Thursday, September 13, 2012

Notes from the third class (9/13/12)

Review of News Values

  • Proximity
  • Unusual
  • Prominence
  • Immediacy
  • Impact
  • Conflict
*memorize these!
*not all stories will have all of these values but the more they have the more likely they will be on the front page

US Ambassador Killed In Libya
  • story started on A10 when those killed were unknown
  • story moved to front page with death of US Ambassador
  • international/national prominence
  • ups the ante
  • high position in government
Arrested Hero Story - Sentence Review (Main Points)
  • "home-cooked" dinner: necessary because it covers all the angle of the story, element of appreciation
  • we are striving for PRECISION AND CLARITY
  • "evening" irrelevant: when else do we eat dinner?
  • you don't know what anyone "believes"
    • correct: "Neuman said he believed" or "Neuman said"
  • there are times to paraphrase and times to quote
  • we quote when a quote is unique or said uniquely
  • this writing is more of an art than a science, all situations are unique
  • home-cooked meal "at her house": unnecessary, where else would it be?
  • tip: don't turn something in until you've read it out loud
  • what is a "water rescue attempt": say it in plain English
  • organize the W's in order of importance
  • it is more descriptive to say "a 48-year-old man" than "Neuman": no one knows Neuman
  • attribute information to your sources! don't put yourself in the story
  • refer to days of the week, not "yesterday"
  • don't shift the focus of your sentences to unimportant points
  • leads can only be 1 sentence, 25 words or less, containing as many of the W's as possible
  • when there's a natural pause, put a comma
  • factual errors are bad!
  • "said" is the preferred attribution word
    • other words hint/suggest things to the reader
    • back to back quotes need transitions ex: "Neuman replied"
  • don't make yourself a focal point, there will  be a time and a place for that (not here and now)
  • no need to explain what a quote is saying, readers find this condescending/irrelevant
  • you don't know anyone on a first name basis
    • exceptions: Cher, Madonna, etc.
  • "Mr." unnecessary
Rules and Regs
  • numbers 1-9 are spelled out (unless they start a sentence), numbers 10 and above are not
  • keep leads to 1 sentence, 25 words or less
  • stress the unusual
  • stay in past tense for print as much as possible
  • use "said" when quoting someone
    • use the title and full name on first reference
    • use last name only on subsequent references
  • keep subsequent graphs to one or two sentences
    • "short and punchy"
    • set off all quotes by making them their own grafs
  • use a new graf when you introduce someone new, quote someone else, etc.
  • don't engage in linear story-telling
    • use the inverted pyramid
    • punch line comes first
    • you should get the gist of the story from the first 25 words
  • don't try to summarize or force a clever ending
    • no conclusions!
  • keep your opinions out of your stories
  • why do we use headlines?
    • takes the place of a lead
    • extra place for information
    • cheating of sorts (no extra 10 words to work with)
    • "let's walk before we run"
  • read aloud
Stephen King excerpt
  • use active voice, not passive
  • "I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs..."
  • to do: re-read the excerpt on your own
Homework due next class
  • Read Ch. 5,6
  • Do P. 11 "Rewriting" exercise, 1.12
  • Do P. 32 "Agreement" and "Comma Splices" exercises 2.10 and 2.11

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