JRN 401 Week 2 – Jan. 19




JRN-401-Syllabus-for-Winter-2016-revised with editing time Jan 14

Assignment for next week:

If you haven’t done so already, go to the Poynter News University at www.newsu.org and make an account. This is one of the most valuable tools available for students who are self-directed and want to continue to expand and advance your skills. After you have an account, search for the course “Beyond the Inverted Pyramid: Alternative Story Forms” and complete  the course. It’s free and it will provide you with options beyond the inverted pyramid and narrative features for telling stories. In case you think this is dumbing down the news, turns out that readers remember more from stories that use alternative story forms appropriately and thoughtfully. And the is the point of what we do!




  • Review reading assignments and discuss what was learned that will be helpful for the first assignment:



Writing stories:

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Click here for “Tips for using narrative story elements in your reporting” or copy this url into your browser:http://ijnet.org/en/blog/tips-using-narrative-story-elements-your-reporting

Key points from the reading:

Think beyond the 5 W’s

Think beyond Who, what, when, where, why, how.

Think in terms of story elements: setting, character, plot, conflict, climax, resolution, action, dialogue, theme.

What information do you need in order to flesh out each of these elements?



Pitching stories: Social issues story

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Click here for 6 Questions Journalists Should be Able to Answer Before Pitching a Story or copy this url into your browser http://www.poynter.org/2012/6-questions-journalists-should-be-able-to-answer-before-pitching-a-story/185746/

Key points:

  • Journalists who want to pitch a story should start with “pre-reporting” before they actually present their pitch.
    • read previous stories
    • interview a few sources
    • get a good sense of what the story might be about
  • Examples of “the quest”:
    • “The number of homeless families is increasing in the suburbs, and I’d like to find out why.”
    • “Juries seem to be particularly unforgiving of drug gang members, and I’d like to see what prosecutors and defense attorneys have to say about that.”
    • “A school has started a program for teen mothers, and I’d like to examine who’s behind it and what they hope to accomplish.”
  • Questions you should be able to answer:
    • What piques your curiosity about the story?
    • What’s new about the story, and why do you want to tell it now?
    • Why will the reader or viewer care about the story?
    • How can we tell this story digitally?
    • What questions will you need to ask to get this story, and what sources will you need to consult?
    • How much time will you need to produce the story, and how much space/time do you think the story deserves?




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