Meeting story rules/advice; some social media stuff, too… Comm 2221

*Must have at least 4 sources, speakers do count but you must also conduct interviews.
*700 words minimum and no more than 800.
*All normal rules apply, including Multimedia paragraph at the end. If you actually shoot photos, video, record audio and post to your blog = Extra Credit!
*You must attend the actual meeting.
*No conflicts of interest.
*Do your research. Provide context. Explain everything.
*Journalism, not stenography.
*Plan ahead.
*Edit ruthlessly.

Some examples of meeting stories. One from my former life. One from The Lantern.

***** I received two, unsolicited emails this week from people who were pointing out social media blunders, professionalism pointers because they know my classes focus on those a lot. So since they took the time to alert me, I’m sharing with you. The first is a politician who had a classic Twitter fail. The other is a professional communicator in Cleveland who had won awards for helping people get jobs. Her emails behind the scenes told a different story.

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Let’s talk politics…Lantern class

Daily Show does some nice work calling out the media for horse race coverage of politics. One example.

Let’s look at how a few outlets covered the SOTU: Here is the NYT recap. Washington Post. USA Today. BuzzFeed. The Lantern.

Daily Show also does nice work when media “analysts” don’t provide much real analysis. One example.

Comm 2221: Speech story rewrite tips

1. Always include full, formal names of people/companies/etc. on 1st reference. Don’t assume you know…LOOK IT UP!

2. Does it pass the McDonald’s test? In other words, explain/define everything. Context is important.

3. Get proof of names/IDs. Business cards, websites, social media.

4. Watch sentence/paragraph length. Mix it up. Pace is important for readers.

5. Decide what your story is about!!! Write in blocks and then figure out where they fit the best. Save different versions of the article for future use/editing.

6. Consistency in IDs, language, verb tenses, etc. is very important. Example: second year or sophomore, NOT both.

7. BEWARE OF OPINION!! It’s a speech so there is emotion from speakers and attendees. There should not be in your writing, unless in quotes or attributed material.

8. You can’t include everything. Cutting stuff out is painful, but necessary.

9. Know your best quotes. Make them fit if you can and where you can.

10. Take your reader along for the ride. Avoid awkward transitions.

** Potentially use email tracking software.

Speech story rules

600 words. BRING 2 PRINTED COPIES TO CLASS!
At least 4 sources, at least 3 quoted.
All normal rules apply. INCLUDE MULTIMEDIA GRAF.

Comm 2221: Advice for 2nd story rewrites

Remember the 3 things you can always do to improve:
1. Write a new lede.
2. Reorganize the story.
3. Conduct new or follow-up interviews.

Some other (hopefully) useful tips:
*Transitions are needed.
*AP style counts.
*No opinion. Use detailed observations and provide proper context/background.
*Seriously, no opinion. (That includes summary grafs at story end)
*Keep sentences/grafs short and sweet.
*Quotes are great, but don’t overdo it.
*Follow the rules, from the header to the contact sheet.
*Look for repetition/redundancy in wording or ideas….and then cut all but the best example.
*Fact check. Name check. Fact and name check.

Comm 2221… Story Structures

We have discussed the inverted pyramid already: most important news/information at the top and then flow down. Very useful for hard news: identify and prioritize the 5 W’s and H.

But there are other ways to organize. They include: the hourglass, blocks/focus, and narrative. All of these styles have news elements, a strong nut graf and solid interviewing/reporting.

We will look at some examples, but this link has visual representations of these and other styles that might help some better understand the structures.

Look at these stories and decide which structure you think they are written in: Story #1. The second story. And story 3.