Notes for NEWS STORY ASSIGNMENT
1. Grading of News Story Assignment
2. 11 Factors that influence what is newsworthy
3. Basic Do's and Don'ts about Newswriting
4. Suggested Layout for News and Op-Ed Articles
5. The Triangulation of Truth
Grading of News Story Assignment
10% for Interesting, Accurate Headline
25% for Interesting, Accurate Lead
25% Information (5 W’s + 1 How, and 1 So What)
15% for Organization of Story (the weave)
10% Proper Grammar, Spelling, Clarity
15% Originality of Topic AND/OR Treatment of Topic/ Writing “Style”
Deadline: Feb. 25, 2010. Late submissions will be assessed a 10% penalty for each day.
11 Factors that influence what is newsworthy
Information has impact if it affects a lot of people. A bakery strike may have less impact than a postal strike.
The significance of a particular fact /event lies in its value with respect to other facts / events. 3. Conflict and Controversy
Arguments, debates, charges, countercharges increase the value of news. Information has conflict if it involves some kind of disagreement between two or more people. 4. Emotion
Take into account human interests that touch our emotions. 5. The Unusual
When a dog bites a man it's not news. But when a man bites a dog, it is news. (Old journalistic cliché)
6. Prominence For the same occurrence, people in the public eye have higher news value than obscure people. 7. Proximity
Concentrate on news that is of local interest; the closer to home the better. If 1,000 persons drown in a flood in a faraway country, the story has about the same news value as a story describing how 100 persons drowned in a distant part of the United States or Canada.
In turn, that 100 person story has about the same news value as a story concerning 10 flood victims within our own state/province.
Finally, a story about those 10 victims has about the same value as a story describing a flood which drowns one person in our local community. 8. Timeliness
Emphasize what is new. (Scoops!) "Recently" is defined by the publication cycle of the news medium in which the information will appear. 9. Currency
Take into account what is on people's minds.
Help the audience answer questions and solve problems in their daily lives. 11. Educational Value
Make readers more knowledgeable rather than merely informed.
Basic Do's and Don'ts about Newswriting
Use "inverted pyramid" style – the ORDER OF DECREASING IMPORTANCE. Lead with the most important or newsworthy information in the top of your story, and put least important information, or details, at the bottom of the story. Don't worry about a conclusion.
Write in the third person and in the past tense.
Keep it short and simple. Sentences should also be short, and words should be simple. Use a basic structure for sentences; avoid complex sentences with many clauses.
Use standard noun+verb for attributions, i.e. Smith said instead of said