Friday, February 7, 2014

Fourth Class - Notes By Elisha Brown

  • Current Events
    • Brief discussion of front page salt story in The Post
    • Provided good example of writing your way on the front page
    • Unusual story impacted many in the DMV area
    • Aside: The Post often referred to as the writer's newspaper; a lot of freedom with style options
  • Neuman Lessons (last week's assignment)
    • Avoid explaining a quote; we don't need two sentences to introduce a quote in most cases
    • Try to avoid adverbs like "immediately"
    • Back to back quotes must include a transition to alert the reader that someone new is speaking
    • Avoid terms like "Saturday evening" when describing dinner; in short, aim for precision and clarity
    • Eliminate excessive commas when describing situations; often causes choppiness
    • When revising a story, look at the process as a "garden" - pulling out the excessive weeds 
  • Review of Chapter 14's Bias Theme
    • The job of a journalist is to stay as neutral as possible
    • When in doubt, refer to the bias checklist on page 271
    • Remember: everytime a stereotype  is confirmed by a writer, it's strengthened in the reader's mind
  • Bias Exercise
    • In short, we broke up into teams to discuss how to approach difficult stories
    • Case 1/ sex offender/ important to publish even if it could jeopardize a family or job
    • Case 2/ offensive official/ sexist comments made by a warden and a sheriff; include everything in a story, especially if comments are controversial 
    • Case 3/ teacher/ a news value is prominence; this was an unusual story
    • Case 4/ firefighter/ do not hesitate to hold back information, it's almost like lying to the public
    • Case 5/ ex-FBI and drunk/ consider the ethics of the situation
    • Case 6/ charity-cancer/ consider relevancy and the potential to open up a floodgate of similar stories
    • Case 7/ suicide/ once again, your job as a journalist is to withhold emotional attachment to the story; report the facts
    • Case 8/ NYE and welfare/ Consider this: If an editor sends you out on a story and you find a better one, should you publish it?
  • HW for 2/13
    • Deadline for Georgetown student hate crime story is Friday at 3:00 p.m.
    • Read two stories by WaPo journalist T.Rees Shapiro
      • Come up with two questions to ask him next week

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