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How to Report and Write a News Story

Essay by   •  November 11, 2017  •  Creative Writing  •  3,483 Words (14 Pages)  •  1,236 Views

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How to Report and Write a News Story

  1. All reporters should have a pen, pad and cell phone. Take notes and record the interview with sources on cell phone audio app.
  2. Stories are assigned by a news editor; however, it’s good to be enterprising and develop your own story ideas.
  3. Do an initial search of your story topic on the Internet.
  4. Use TSU’s online library for reporting topic. This database has over one million resources. A database is a structured area, often on a computer, where one can find content on a multitude of topics. You will find content in the form of academic journals, newspaper and magazine articles, statistics, plus. See here http://www.tsu.edu/academics/robert_j_terry_library/electronicdatabases.php.
  5. Identify human sources connected to the story. Contact those sources and request an interview. THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST CRITICAL COMPONENTS OF THE NEWS REPORTING PROCESS.
  6. Prepare for the interview by learning all you can about the source. Write down the questions you want to ask.  Be a good listener when meeting with the source.
  7. Establish eye contact with the source and shake his or her hand when you meet him/her.  Tell the source that you are a student reporter. Tell them the story may be published in The TSU Herald and on your blog.
  8. Make the source comfortable by telling him/her to relax and be him/herself. Get an email and or contact number for the source.  Get the correct spelling of source’s name.
  9. Ask your questions. BE A GOOD LISTENER. The source may answer all of your questions in that first response; thus, you must be prepared to ask additional questions.
  10. Once you have completed interviewing all sources, verify the information that source has told you.
  11. Facts can always be verified. Some basic places to verify facts include: The U.S. Census Quick Facts https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/00;
  12. Reporter resources - shortlist:  reporter toolbox http://www.journaliststoolbox.org/; accounting basics for journalists http://journalistsresource.org/tip-sheets/accounting-journalists-financial-statement-company; finding people http://journalistsresource.org/tip-sheets/reporting/find-information-people-crime-journalism;    Texas sex offender database https://records.txdps.state.tx.us/sexoffender/ ; use social media as tool to reach sources;.
  13. Now it’s time to write the story.
  14. Basic stories are written in the inverted pyramid format.  The story form requires the reporter to start with the most important information and taper down to the least important information. Answer who, what, when, where, why and how.  Sometimes you may not be able to answer why and how immediately. Decide what was the most compelling ‘THING’ you learned about the topic you are covering; make that ‘THING’ your lead.  This news story form requires you to write stories with one sentence paragraphs. Thus, your lead will be written in one sentence. Keep it simple, factual and to the point. Strive to organize the lead (your sentences) in the subject-verb-object structure; use the active verb voice and be consistent with the tense (present, past, etc).  Many PRINT BASED stories will be written in past tense. The paragraphs that follow, after the lead, will amplify what you have stated in the lead. REMEMBER, PARAGRAPHS ARE ONE (1) SENTENCE.
  15. THUS, start with the lead (one sentence, answers most important aspect of event being covered). Sentence two adds more facts and context. Sentence three should be a quote from one of your sources; however, it’s not mandatory.  Do strive to get a quote in as soon as possible because readers like hearing from the sources. Sentence four will add more context.  Sentence five will add more context.  This process continues until story is completed.
  16. Story must be 500 words; four human sources.
  17. Must use the Associated Press Stylebook. This book is your guide to writing journalistically.

News feature form is the storyteller’s form. You may use this form too. This story is written using the anecdote nut graph form http://tsucommweek.com/?p=3818.

  1. How to write quotes.  COMMAS GO INSIDE THE QUOTE.

Example 1:  “There wasn’t always such a strained relationship with the kids in this town,” said Mark Occino, a city police officer. “A few years ago, the majority of teens and youths knew most of the officers by name and viewed them as a source of protection. Now it seems like we’re distrusted—seen only as the bad guy that comes out and ruins their fun. That’s not how it’s supposed to be.”

Example 2: “I remember being a kid,” said Sgt. Don Filmore, “and if you don’t know an officer personally, it’s really easy to see us as intimidating or as jerks, depending on what you’ve been hearing from other kids, siblings, or parents. I don’t want there to be any kids who don’t come to us because they think we don’t care. We’re not just here to stop crime; we’re here to keep you safe in every way possible, even if that just means giving advice.”

  1. The header for the paper should be written as follows:

Your Name

Date

Slug (This is a short story title)

Journ 132

Professor Sandifer-Walker

Add page numbers; double space; Times New Roman

  1. Edit your paper; read it at least three to four times before submitting.

STORY EXAMPLES:

HEADLINE BELOW WRITTEN IN DOWNSTYE FORMAT

New Braunfels teachers: Principal said he'd kill them (HEADLINE: )WRITTEN IN DOWNSTYLE FORM)

By ROGER CROTEAU (BYLINE – WHO WROTE IT)

Associated Press (NEWS ORGANIZATION)

NEW BRAUNFELS — A middle school principal threatened to kill a group of science teachers if their students did not improve their standardized test scores, according to a complaint filed with the New Braunfels Police Department. (Although 33 words..it gets to the point....we could rewrite and make shorter...It answers who, what, why....when comes later..)

...

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