Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Notes from Class 8th February

Announcement about event: February 24th at 6:15 SOC will be showing clips from the movie spotlight and the former Boston Globe Editor will be there. The event should go on for around an hour with food provided.

Sarah Baker, our writing assistant for this class, came to introduce herself and talk about what exactly she can help us with. Her office is on the basement level of McKinley, Room 19.

We reviewed some lessons from the Joy Baker Assignment:
  • Ensure that emotion does not come through on provoking stories.
  •  Make sure to prioritize the 5 W’s and do not start your lead with attribution.
    •   For example: “who”: a name is not greatly important unless it is a celebrity.
  • “Missing the lead:” when the reader does not get the full story.
  •  Repeating information – do not explain the quote.
  •  Always use names of the days to avoid confusion.
  •  Leads must answer questions not cause them.
  • Do not include irrelevant things such as the occupation of someone in a regular every-day job.
  • If you can explain why you put it in, it is a acceptable to do so.
  • Only ever use information on the fact sheet.
  • When stating information, it is not the fact that something happened (such as an autopsy) but what actually happened in it (for example what the autopsy said).
  • AP style note: If you start a sentence with a numeral spell it out.
  • Leads only ever 1 sentence, around 25 words.

An example of an ideal lead from the Joy Baker story:

“A 10-day-old baby (who) died (what) Monday (when) after her mother left her in a car in frigid temperatures to go gamble at a local casino (why) according to D.C. Police (where and attribution).”
We then read an article about teaching journalism and analyzed the main take-away from the piece.

Criteria of what makes something news (news values):
  •          Unusual
  •          Conflict
  •          Immediacy
  •          Impact
  •          Prominence
  •          Proximity

The more news value a story has the more likely it is to make the front page.

We watched a movie called The Shipping News based on a book by Annie Proux in which Kevin Spacey stars as a journalist with many problems, one being that he is a bad writer. One tip he gets in the clip we saw was “Find the center of your story, the beating heart of it.” He also indicated the power of using active verbs, particularly in head lines.

Homework for next week 15th February:
  •          Read two articles by the Washington Post’s T. Rees Shapiro and prepare 2 questions
  •          Write a lead for the Samuel Pickney story and bring it to class printed.
  •          Review the AP Style guide
  •         Read the Washington Post for a news quiz (Tip: If you are having trouble remembering the stories, make a list of headlines daily and review them before class.)

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