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Lesson 1: News writing basics

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Chris Thomas

on 14 September 2014

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Transcript of Lesson 1: News writing basics

Introduction to writing
Lesson objectives
In today's session you will learn:

The 5 key ingredients of news
How they are used to make a story



NIBs are the starting point for all news stories.

A NIB (which stands for News in Brief) is an entire news report told in two or three sentences. They are rarely longer than
100 words.

In print or on a web page, NIBs may appear in a small box or a column at the side or bottom of a page.
NIB - stands for News in Brief.

NIBs are entire news stories told in 2 or 3 sentences.

They are rarely longer than
100 words.
Why are NIBs useful for writers?

They get straight to the important facts of a story
The stories are tiny - you can fit more on a page
Dumb criminals
(make for good stories)




You've heard the old saying 'don't bring a knife to a gun fight.'

Well how about a bat? Apparently, that doesn't work too well either - just ask 22-year-old Derrick Mosley.

Sheriff's deputies say Mosley walked into Discount Gun Sales in Oregon, USA, around 4pm Thursday with a bat in hand and smashed a display case.

But they say when Mosley tried to steal a gun, the store manager simply pulled out his own personal firearm and pointed it straight at the would-be-robber. The manager then yelled some orders at the guy and got him to drop the baseball bat, the gun he had tried to take and a nine-inch long knife he had on him.

When sheriff's deputies arrived, they found Mosley on the floor being held at gunpoint by the manager. They handcuffed Mosley on the spot and took him into custody. Bail was set at $250,000.

GUY TRIES TO ROB A GUN STORE WITH BASEBALL BAT, FAILS MISERABLY
The 5 key facts of a story:

WHO - who was involved?
WHAT - what did they do?
WHERE - where did it take place?
WHEN - when did it take place?
HOW - how did it happen?
GUY TRIES TO ROB A GUN STORE WITH
BASEBALL BAT, FAILS MISERABLY

WHO - Derrick Mosley (22)
WHAT - Arrested because he tried to rob a gun store with a baseball bat
WHERE - Oregon, USA
WHEN - 4pm, Thursday
HOW - When Mosley smashed cabinet and demanded a gun, the owner pulled his own weapon and made Mosely surrender. He was then arrested.

'DANCING BURGLAR': TEENAGE CRIMINAL'S DANCE MOVES GAVE HIM AWAY, POLICE SAY.




Police in Texas, have been able to identify a burglary suspect thanks to security camera footage that captured the man busting out "signature" dance moves.

Police released the video which shows a young man briefly chatting with others before performing a short dance routine, which allowed them to identify a possible suspect.

They say the 16-year-old suspect is known for his 'swag,' or signature dance move, because he does it in the hallways at school.

The footage was captured between 8pm and 9pm on March 27, when three men broke into a vehicle owned by a river tours company "Duck Tours". The other two possible suspects have been identified through photographs taken at the scene.

WHO - 16-year-old burglary suspect
WHAT - Identified by his 'signature' dance moves
WHERE - Duck Tours, Texas
WHEN - Between 8pm and 9pm on March 27
HOW - Was caught on CCTV performing a short dance routine. He was one of three suspects who broke into a vehicle owned by tour company Duck Tours and let off a fire extinguisher before escaping with it.


Put the Who and What in the opening sentence (keep it short and to-the-point).

Explain Where and When it happened in your next line and maybe add in a little more detail (but not too much).

Use your final paragraph to explain the How - all the relevant information you haven't yet included.
A burglar may have given away his identity because of his 'signature' dance moves.

CCTV caught him dancing at the Duck Tours tour company, Texas, between 8pm and 9pm on March 27.

Police say the 16-year-old suspect is known for doing the signature dance in his school halls. He is one of three people suspected of breaking into a Duck Tours vehicle.

The other suspects were identified by photographs taken at the scene.





There was little to disguise what these two had been up to moments before police pulled them over.

Would-be burglars Matthew McNelly and Joey Miller's masterplan had one tiny flaw --their 'disguises' comprised of masks drawn on their faces with permanent marker pen.

American police stopped their car after a witness reported two men 'with painted faces' were trying to break into a flat in Carroll, Iowa in October 2009.

The caller added that the pair were wearing dark, hooded tops and had driven off in a big white car.

Police soon spotted a 1994 Buick Roadmaster matching the description and stopped it at gunpoint.

Inside they found the two men, both of whom had what appeared to be masks, beards or moustaches scrawled on to their faces.

McNelly, 23, and Miller, 20, were both charged with attempted second-degree burglary and released on bail.
MARKED BURGLARS

WHO - Would-be burglars Matthew McNelly and Joey Miller
WHAT - Tried to disguise themselves by drawing masks on their faces with permanent marker.
WHERE - Carroll, Iowa
WHEN - October 2009
HOW - Police stopped their car after someone reported two men with painted faces trying to break into a flat. They were charged with second degree burglary and released on bail.
A pair of bungling burglars who disguised themselves by drawing masks on their faces in permanent marker failed to fool police.

Matthew McNelly and Joey Miller were arrested in Carroll, Iowa in October 2009.

Police stopped their car after someone reported two men with painted faces trying to break into a flat. They were charged with second degree burglary and released on bail.

Your task:

Turn the 'Bungling Burglars' story into a NIB. It must be 100 words or less.

When you have completed the work, save it to your OneDrive profile and print out a copy for Chris.

Remember:

Put the Who and What in the opening sentence. Next comes the Where and When. Finally, you have the How and any extra information you can fit in (if you feel it's relevant).

Introducing NIBs
Guy tries to rob a gun store with a baseball bat, fails miserably
Dancing Burglar: Teenage criminal's dance moves gave him away, police say
Turning the 5 key facts into a NIB
Mark of stupidity: Burglary suspects drew masks and beards on their faces using permanent marker pen
Re-write
Using what you have just learned, make a second draft of your story. This will be the final draft of your 'Bungling Burglars' nib.

Full transcript