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Paid Journalism Internships

14 Oct

Many internships are unpaid. However, I want to direct your attention to some prestigious and paid internships offered by Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal. The internships are in reporting, video, graphics, social media, and photography.

Additionally, there are Dow Jones News Fund paid internships as well. They are in business reporting, news, digital, and sports editing.

The deadlines are Nov. 1 and Nov. 3, respectively.

For the Dow Jones News Fund internships, there is an editing exam that potential news, digital, and sports editing interns must take. The business reporting exam is different from the editing exam.

Let’s take a past exam in order to understand the issues that interns and real-world reporters and editors face every day. It’s tough. So you’re free to use the Internet while taking the exam. I still think it will be a worthwhile experience for you!

You can view other past exams from EditTeach.org.

 

 
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Basic Photo Editing Tips

14 Oct

Photo Editing Tips

Now that you’ve seen some evidence of what NOT to do, let’s review the basic photo editing tools in Photoshop. While we will use Photoshop during class, if you do not have access off-campus to Photoshop, then consider using Google’s free photo editing software, Picasa, or another popular open-sourced application, GIMP. Also, you can download a free 30-day trial of Photoshop.

Cropping: Crop to ensure that only one clear subject exists. You can crop to ensure the photo fits a certain aspect ratio (e.g., 150 pixels height by 350 pixels width). The Crop tool is located on the toolbar.

Resizing: Sometimes, you’ll need to resize your photo in order to make it fit a certain area. You can go to Image –> Image Size. There is an option to keep the constrain proportions option checked.

Image Adjustments: Go to Image –> Adjustments and you’ll find several options. My favorites are Brightness/Contrast, Levels, and Color Balance. Play around with them to get the look you want to achieve, without over-doing it and changing the essence of the photo. You can also make an image Black and White here.

Dodge/Burn: The Dodge Tool looks like a lollipop icon in the toolbar and can be used to lighten specific areas of your photo. Right-click on the Dodge Tool and you’ll find a Burn Tool to darken areas of the photo. This tool is appropriate for photojournalists to improve the lightness of a specific part of a photo. However, be sure not to go too far with this tool and alter the photo completely.

Clone Stamp: The Clone Stamp looks like a stamp icon in the toolbar and can be used to clone a specific area of the photo. You can then paste the cloned area to another part of the photo. This is not a very appropriate tool for photojournalists because you may clone a person or object into the photo, which is not a good idea. It may be helpful if you plan on going into strategic communication though.

Spot Healing Brush: This looks like a BandAid. It can correct small blemishes in your photo, such as stains on shirts, red eye, and strange light reflections. For photojournalism, the use of this tool is not recommended unless your editor gives you permission. Otherwise, this tool is useful for cleaning up portraits and creating strategic communication visuals.

Resolution: Publishing photos for the web is different than publishing photos for printing. You don’t need as large of an image resolution for the web. Therefore, when saving your edited photo in Photoshop, go to File –> Save for Web & Devices. You have the option of choosing a resolution that is appropriate for the web. It doesn’t need to be more than 72 pixels per inch.

Just because you can edit your photos, doesn’t mean that you should. You want to capture the photo in a way that does not require editing. However, if you do edit, be sure you follow good common sense and do not go past the ethical boundaries of photojournalism.

Avoid wondering into strategic communication image editing for this Blog Post 5- Photojournalism.

Good luck being photojournalists for the week!

 
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Consider Graduate School

09 Oct

Do you have an interest in graduate study in communication? Check out my alma mater — Ohio State University — and see what it has to offer.

OSU Communication Graduate Program Overview 2014

 
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Basics of Photojournalism

09 Oct

Purpose

Photojournalism is our window to the world around us. A picture is worth a 1,000 words.

The purpose of photojournalism is to capture the people and events that make the news. Photojournalism can supplement a text story or can serve as a stand-alone story.

We remember news stories in images because they are powerful and emotional.

Categories

The following categories are defined by the National Press Photographer’s Association (NPPA) and included in the Best of Photography (BOP) competition. The College Photographer of the Year (CPOY) Awards also use these categories.

Feature (Enterprise): A photograph of a ‘found situation’ that features strong human interest elements, or a fresh view of an everyday scene. A picture that uses humor or focuses on the lighter side of life is well suited for this category. Examples

Portrait: A single photograph that captures a unique aspect of a local figure’s character and personality. Examples

Sports Action: A peak action picture that captures the spirit of a sports competition—either on the part of an individual or an athletic team. Examples

Sports Feature: A sports-related feature picture that depicts the jubilation of victory or the agony of defeat. The event covered should be separate from the game action or outside of the field of play. Examples

General News: Recognizing that much of the daily news coverage is planned in advance, we seek to reward outstanding achievement based on creativity and timing at organized events such as general meetings, promotional events and staged coverage opportunities. Examples

Spot News: An event that is not planned, so the photographer must react on instinct and news judgment. This picture may be of a breaking news event, or a part of issue coverage. Examples

Photojournalism Tips

The creative devices tips still apply to photojournalism. Other helpful hints are found below (adapted from Ch. 7 in our book and R. M. Thornburg’s suggestions in Producing Online News).

  1. Have a working camera with you at all times.
  2. Have one clear subject in your photo. The subject should be in focus and stand out from everything else in the photo. A street is not a subject. Seven people walking down the sidewalk is not a subject. One person walking down the street is a subject. Note: This rule is sometimes meant to be broken. You can take great photos of a mass crowd or a group of people, however, more skill is required. It’s easier to stick with the rules as you’re learning. Then, break them later when you know what you’re doing more.
  3. Take a lot of photos. For every subject, take at least 10-20 photos. **I can’t emphasize this enough. Move around and take a lot of photos!**
  4. Act natural. Make yourself comfortable and invisible.
  5. Move around without violating Tip 4.
  6. Don’t center your subject. Remember the rule of thirds.
  7. Place subjects so that they are moving or looking into the photo, rather than out of it. For example, if a person is pointing to the right, be sure he is at the left of your photo.
  8. Keep the light behind you so the subject’s face is lit (unless deliberately creating a shadow out of the subject).
  9. Avoid using the flash as much as possible. Put your camera on manual and adjust the aperture and shutter speed to get a well-lit photo.
  10. Be aware of the background. Make sure there are no trees or objects protruding from your subject’s head or limbs. And, make sure there are no photobombs.
  11. Go where everyone else is not. If you are taking photos at an event and everyone is taking photos from the same location, then get creative and go somewhere else. Move around to get unique perspectives.

 

Ethics

According to the President Emeritus of the NPPA Alicia Wagner Calzada, photojournalists must live up to a high standard because ethics are “what sets us apart from art and advertising.” She describes the tricky world of photojournalism ethics and law in a presentation at Texas State University. She notes that when journalists are reporting, they should not cave-in to pressure from people who ask, “what do you want me to do?” Journalists should instruct people to continue their behavior as if they were not present.

Copied from the NPPA Code of Ethics

  1. Be accurate and comprehensive in the representation of subjects.
  2. Resist being manipulated by staged photo opportunities.
  3. Be complete and provide context when photographing or recording subjects. Avoid stereotyping individuals and groups. Recognize and work to avoid presenting one’s own biases in the work.
  4. Treat all subjects with respect and dignity. Give special consideration to vulnerable subjects and compassion to victims of crime or tragedy. Intrude on private moments of grief only when the public has an overriding and justifiable need to see.
  5. While photographing subjects do not intentionally contribute to, alter, or seek to alter or influence events.
  6. Editing should maintain the integrity of the photographic images’ content and context. Do not manipulate images or add or alter sound in any way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects.
  7. Do not pay sources or subjects or reward them materially for information or participation.
  8. Do not accept gifts, favors, or compensation from those who might seek to influence coverage.
  9. Do not intentionally sabotage the efforts of other journalists.

 

Following ethics codes is about establishing and maintaining the trust of our audience. The cases below illustrate when that trust was broken.

  1. Brian Walski from the LA Times combined two photos to create a more aggressive and confrontational presentation of the situation.
  2. Time magazine made OJ Simpson look more sinister by manipulating the color, burning the corners and shrinking the prisoner ID number on his mugshot. Newsweek did not alter the photo.
  3. Klavs Bo Christensen, a Danish photojournalist, was disqualified from a photo competition because of using too much color saturation.

See more examples of sketchy photojournalism.

 
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Basics of Photography

02 Oct
dslr-camera

While it is great to use a DSLR camera because they produce high-quality photos, you can still capture great photos using your smartphone or point-and-shoot camera.

For the next two weeks, we’ll be working on photography and photojournalism. While it is great to have an expensive digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera, it is not necessary for this class. We can still take great photos with our smartphones and point-and-shoot cameras.

First things first, we’ll learn about the basics of photography and forever-useful creative devices.

Creative Devices for Composition

Good photojournalism begins with understanding basic composition and design principles. Here’s some easy ways to improve your shots.

  1. Steady Does It: Hold the camera steady by digging your elbows into your chest, placing your elbows on something, using two hands, or leaning against a wall.
  2. Move Around and Get Closer: You need to constantly be moving around to get a variety of good shots. Go on your stomach, your knees, a ladder, or chair. Change your position and your angle. Don’t be afraid to get very close to your subjects.
  3. photographer_laying

    Move around to get different angles and perspectives.

  4. Use Vertical Shots: Don’t always shoot horizontals, be sure you use vertical shots as well.
  5. Pick A Focal Point: The automatic focus on point-and-shoot does a good job at focusing on what you desire, but it is sometimes limiting to work with. So, when you want to focus on something very close and want to blur the background, you can use the “macro” function on your camera (if it has one).
  6. Light: Natural light provided by the sun is the best light to shoot in. If there is bright sunlight and you’re shooting people who are facing the sun, they may squint and shadows may be cast on their faces. Be sure to avoid those shadows by moving around to find the best angle. If there is bright sunlight and people have the sun behind them, their faces will be dark. You can compensate by using a flash. Noon and mid-day sunlight is typically bad sunlight for photography. Sunrise and sunset light is better. But, partly sunny days provide the best light because it is much softer on skin.
shooting_into_the_sun

Shooting into the sun will create shadows on your subjects. This creates interesting contrast of color and texture. Alternatively, you could use a flash in order to provide some lighting on your subjects.

 

Now for the Top Composition Tips as outlined by Photography Mad, as well as a few more suggestions of my own. Some of these are also mentioned in Ch. 7 in the book as well.

  1. Rule of Thirds: Example
  2. Balancing Elements: Example
  3. Leading Lines: Example
  4. Symmetry and Patterns: Example
  5. Viewpoint: Example
  6. Background: Example
  7. Create Depth: Example
  8. Framing: Example
  9. Cropping (Note: This does not refer to cropping in Photoshop; this refers to compositional cropping when you take the photo): Example
  10. Color: Example
  11. Texture: Example
  12. Establishing Size: Example
  13. Contrast: Example
  14. Focus: Example

 

Let’s take a look at some photos on The New York Times Lens photography blog and talk about what kind of devices their photos use.

A note about your rights and duties as a photographer.

  1. In public, you can photograph anyone or anything. If they approach you and request you don’t take their picture, you may respect their request; but, keep in mind that they are in public and they cannot expect any privacy in public (i.e., you can keep taking their picture).
  2. In private residences, businesses, and property, you should get permission. They may not allow photography. **You can always ask for forgiveness rather than permission, though.**
  3. If people ask why you’re taking photos, explain it is for your class blog and schoolwork.

 

Writing Captions

If you shoot people, then get names and put them in captions. [Many students neglect this. You NEED names. Unless the person is too far away or completely unrecognizable in the photo.]

A well-written caption adds value and context to the image instead of merely describing the contents of the photo. Consider including information that goes beyond the obvious.

If you capture an event, then who are the key players in the photo and event? When was the event held? What was the purpose of the event? Where was the event held? Why should the viewer care?

If you capture a portrait or photo of a person, tell the viewer more about the person or context of the photo.

(Example of a caption with a person in the photo) Kristen Landreville teaches the Online Journalism class at the University of Wyoming on Tuesday morning. She is a professor of communication and journalism and is in her fifth year at UW.

(Example of a caption without a person in the photo) Yellow fall leaves litter the lawn on Prexy’s Pasture on Tuesday. The first official day of fall was Saturday.

Your subjects’ age and job description are optional in your captions.

 

 
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Job and Internship Fair

29 Sep

Fall Job & Internship Fairs:

Business, Government, Non-Profit, Agriculture Monday, October 6

(STEM) Science Technology Engineering & Math Tuesday, October 7

100 employers will be on campus over two days seeking qualified students 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. in the Union Ballroom.  

Come prepared with

  1. resume (have it reviewed by the Center for Advising and Career Services)
  2. a positive, friendly attitude,
  3. knowledge about the companies that you wish to speak with,
  4. 1-2 minutes of “talking points” about why you’re interested in their company, and
  5. several reasons how your communication and media background can help their company.

 

Featured Employers:

  • Denver Police Department
  • Menards
  • Peace Corps
  • Union Pacific
  • U.S. Senator John Barrasso
  • USDA Ag Statistics Service
  • WestCare
  • Yellowstone Boys & Girls Ranch

 

Job Search Prep Session- Tuesday, September 30

Drop-in Time- 4-5:30 p.m. Union Ballroom

Resume Reviews, Practice Interviews, Job Fair Tips

Call (307) 766 2398 for more information. uwyo.edu/cacs

prep session

 
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Snowy Range Academy, 1st Grade: How Writing Changed the World

23 Sep

 

Fertile land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, otherwise called the Fertile Crescent or Ancient Mesopotamia, allowed the people to begin agriculture with irrigation systems.

  • Who can tell me what agriculture with irrigation systems means?

 

fertilecrescent

The Fertile Crescent was the homeland of Ancient Mesopotamia, which sat between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.

 

Agriculture prospered here, then cities, states, and empires began.

  • What are cities, states, and empires?

 

The special thing about this ancient civilization is that they used writing. Their writing was called cuneiform. Cuneiform means “wedge shaped.” They used a stylus to push letters and numbers in clay.

  • What is a stylus? (show example of the modern-day stylus that I brought to class)
  • Do we use a stylus to write? What tool do we use to write?

 

IF

This stylus was made of ivory.

 

They also carved cuneiform into stone and wrote cuneiform on metal, ivory, and wax. When cuneiform artifacts were first discovered by scientists and researchers, they thought that cuneiform may have been from birds walking across newly softened clay.

  • What do we usually write on? Do we write on clay, stone, and metal?
  • The Ancient Mesopotamians rarely used ink to write on paper.

 

cuneiform

These are cuneiform characters. The first scientists and researchers to see these characters thought that a bird may have walked on clay to make these designs.

 

Writing changed the world. Here’s how:

The people wrote numbers on clay tablets to keep track of agriculture business and trading. The photo below shows cuneiform characters on an ancient clay tablet. The characters tally the number of someone’s sheep and goats. The tablet came from Tello, in southern Mesopotamia.

Clay Tablet with Cuneiform

Cuneiform characters on an ancient clay tablet tally the number of someone’s sheep and goats. The tablet came from Tello, in southern Mesopotamia.

 

People did not have digital calculators. So, they had to write numbers down and do math in order to sell their animals, crops, and materials. Below is a numbering system used in Ancient Mesopotamia. Let’s see if we can figure it out.

 

cuneiformnumbers

This is a numbering system in cuneiform.

 

Writing numbers to keep track of agriculture products allowed an economy to form. This was an important development for the world.

  • What is an economy?
  • Economy is the production, distribution or trade, and consumption of limited goods and services by different agents in a given location.

 

So far we’ve learned that writing is important for agriculture, trade, and an economy. Writing is important to our lives in many other ways. Let’s think about some other ways that writing helps us. Do you have any ideas about how else writing helps us?

History:

  • How many of you have a diary, journal, or notebook where you write down your thoughts and activities? You can keep track of your own “history” with a journal.
  • Writing gave Ancient Mesopotamia a history. For example, we know that the first king of Babylon, a civilization in Ancient Mesopotamia, was Hammurabi.
  • However, only some people were scribes in Ancient Mesopotamia. Scribes were people who could write and read. Not everyone could read and write.
  • Can you imagine if only a few people in Laramie could read and write? The world would be much different.

 

Government, Rules, and Laws:

  • What are some rules that students at Snowy Range Academy must follow?
  • You wouldn’t know the rules if the principal and your teachers did not write them down.
  • Writing allowed the rulers and kings to write down laws and rules for the people to follow.
  • For example, King Hammurabi wrote his laws in cuneiform on the stone below.

 

codeofhammurabi

The law code of Hammurabi, king of Babylon, 1792-1750 BC. In about 1780 BC, at the height of his power, Hammurabi codified 282 laws on an eight-foot-high stele made of black basalt. Although the Code of Hammurabi is not the first legal code, it is the best preserved ancient law the world has today.

 

 

Storytelling:

  • What is a story? What kinds of stories have you written and read?
  • Because writing was invented, people can use their imagination to write a story or poem.
  • Stories can educate and teach people.
  • For example, the Code of Hammurabi, shown above, includes the following: “In my power, I carried the people of the land of Sumer and Akkad; They prospered under my protection; I have governed them in peace; I have sheltered them in my strength.”

 

Medicine:

  • What do we use medicine for? Why do you think we need to know how to read and write to practice medicine and healing?
  • In Ancient Mesopotamia, people could write down what medicines worked to heal people. So, people in the future would know what to do to help a sick or injured person.

 

Can you think of any more ways that writing is important to our civilization?

 
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Review of Newswriting, AP Style, Attribution and Commas

23 Sep

Common Errors

The most common errors that students make with the journalistic web writing assignment deal with: (1) Newswriting, News Editing (e.g., AP Style), and Attribution, and (2) Commas.

We will complete in-class assignments that are designed to test your skills in these areas.

A lecture on these areas will follow the in-class assignments. Download the Comma lecture from our class page link.

Attribution

For direct quotes, follow this style: “I really love to learn about grammar,” said Kristen Landreville, a student in COJO 3530.

Rule: Insert quote punctuation within the quotation mark. Use a comma, unless you have a directly quoted question or exclamation, such as, “Do I really love to learn about grammar?” said Kristen Landreville, a student in COJO 3530.

Lead Writing

Hard News

See Ch. 6, p. 109-111 for examples of these.

Summary Leads: Who, what, where, when, why, how

Blind Leads: Focus on the summary, but do not give specifics of the “who”. Less “bulky” than the summary lead.

Impact Leads: Start with explaining why reader should care about the story.

Umbrella Leads: Combine concepts from summary and impact leads.

Soft News or Feature Leads

See Ch. 6, p. 111-112 for examples of these.

Anecdotal Leads: Provide short story that is a reflection of the larger story. Most common lead for features.

Descriptive Leads: Set a scene, paint a picture, off vivid detail to draw the reader in.

Quotation Leads: Generally, avoid them. If you have a very powerful quote that summarizes a dramatic experience, then perhaps it may work.

 
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Journalism for the Web

18 Sep

Back to learning how to write for the web…

The following information is adapted from Ch. 5 and Ch. 6 in the textbook.

What Should I Do When I Interview Someone?

  1. First, realize that your interviews are essential to the story. Without strong interviews, you got nothing!
  2. Be prepared: Inform yourself about the topic, source, and/or interviewee. Do some background research on the story and educate yourself. Informed questions are the best questions.
  3. Practice your interview questions beforehand if you’re nervous or want to feel better-prepared going into the interview. It never hurts to practice. And practice being curious-sounding, professional, and clam rather than accusatory, aggressive, or a know-it-all.
  4. Make small talk before the interview. It relaxes you and the interviewee. And begin the interview with a softball question that you may not care too much about. This will relax the interviewee and yourself.
  5. Keep it conversational. Don’t ask one question after another with no casual feedback and discussion. You want to have a give-and-take, turn-taking conversation, rather than a firing-squad style conversation.
  6. Listen. Really listen to your interviewee talking as you take notes. Think about if you have any follow-up questions about their statements. If you don’t, then move on to the next prepared question.
  7. Prepare a basic outline of questions, but avoid reading them word-for-word. Again, you want to know your questions enough to ask them in a casual way to your interviewee. And you want to ask them when it’s appropriate to in the conversation.
  8. Don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions and the “do you have anything else to add before we finish” question. You want to understand the interviewee and the story well. You want to clarify things so you can clearly explain things to your audience.
  9. Allow silence. Silence is awkward. People fill silence with additional banter. It may be helpful banter for your story.
  10. Make eye contact, smile, and nod to show your interest. Try not to make the “uh huh” and “go on” noises. This is a bad habit and will ruin audio interviews if you engage in those behaviors.
  11. Also during the interview…Watch, look, and listen to the environment around you –> Reporters and storytellers are excellent observers and listeners. They are socially aware.
  12. Any other suggestions from you and your classmates?

 

What Tips Do You Have For Writing A Story?

  1. Write for the specific story angle, not the general story topic.
  2. Establish a clear beginning, middle, and end.
  3. Make it clear why the audience should care early in the story.
  4. Write a strong lead to pull readers in. Then expand on the lead in the rest of the story.
  5. Set the scene early in the story. Use anecdotes (short stories from your sources).
  6. In the middle, thoroughly explain the issues. Keep emphasizing the importance, so what, and impact of the story.
  7. Stick to facts as much as possible. If opinion is in your story, it should be your sources’ opinions, not your’s.
  8. Write with active, descriptive verbs whenever possible. Good example: Dr. Landreville teaches tomorrow. Bad example: Dr. Landreville is going to teach tomorrow.
  9. Save the most interesting and descriptive quotes for direct quotes in your story. Direct quotes that merely state simple facts, that are poorly worded, or that are boring are not helpful. Paraphrase that information.
  10. Let the subjects speak. We want to hear what the sources, not the reporter, have to say about this story. Facilitate this connection between the subjects and the audience by using a lot of quotes and descriptions (or if a visual presentation, showing the subjects).
  11. Transition well. Avoid jumping around. Avoid incomplete thoughts and unclear associations of story elements.
  12. Proofread ! Be your own editor. Cut unnecessary words. Use the active voice. Clean up comma errors. Correct misspellings. Keep an eye out for grammar errors (e.g., its/it’s).
  13. Close the story with a resolution by saying what’s next or summarizing the outcome or providing an interesting or strong quote.

 

OK, OK, you now have those tips drilled into your head. What’s next to know about writing for multiple platforms? Well, it’s important to understand reading trends.

What kind of readers are out there?

There are three types of readers. You need to write for all three in a story.

  1. Comprehensive readers (read the whole story)
  2. Samplers (read the lead and parts of a story before quickly moving on)
  3. Scanners (read headlines, labels, captions, fact boxes, graphics, and other quick reads)

 

How is online reading different than print reading?

  • Online reading is 25% slower than print reading.
  • We scan more online.
  • We construct our own nonlinear reading experience online.
  • Thus, you need to use concise, informative headlines, summaries, and hyperlinks to more resources about the story.
  • Each paragraph should have no more than 2 or 3 short, simple sentences.
  • A direct quote should stand out in its own paragraph. Do not bury direct quotes in the middle of a paragraph!
  • Attribution side note. Good Example: “Attribute correctly,” said Dr. Landreville. Bad example: Dr. Landreville said, “Attribute correctly.”
  • Use subheadings in your story –> Otherwise known as “chunk” titles.
  • Bold the chunk titles.

 

Examples of web writing from previous students

Let’s look at some examples from my previous COJO 3530 students. What are some positives and negatives about each? Do they follow the tips above? Do they follow the assignment instructions?

Keep an eye for:

  1. Number of Interviews and Sources
  2. Story Structure
    1. Sentence length.
    2. Paragraph length.
    3. Reporter presence and voice.
    4. Use of bolded chunk titles.
    5. Transitions between ideas.
  3. Attribution and Quotes
    1. Paraphrased information vs. directly quoted information.
    2. Location of direct quotes.
    3. Frequency of direct quotes

 

Examples

 
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Remembering the Groundwork of Journalistic Writing

16 Sep

Your First Journalistic Web Writing Assignment

We’ve covered a lot of multimedia reporting concepts. Now it’s time we venture into our first writing assignment that is web-focused. You can view the assignment instruction here: Blog Post 3 – Journalistic Web Story.

Today will we remember the groundwork — the basics — of journalism. This is adapted from Ch. 5 from your textbook.

All of you have some experience with these basics from COJO 2100 (Newswriting and Reporting). It never hurts to refresh our memories about some key concepts of journalism, writing, and reporting.

Brainstorming for news ideas and finding your story focus can be difficult. But, it is necessary before you jump into a story.

How Can I Think of Story Ideas?

  1. Feature story about interesting people, professors (read faculty bios on various department web pages), or organizations that the community might want to know more about.
  2. Events calendars:—
    WyoCal
    —Albany County Public Library Events
    Albany County, Wyoming Government
    City of Laramie Events (LaramieLive)
  3. What are people talking about on social media websites? Is there a story idea there?
  4. Bulletin boards. Always read them for interesting events, speakers, and meetings.
  5. Problems, controversies, or major issues going on in students’ lives or the community.
  6. Anniversaries and trends
  7. Profile on a business or organization you find in the Yellow Pages.

 

Don’t Suggest a Topic. Suggest an Angle.

What would you rather read about? (1) Student stress during finals week or (2) How a student organization offers massage, pet therapy, comedian performances, and healthy food during finals week to ease stress?

I bet story #2.

Story #2 has a strong angle, where story #1 is a general, vague topic.

I want you to write a story with a strong, specific angle.

 

Where Can I Find Sources?

  1. Expert sources: UW has a vast sea of experts in areas. Check out faculty members’ web pages in various departments.
  2. Journalistic sources: Consulting other media outlets’ past articles and issues can be helpful to locate sources and get ideas.
  3. Institutional sources: Social, cultural, professional, bureaucratic, or political organizations with particular special interests. Examples include political parties, government data, community volunteer groups, student groups, and sports clubs. You can find human sources as well as data from these sources.
  4. Scholarly sources: These are oftentimes highly credible and respected sources, and they are oftentimes undervalued and underused sources as well. Universities, scholarly research from the library, and medical and scientific research centers are examples. Detour –>Let’s learn how to find scholarly peer-reviewed research from the library! :-)
  5. Informal sources: Observations about your surroundings. Take notes about what you and your subjects see, hear, smell, feel, experience.
  6. Sources to beware of: Wikipedia and other wikis, lesser-known blogs, and convenient sources like friends, neighbors, and family. Why?

 

Brainstorming Session

Below are six beats (i.e., topical areas). Story topics are below beats. You can pick a story topic I suggested or come up with your own. Remember that you need a specific, detailed story angle for your final story. Please be sure to run your story by me first.

Arts & Entertainment

  • Art shows
  • Music performances
  • Ballet and dance studio work or performances
  • Plays and theater
  • Movie openings or screenings

 

Recreation & Sports

  • Hunting
  • Adult sports leagues
  • Youth sports
  • Snowy Range Ski Area
  • Vedauwoo cross-country skiing
  • Ice rink
  • Other winter recreation

 

Health & Wellness

  • Healthy eating and nutrition
  • Stress management options and activities (e.g., yoga)
  • Wintertime activities to stay healthy
  • Counseling and mental-health related issues
  • Schools, childhood obesity, exercise, school lunches

 

Local Businesses

  • Profile of a particular business
  • Downtown Laramie shopping
  • Competing with Wal-Mart and chain stores
  • Using social media and new media for local businesses

 

University-Related

  • Profile on a professor
  • Profile on an interesting student
  • Synergy program
  • Outreach program
  • Study abroad programs
  • Alcohol awareness programs
  • Student organizations (e.g., religious student orgs, non-traditional student orgs)

 

Volunteering

  • School and tutoring-related
  • Soup kitchens and poverty-related
  • Elderly and nursing/retirement home related
  • Volunteering overseas
  • Religious-motivated volunteering

 

As I go around the room and visit with each of you personally, I want to hear your story ideas and angles now.

 

 

 
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Posted in COJO 3530