DAILY STORY ASSIGNMENT
Daily One: Due Tuesday, Feb. 28 (7%)
Please research, report, and write a “daily” news story off of your beat. Some examples of a daily news story include: an event, a meeting, a study just released, some kind of happening such as a store closing or opening, a new proposal, a new development, a recent speech, a new budget. Basically I just mean a piece of nonfiction newswriting that is short. Remember, you will need a news hook (in other words, this needs to be something happening now; this topic needs to be NEWS and NOT an essay, prose, term paper, etc.). Be careful about which event you select so that you will have something meaningful to write on. Please avoid slipping into public relations writing (in other words, make sure your story is balanced and not advocacy). Do not pick a topic area that is too broad. This will be an exercise in focused story conception and deadline short-form writing. Choose according to what interests you. Do some research on it, but you should not be spending more than a few hours on this assignment.
These are the minimum requirements for your story:
Þ There MUST be at least three (3) sources in your story. (A ‘source’ is considered a perspective. You cannot count two people from the same organization as two sources if they are speaking from the same perspective.) You should aim to have three-five sources for an A.
Þ There MUST be quotes in your story.
Þ There MUST be at least two ideas for interactivity and multimedia to correlate with your story. This should be at least one paragraph about what you would do and why it fits the story. (Note that you do not need the actual art.)
Þ There MUST be a Web summary at the top of your story (separate from the story, though). This should be one or two sentences that an editor could use to promote your story on the Web. Make it good because this is often the only thing that audiences will read of your story.
Þ You must tweet the event/story in some way either to help with reporting or to get a conversation happening about it.
Þ You must have one blog entry off of it (or you may do a related interview Q&A for the blog post). It could also be material you didn’t fit in your story.
Þ You should write a headline that is going to work for the search engines. Make it succinct. Make sure you have keywords in the headline. Make sure it is active and contains the basic information that would make me want to click on it.
And of course the following:
Þ Your story MUST be written in journalistic fashion. This means READ THE NEWS. If you are interested in doing journalism, you need to consume journalism.
Þ It MUST be true. All of it.
Þ It MUST be current, meaning there needs to be a news hook for your story. However what is “current” can be determined on a case-by-case basis. For example, a profile of a company that has been in transition for the last year could be considered current. It’s all in how you frame it.
Þ You cannot write about something you are part of, nor can you write about your friends.
Þ You must list the sources and phone numbers at the bottom of the article. I will be selecting papers randomly to fact check.
Þ You cannot use FIRST PERSON (I, we, us, me). Use of the first person means an automatic F.
Þ You MUST spell all names correctly throughout the piece. Failure to do so results in an automatic F.
Þ There SHOULD be some kind of statistics or numbers in your story that provide evidence for your story.
These are the minimum requirements, and failure to meet any one of them will severely affect your grade, and you may not be allowed to rewrite it. I do not hesitate to give you a failing grade if you have not met these minimum requirements.
Fair Warning: I reserve the right to call your sources to fact check your story. If I cannot find someone in your story, I will ask you to produce the person, so be prepared for that possibility.
Your story should be about 800-1,000 words, or about 2-3 pages double- spaced. (This is just a guide.) Remember what you have learned thus far. AP style will count, as will grammar. Think about your lead, your nutgraf, your story structure. You should write it thinking that it is going to be published in a newspaper.
Most of all, have fun!!!
DON’T FORGET: ALL PAPERS DUE BY 1:20 p.m.
(I drop your grade one letter every day your paper is later;
I reject the paper after 4 days)
I do not need a hard copy of the story.
Rewriting: I will generally accept rewrites of your story assignments at any time during the semester. I will only accept one rewrite a week (in other words, do not plan on rewriting everything and turning all the rewrites into me on the last day of class). The rewrite must be accompanied by the original story with my comments. The rewrite must be significant, incorporating my suggestions as well as your own editing. I consider the rewrite along with the original and give you a new grade to replace the original. I reserve the right to reject a rewrite when the minimum requirements had not been met in the original paper. For a story rewrite to receive a new grade, it must be a significant rewrite.