The lead/beginning of all newspaper articles should answer the 5 W’s and H
News/Important-different from fiction-gives relevant info at beginning (5 W’s and H)
can be deleted
Why Use the Inverted Pyramid?
Readers get necessary information given to them at the very beginning
In case a story needs to be shortened due to space limitations, editor/advisor can easily chop off the end of the story without worrying about losing the most important information
What Makes News?
Since newspapers are created to meet the needs of the community and school, it is important to know what to look for when deciding on article topics
Things to Consider When Deciding Story Topics
Prominence-How well known are the people involved in the story? If people are well known on a local or national level.
Proximity-Location-event happening close by is of more interest to readers
Timeliness-New, fresh stories hold reader’s interest
Oddity/Uniqueness-Something unusual usually gains reader’s curiosity-they want to know why it happened
Impact/Consequence-An event or decision that affects people’s lives is newsworthy-write about events that alter reader’s lives in some way so they know how they will be affected by decisions (i.e. construction projects in community, new dress code rule)
Things to Consider When Deciding Story Topics (Cont’d)
Human-Interest-Appeal to reader’s emotions
Conflict-Present a story that appeals to sense of curiosity about who will emerge the winner in a battle (story about war, an athletic competition, or election)
BRAINSTORM with a partner at least 5 article topic ideas that meet at least one of the above criteria.
Give general overall summary of the story
Remember that the headline may be the only reason the reader reads the story so make it stand out
Limit the number of words—generally 6-10 words
Use strong, active verbs-to-be verbs are generally understood, but not written out
Use present tense verbs
Express complete thoughts-headlines usually read like simple sentences
Substitute a comma for the word “and”
Capitalize only the first word and proper nouns and adjectives
Don’t mislead reader about content by
exaggerating or sensationalizing
Don’t use the name of the school unless absolutely necessary
Don’t repeat words from other headlines in same section (common in sports section-beat, wins, loses, etc.)
Don’t use “a,” “an,” or “the”
Don’t use headlines that can have more than one meaning
Examples of Bad Headlines (can have more than one meaning)
Directions: Talk to your partner about what is meant and how the headline can be misinterpreted:
Police begin campaign to run down jaywalkers
Safety experts say school bus passengers should be belted
Drunk gets nine months in violin case
Survivor of Siamese twins joins parents
Iraqi head seeks arms
Farmer Bill dies in house
Prostitutes appeal to Pope
Panda mating fails; Veterinarian takes over
Writing Breaking News Stories
AKA Hard News or Straight News
Call, visit secretaries, or go to classroom to set up appointments for interviewing
Know purpose of interview-what information are you really trying to get from the source
Research subject and source-have background material first
Bring pencils and steno notebook
Arrive on time, thank source for willingness to be interviewed
Build rapport with source-start with friendly greetings and casual conversation before getting down to business
Take notes-use abbreviations that you know you will remember when reviewing notes later-you will not be able to write every word of background info
Interviewing During (Cont’d)
Be sure to write every word of direct quotations
Look interested-get more info with encouraging statements as they talk
Conclude by reviewing notes, asking if source would like to add anything, check spellings of names, ask where they can be reached if you need more info, ask if they know of another source you should see about the subject
Instead ask open-ended questions - worded to encourage source to give opinion or expand on question
Ask follow-up questions-unplanned questions that you naturally ask after source answers a question but doesn’t give enough information-you ask them to get them to continue with explanation
Interview Question Practice
Practice changing these Yes/No questions to open-ended questions:
Do you have plans for the weekend?
Should the president be re-elected?
Do you plan to go on to college after graduation?
Do you like the new class scheduling system?
Subjective vs. Objective
Article types that are subjective are ones that are persuasive in nature: Editorials, Advice Columns, and Reviews
Objective-shows fact-author’s opinion is not detected, language does not show how author feels about subject
Article types that are objective in nature are: Breaking News, Sports
Article types like Features are a combination of the two because they give about an equal mix of both subjective and objective statements
Subjective Vs. Objective Practice
Using Sources in Article-Writing Quotations
Quotations-exact words spoken by a source, placed in quotation marks-”example”-must include name of source along with quote
Purpose of quotes-provide description, pull reader deeper into story, capture feelings/emotions of person involved in story and the reader, allow reporter to remain objective (factual) while still letting readers know what the sources think
When to quote-If the information is general knowledge, don’t quote it. Ex. You are writing a story about the eighth season of American Idol. You speak to a representative for the show and she tells you the show airs on Tuesday nights at 8. Don’t quote. However, if the information is subjective (opinion), you quote it. Ex. The representative says she has not yet seen talent that compares to Kelly, Fantasia, or David Cook. Quote it, it is the opinion of your source.
Attribution-crediting the source of your information Example-”I have not yet seen talent that compares to Kelly, Fantasia, or David Cook,” Idol spokesperson Sally Smith said.
Use only neutral words when attributing sources or you risk showing bias-said, according to, asked, etc.
Types of Quotations
Direct Quotation-exact, word-for-word account of what person says-use to display thoughts, opinions from source (note: it is acceptable to edit a source’s information for grammar and to delete things like “uh” from direct quotes)
Paraphrase-summarizes what speaker said-uses no quotes, but still attributes information. Ex. Idol spokesperson Sally Smith says she has not seen anyone with a voice like Kelly Clarkson.
Partial Quotations-combinations of direct quote and paraphrase. Ex. Jones said he was displeased with the plan because it was “excruciatingly long, drawn out and expensive.”
Types of Quotations
Fragmentary Quotations-individual words or phrases that are singled out with quotes in a sentence-used to emphasize strong, descriptive words a source uses. Ex-Martin, who witnessed the crash, said the noise was “earth-shattering.”
Pulled Quotation-Important quote pulled from story, enlarged, and placed so that it draws attention to story. Used to gain reader’s attention
Quotation Types Practice
For the following quotes, determine if they are:
Direct, Partial, Fragmentary, or Paraphrase
Freshman Suzy Su said the best part of paintball is “trying to be so slick you don’t get hit.”
According to Lucy Thom, sophomore, people from the age of 5 to older adults come to play paintball.
Phillips, who plays paintball two or three times a month, said the game is “exhilerating.”
“I’m always looking for a new source of entertainment,” Thom said.
Don Johnson said the game is “awesome,” that the other players are sometimes “unusual” and that its more fun if she is in a “crazy mood.”
Author gives opinion of self and/or newspaper on an issue
Usually addresses some sort of wrongdoing by the government or business (problem/s that arose due to certain laws/rules or lack thereof)
Persuasive in nature-calling reader to action-wants people to take a stand and make a change (Ex. Juvenile dying due to nurse neglect-author writes to try to get people called to action to change nurse care in Juvenile halls)
Thesis-what you are trying to prove in your writing
Say in your head “I am going to prove that…” and whatever comes after that is your thesis statement
Generally the last sentence of the first paragraph
Convince your reader by tugging at the heart strings
Sample scenario emotions-Tell a sad story about a kid who never got in trouble but got suspended for something minor. Normally an “A” student, he missed tests and classwork he couldn’t make up and received failing grades on his report card. Make the reader feel sorry for the boy, and you can convince them with emotional pleas
Convince your reader that what you are saying just makes sense
Present your case as being the only reasonable solution
Work out the details so that the reader can see the logic behind your argument
Sample scenario logic-Many students like to stay home from school, so it isn’t logical to suspend them from school and give them what they want when they are supposed to be getting punished.
Refuting an argument means bringing up the opposite point of view and then disproving it point by point
In order to have an effective argument (as in editorial writing), you need to state your opinions about an issue, and also state the opposing viewpoint then show how that side is wrong
Sample scenario-refuting suspensions-Someone may argue that the reasons for so many suspensions are: 1-ISS is full, 2-the student should behave, 3-they need to know their behavior is not acceptable. As the editorial writer on this topic, you would mention these opposing viewpoints then show how those are not valid points. Refuting-1-ISS could have more teachers to supervise, 2-students are getting suspended for little reasons, so they are behaving, 3-there are other ways to show something is unacceptable (talk, detention, etc.)
“Know your enemy!”
Editorial Cartoons-gives opinions about current issue (usually political) through a drawing (usually one frame that quickly gets author’s feelings about an issue across)
Use symbols when necessary-many times the comedic element in editorial cartoons comes out when you show the object you are against in a symbolic fashion
Use Caricatures-exaggerated figure
Make analogies/comparisons to well known events/figures
Use labels to be sure victims/targets are clear
Editorial Cartoons (Cont’d) Creating Your Own
Think of opposing view’s main figure/leader of what you refuted)
How would you characterize a stereotypical one?
Use that caricature to make your point
Sample Suspensions idea-Dean standing at door of office not looking at the referrals given, just points to direct kids to get on a bus that says on its side “Suspended For No Good Reason”
Using the same topic you wrote your editorial about, draw a one-framed editorial cartoon that effectively shows your opinion on the subject
Editorial Writing/Cartoon Rubric
Effective Lead (10 pts)
Clear Thesis (5 pts)
Refute opposing view’s point/s (10 pts)
Story uses facts, examples, expert opinions, emotional pleas, and logic to build strong case (50 pts/5 pts each element)
Effective Editorial Cartoon on same subject of writing that incorporates given strategies (25 pts)
Total 100 points!
Human interest stories that appeal to the reader’s emotions
Reader can easily identify with the story
Purpose is to entertain
Timeliness of Features
Features do not have to be written and published right away as hard/breaking news stories do
They do not expire because they are not written about topics that the public must know immediately
Feature story ideas
Features MAY be linked to a current event (ex. There is a breaking news story in the paper about the war in Iraq. A feature story could then be written about a soldier’s family and what they have to do now that their provider has gone to war. AKA “news peg”)
Does not HAVE to be linked to breaking news-It may cover a wide range of topics (food, pets, people, etc.)
Feature stories may also use the same set of facts as a breaking news story-it is the author’s style of writing that makes it different
Brainstorm Timeless and News Feature story ideas with a partner
Do not follow inverted pyramid style of writing (most important facts to least important)
Does not necessarily use 5 W’s and H (summary)
leads as Breaking news stories do—use more narrative style
-Big Potato (In Medias Res)-Jump into the middle of your paper and leave reader’s wanting more (ex. And suddenly everything stops.)
-Descriptive/Snapshot-Create a picture (snapshot) in the reader’s mind (ex. Abe Lincoln wasn’t the sort of man who could lose himself in a crowd. After all, he stood 6 foot 4 inches tall, and to top it off, he wore a high silk hat. His height was mostly in his long bony legs, and when he sat in a chair, he seemed no taller than anyone else. (Lincoln: a photobiography)
Striking statement- Flaunt favorite bit of research. Start with a startling fact (In his will, Shakespeare left his second-best bed to his wife.)
Misleading Leads-Set up expectations then surprise the reader (ex. I would like to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not terrified and screaming like the other people in the car he was driving.) (Prairie Home Companion)
Narrative-Put connection with the subject-Write specific memories subject brings to mind (ex. Once when I was a little girl, my father bought me a beaded wire ball that I loved. At a touch, I could collapse the toy into a flat coil between my palms, or pop it open to make a hollow sphere. It resembled a tiny Earth, with its wires tracing the same lines of latitude and longitude.) (Longitude)
Quotations and Questions-least effective choice-use only strong quotes and questions. Use this only as a last resort
With a partner, evaluate these feature story leads. Which make you curious about the rest of the story? Which do not? Discuss why. Rank the leads from worst to best (continue on next slide).
It was Thursday, Jan 2, 1998.
Leah Illiri’s mind was filled with sunny thoughts that April day. She was to graduate from college soon, and life had taken on a rosy glow. Then her car missed a curve-and nothing has been the same since
He’s a small man, about 4 ft 11 in tall. He weighs maybe 95 pounds when he’s soaking wet-and he’s soaking wet most of the time.
Through the inky darkness, a shot rang out.
Leads to Evaluate (cont’d)
If you think it’s noisy in the city, try visiting a farm once.
As the room filled with her classmates, Sara Jane Black could feel her confidence crumbling.
The door opened, and in walked Lute, all 6 feet 8 inches of him.
Have you seen the new painting in Mr. Lopez’a office?
Lights! Camera! Action!
As the Immortal Bard wrote, “All the world’s a stage.”
You don’t want just a bunch of quotes with no connections, so transitions are important
Write sentences that connect the last sentence of the last paragraph to the first sentence of the next
Write a Feature Practice
You are going to write a feature article about a classmate
Write down a set of 5-10 interview questions about a person’s earliest, happiest, or scariest memory (remember how-to interview slides in this powerpoint)
Choose a partner
Interview each other using the questions you made
Write a 200-250 word feature based on the interview with your partner
Feature Writing Rubric
-20 pts-Interview questions (open-ended; follow up questions included when appropriate)
-20 pts-effective lead (identify lead type in margin of paper)
-10 pts-effective/correct use of quotes
-10 pts-meets minimum length req (200 word min.)
-40-story follows style of a feature and captures human interest
TOTAL 100 points
Sports Writing Terms
Backgrounding-finding out info about the sport, team, coaches, events, and issues that will be covered in sports writing
Advance-preview of an upcoming game that compares teams and players, discusses team records and gives lineups
Press Row-row of seats at an athletic event that are reserved for the press, usually courtside
Press Box-group of seats at an athletic event that provide a good view of the entire field
Homer-sportswriter who favors the home team in his/her writing
Cliché-trite, overused word or expression
Our School’s Sports
It is important to know what sports play when to be sure you have full coverage of all current sports
Work with a classmate to determine school’s teams and playing seasons
Make a two-columned chart.
Side 1 Team Sport Type
Side 2 Season sport is played
Getting to Know Sports
Teacher will assign each pair/group of 3 to teach the rest of the class about a sport played here at our school-put all info gathered onto chart paper-be prepared to teach class about sport
You will have 30 minutes to go online and gather information about your sport
Be sure to find out:
-how sport is played, object of game
-Number of players on a team and positions
-Most common sports jargon associated with sport (any terms/phrases particular to that sport)
-Tips: Look up “Your Sport” jargon or “Your sport” lingo or “Your Sport” terms or “Your Sport” dictionary
Cliches rely on jargon (language used in a specialty area) for that sport. If you use sports jargon, many readers will be confused if they are unfamiliar with the terms. If you use them, be sure to explain.
It is easy to get caught up using the same boring expressions in sports writing (splitting the uprights, deadlock, etc.)
Cliches can also be found in answers to interview questions by team members and coaches.
Practice getting rid of these kinds of cliches in your writing by coming up with follow-up questions in an interview if a source gives you a “pat answer” (general statements that don’t show any real feeling or opinion. They are just answers that can please everyone, but don’t really mean much to the reader.
“Pat Answers” Avoidance Practice
Directions: Work with a partner to create
follow up questions (for an answer people care about) if a coach or player gives a “pat answer” to a question you ask:
The whole team did great!
We all did our best.
We are going to practice every day so we can win the next game.
I am very proud of all the players.
Practice Sports Writing
Take notes as we watch ending basketball
clip from Teen Wolf.
Player names, numbers
Important events that happen (points scored, game score, time on clock, etc)
What would you ask coach/key players?
Turn notes into a Sports story based on the film clip (see rubric next slide)
Sports Writing Practice Rubric (from Teen Wolf clip):
Effective Lead (Summary style-5W’s and H) (10 pts)
6-8 Interview Questions that don’t allow for “Pat Answers” (If you could interview coach/players, what would you ask him/her) (10 pts)
No clichés or sports jargon used. Use fresh, lively language. (10 pts)
Factual-based on events in clip (10 pts)
Total 40 pts
Article type: Feature
Reviewers in professional papers are usually experts who offer opinions and judgment about their area of expertise
Frequently focus on restaurants, theatre, movies, television, book, or music
Tone in Review Writing
Tone is important in reviews
What tone does the author use?
Is s/he sarcastic, positive, negative, cynical?
Read a review in the newspaper and determine the author’s tone
What words indicate tone?
How does author feel about topic?
After Reading Newspaper Review
After reading review in newspaper, what types of things does the author of the review do that could be used as a guideline for review writing?
Things to consider when writing Reviews
1-Discuss background of actors/singers/authors, etc.
2-Give summary/explanation of movie/song/book
3-Give quotes from movie/song/book
4-What you liked/disliked about what you are reviewing
5-Give reasons and examples that support your opinions