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Review Criteria for news judgment: • •

criteria for news: Relevance, usefulness, interest more specific elements: Impact, conflict, novelty, prominence, proximity, timeliness (p.4-6 in the book)

The inverted pyramid: •

A news story structure that places all the important information in the first paragraph. Arranges the paragraphs in descending order of importance. It requires the writer to rank the importance of information.

What should you have learned about covering a beat this semester? • • • • • • • •

First, what is a beat? A reporter’s assigned area of responsibility. A beat may be an institution, such as the courthouse, a geographical area, such as a small town; or a subject, such as science. Beat reporters tell their audiences not only what is happening but also how to get involved. Most of the useful reporting is done in advance of public meetings, with the goal of enabling citizens to become participants instead of passive onlookers. Beat reporters remain the eyes and ears of their communities: They keep track of government, education, police, business and other powerful institutions that shape readers’ lives. The successful beat reporter is: prepared, alert, persistent, there, wary Preparing to Cover a beat: Use the internet to acquire background information and understand context, make note of continuing issues or ideas for stories to come, become familiar with the laws governing the institution you cover Talking to sources: Talk to your predecessor on the beat, your city editor and veterans in the news room for background, Understand your editor’s expectations (Cathy Johnson), Establish a relationship with sources – demonstrate interest in them. The point of all this effort – the preparation, alertness, persistence and personal contact—is to keep your readers informed. You are an observer, NOT a participant

Convergence: describes efforts to use the different strengths of different media to reach broader audiences and tell the world’s stories in new ways. The melding of traditional media into something entirely new – the concept that consumers should be able to get news on their own terms, however and whenever they want it. •

Impact on Journalists and Writing: mainstream journalists have to become multimedia journalists. They must understand not only the basics of writing and editing but also the fundamentals of audio and video production, blogging, mobile phone technology and more.

In its most complete sense convergence involves alliances of four communication forms: 1. Print (usually newspaper or magazine) 2. Broadcast or cable television, perhaps radio 3. The internet 4. Mobile phones and other wireless devices.

The three broad sources/formats from which journalists gather information? How many sources in a story? At least two Basics of Interviewing: Open- ended questions allow the respondent some flexibility. An open-ended question is not so personal, it does not sound as threatening to a respondent. In response to an open-ended question, the source often reveals more than he or she realizes or intends to. Close-ended questions are designed to elicit specific responses. You also communicate to your source that you have done your homework and are looking for precise details. Using Open Ended/Close Ended questions is not something that can be planned ahead of time. You must make on-the-spot decisions. After the interview organize your notes, craft a proper lead, write a coherent story, check accuracy with the interviewee (asking follow up questions, etc). Off-the-record: if someone speaks off the record, what she or he says cannot be quoted in the story. You can, however, find someone else who will say the same thing or you can research what the respondent told you further. Some say to tell the person being interviewed that everything is on the record, to avoid this, but many times better stories come from the ‘off the record’ information.You don’t use anonymous sources. You damage your credibility, your source may be lying and you may be sued if you later reveal your source. If someone you approach doesn’t want to give their name, you should either convince them to speak on the record or simply interview someone else. Most interviews are conducted in the source’s office. However, it is usually better to get the source away from his or her work. For some interviews, it is to your advantage to get the source on neutral territory. It is important to let the source know how much time you need and whether you expect to return for follow up information. Telephone Interview: last option… when nothing else will work out.

Covering a speech: Preparation: Contact the group sponsoring the speech and ask for the topic, research background on the speaker, if the speech is important enough contact the speaker for a brief interview. When should you arrive: early Where to sit: in the middle – you can see the audience reaction and still see the speech well/hear what is going on. What should you do afterward: How do you start the story? Start with the most important information (inverted pyramid) – do not report there was a speech, rather what was said IN the speech. What do you include in the story: the size, reaction of audience, sometimes what is happening outside the building, what is said in the speech – quote people exactly and in context Leads for speech story, meeting story & story about a report: lead should tell what the meeting/speech/report is about and not that there was a speech/meeting/report released. Using numbers in stories: long lists of figures are difficult to read in paragraph form. Put them in charts and graphs when appropriate. Use numbers judiciously for maximum impact. Round off large numbers in most cases – for example $1.5 million rather than $1,489,789. No more than three?? Figures in a sentence. Role of a consumer story:

What is a podcast? How might a podcast be used in the newspaper world? A 'podcast is a series of digital media files (either audio or video) that are released episodically and downloaded through web syndication. – Wikipedia On their web site to summarize their news; much like a radio broadcast. For lazier people who cannot read. What is libel? What are the four main defenses? What are shield laws? Libel: Damage to a person’s reputation caused by a false written statement that brings the person into hatred, contempt or ridicule, or injures his or her business or occupational pursuit. Four main defenses: 1. Truth: absolute defense 2. Opinion: Fair comment, Rhetorical hyperbole 3. Qualified privilege: fair and accurate report, Neutral reporting privilege 4. Absolute privilege: Participants in official proceedings Shield Laws: Legislation giving journalists the right to protect the identity of sources


Reporting Priniciples review