.m. Wednesday (Lateness will be penalized)
·      read chapters 8 and 10; write top three takeaways per chapter