Thursday, March 30, 2017

3/29 Class

At the beginning of class, we started by reviewing some of the fundamentals of writing for Broadcast, as people seemed to have trouble with the Broadcast story due last Friday.

These are the most important points Professor Piacente went over:

  •         Go back to the basics of Print writing (Five W’s, being objective-- no opinions)
  •         REMEMBER! Use Present Tense
o   Can start second or third paragraph with “Officials say…” to prolong the use of present tense  

  •        Conversational, less formal
  •        Don’t confuse leads with headlines or teases
o   Correct: A Bethesda fire captain has landed in hot water after…
o   Incorrect: Bethesda fire captain lands in hot water.

  •         The weight of certain information is more important than others! The death of a child is not of the same importance as damaged houses or someone who broke a leg.

For the rest of the first half of class, we worked on a broadcast story about a new study that shows that the urban legend that women use 3 times as many words as men each day is untrue.
For the second half of class, he went over the homework, which is written below, and wrote our second graded Broadcast story that was due by the end of class (the Joy Baker story).


  • Current Events Quizzes for next 2 weeks will be based on theSkimm!!!!! (daily email to your inbox)

  • Take any 3 print stories we have done this semester and in single sheet (same usual format, heading, arial, size 12, double space) convert the 3 leads into broadcast leads.

Friday, March 24, 2017

By George Gerardi 

Professor Piacente was a little late to class, so in the meantime, we wrote a press release of a man being glued to a Best-Mart toilet seat and a news story of a man arrested for driving while intoxicated and eating his breathalyzer papers. When Professor Piacente arrived at class, he asked for some of us to type our release and story leads into his computer.
            We went over the leads as a class and pointed out their flaws like forgetting to put in when the incident happened in a story release. Everyone had misinterpreted the instructions for writing a release lead as it needed to use words from a speaker rather than recount the incident.
            Next, we shared our takeaways from the broadcast chapter in our textbook Writing For The Mass Media. We also took turns reading pg. 234 in the textbook for an extra insight into the chapter.
            We then looked at a powerpoint about writing for broadcast. We learned that we have to use present tense in a broadcast story whenever possible, we have to put the attribution before quotes, not after, we have to use an active, not passive voice, and we have to avoid numbers whenever possible. We also learned the key differences between a print story and a broadcast story like broadcasts using present tense and an oval format and print using past tense and the format of an inverted pyramid. A broadcast report must be easily understandable, brief, and full of active verbs. Professor Piacente also gave us a great resource for learning about past and present tense:
            After the powerpoint, we watched a YouTube video called Charlie Brooker’s How to Report News that poked fun at the format of a news report by describing its visual process in extensive detail: This was used to display the “Lighter Side of Broadcast News”.
            After the video and a short break, Professor Piacente handed out 2 sheets. One was a blank sheet that was filled out with names of students who had not met with him outside of class yet. The other sheet had 3 stories on them. Professor Piacente told us to write out a broadcast lead for the first story and assigned the last story for HW due by Friday at 5 pm. The homework is to turn the last story about a 30-second tornado in D.C. into a broadcast story. He also discussed the contents of the final exam on May 3rd as it would have a press release and a broadcast story to complete.
            After constructing leads based on a story about the real dangers of “colon cleansing”, we typed the leads into the professor’s computer. As the final assessment of the day, we pointed out flaws of the leads as a class and got a clear understanding of how to write a broadcast story lead.      


Friday, March 10, 2017

3/8 Class

                  At the start of class, Professor Piacente asked us all to join the Skimm, which provides daily summaries of important news events. Everyone should have received an email invite to join, but it can also be found here.
                  He recommended anyone who has not already read the broadcast chapter, do so before next class. He also reminded us that broadcast journalism is in the present tense, while news articles are past tense.
                  Professor Piacente suggested that we all go back and read over blog posts from previous classes. These posts could contain useful information about the class, but this is not a mandatory assignment.
                  He also reviewed the section of the syllabus relating to missed assignments and said that he wanted to meet with everyone in the class, but that it was our responsibility to set up a meeting.

Then the class discussed the news articles we found for homework, that we felt violated the Journalist’s Code of Ethics . Our other homework was collected at the end of class.
                  We were then split into groups of 2-3. Case studies dealing with real ethical dilemmas in journalism were assigned to each group. After the groups had fifteen minutes to examine and discuss their study, each presented their case study and their decision to publish the story or not. The class debated the merits of each decision, and pointed out additional ethical concerns. Professor Piacente told us the outcome of each case a the end of class.
Homework according to the syllabus
                  Bring in a powerful feature/be prepared to discuss it

posted by Laila Rosenthal