Week 2 (15/2): Intro to Writing

“Writing Tools” by peteoshea is licensed under CC BY 2.0

BY RUTH BERAN

DISCUSSION:

  • What does a writer look like? What image do you have when you think of a writer?
  • What sort of person are they?
  • Who here wants to be a writer?

ACTIVITY: Do you think of yourself as a writer? On a scale from 1 to 10, how far along are you towards being a writer?

No matter where you are on the scale, this subject aims to give you the skills you need to be a writer.

Whatever genre or type of journalist you become, whether you work in print, online, radio, television, digital or social media etc, and whatever type of content you make, it is imperative that you have well-honed writing skills and that is what we are aiming to give you.

First things first

Get familiar with the Subject Guide, we’re going to be covering topics like interviewing, story planning, idea creation and research.

Each week we will:

There are two main parts to the assessment:

  • News story, draft, reflection (450-600 words)
  • Human interest story and script, drafts, and reflection (1000- 1200 words)

Final assessments will be saved in the 2. FINAL ASSESSMENTS folder in Google Drive. You will also post your finished stories to your WordPress site and save a screen shot to that folder.

DISCUSSION: What do you read? Why is it important to read?

To be a better writer it’s important to read. Think about what content you are putting into your brain. Watch how reading can feed your creativity:

Reading and consuming news content is incredibly important if you want to be a journalist.

Reading helps to:

  • develop your news sense
  • follow stories as they develop
  • feed ideas
  • cultivate critical thought (eg knowing what is fake news)
  • discover good vs bad writing and use it develop your own writing style
  • increase your employability. Most job interviews for journalist roles will ask you about relevant stories of the day.

Research in the media industry

Good journalism requires good research. Most journalists research their own stories, but some programs or publications will have dedicated researchers (eg Catalyst on ABC TV).

Today a lot of research is done online, but many news organisations still have their own libraries – often with clip files from newspapers going back decades on particular topics.

Research may also involve speaking to people, for example experts on a certain topic.

DISCUSSION: name some databases that you might use as a journalist?

Planning, preparing and conducting interviews

Conducting interviews are essential for writing articles (unless you are writing an opinion piece). We will be going into this in more detail in this subject.

Watching someone good at the craft of interviewing is a great way to learn. Here’s Andrew Denton conducting an impromptu interview on Fitzy and Wippa:

Good interviewers:

  • research, research, research
  • listen to the interviewee
  • ask relevant questions that flow from what the interviewee has said (either prepared questions or ones off the cuff)
  • doesn’t let the interviewee wander too far off topic
  • is comfortable with the technology being used to record the interview
  • knows that the interviewee may be nervous, chats with them at first, makes them at ease

What makes news, news?

A good journalist needs to develop a good news sense.

DISCUSSION: What makes something newsworthy? What is hard news?

TASK

Complete the task on this blog by Verity Chambers.

Author: veritychambers

Journalist and teacher

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