Week 7 (26/3): All the news that’s fit to print

Photo: sollok29/CC/Wikimedia Commons

BY MARK GATELY

Check out the origin story of “the most famous seven words in American journalism”.

It’s now time to take a swing at our first assessment task: writing a news story.

Many of you will have already begun, some may have finished, but we’ll be devoting this class to making sure that you’re all on track with the assessment.

It’s important to remember that completing a story is our goal. So, if your idea isn’t working or your interview targets aren’t playing ball then you need to move on and get something in the can.

Choosing the right story for this assessment is the key to success. In fact, it’s pretty much always the case.

With that in mind, it’s a great idea to make it easy for yourself by focusing on stories that are close to home – sometimes literally.

While it’s great to shoot for the stars and take a fresh angle on a story that is in the news it’s just as satisfying to tell the story of people who don’t often feature in the headlines or on TV.

So, if someone in your family or one of your families has a story to tell – help them tell it.

And if a passion of yours is ignored by the big media outlets – be the one to bring it to the world’s attention.

And don’t forget to take photos where possible and record your interviews. Steps like those will make your story shine all the brighter.

Now, without further ado, it’s on to the main event.

WEEK #7 – Assessment Part 1

News Story 350 – 400 Words for Print

Assessment #1 is due this week, but don’t panic 🥰

Firstly, it is not a difficult or lengthy exercise

If you need more time to complete the Assessment, we can chat. 

Before we get into the Assessment, let’s quick recap some important points.

Keep it simple before starting any news story.

Planning: You will need to consider the Five Ws and H of news

And the Three Cs

  • Clear as if telling it to one person. Use simple language that everyone will understand. Don’t use a big word if there is a short word that will do.
  • Concise means keep it short. Don’t bore your audience. Stick to the key facts and avoid trying to cram in too much information.
  • Correct – get your facts right! Make sure grammar, punctuation and spelling are correct.

And don’t forget … The Inverted Pyramid. You can find it, and plenty more information on structuring and writing a news story here and here.

Remember, paragraphs are fact units and in hard news writing they often only contain one sentence.

When you’ve finished, go through the entire story and try to remove any words which aren’t completely necessary.

And most important, don’t plagiarise.  Write your own original story from the facts you gather.

Okay, so now write.

WEEK #7 – Assessment Part 1

Write: A news story of 350 – 400 words for print or online (ie: text only)

Add: An attention-grabbing headline (making sure you consider SEO) and at least one image (below the headline) which you have taken yourself or sourced through Creative Commons.

Below the article leave some blank space then type in the word count. e.g 374 words.

Place your Word document in the Final Assessments folder, post it on your WordPress site and email me the link.

BONUS CONTENT: Picks of the Week

Music

Books

Fiction: The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next series)
Non-fiction: Notes from a Small Island – Bill Bryson

Movie

Article

‘Embracing reality with brutal honesty’: Packer achieves MBA dream

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