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Transcript of Journalism 101
The lead is designed to capture the reader's attention and should answer the questions of what happened, who was involved, when it happened, and where.
In the middle writers back up the lead - providing more information as to how and why something occurred.
The end of a news article doesn't need to be flashy - it's best to end simply when you've run out of important information. Much online blogging deals solely with opinion writing. In a traditional newspaper, editorials express the opinions of the paper, while op-eds (also called opinions) express the opinions of individual writers.
Opinion pieces should follow the same rules of news-gathering and reporting as in a straight news story. As you're writing, remember that you are trying to make the strongest case possible, and the best way to do so is with the facts. Feature writing is based on a longer format than a traditional article or blog post, giving you more room to experiment.
Features usually begin with a delayed lead that is more anecdotal and descriptive. Often the real lead doesn't come until the second or third paragraph - this is known as the 'nut graf'.
The 'nut graf' explains the opening anecdote and puts it in a broader context, letting the reader know what the rest of the story will be about. Now that you know how to write an article, what can you do to make the presentation more interesting?
Firstly, don't forget to give your article a snappy title!
Secondly, videos and photos can be used to highlight lead articles and help tell stories with more than just words. In online content, these are often left to stand alone. This can be particularly useful for interviews and events reporting.
Don't hesitate to use outlets like Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook to promote your writing and that of others. What are these front pages and websites doing to catch your eye? “Top state school students wary of elite universities” Poor advice and a lack of confidence means high-achieving state school students are far less likely to apply to the most selective universities than their privately-educated counterparts, according to research jointly commissioned by the Sutton Trust and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. - The Guardian, 15 November 2012 So what does a good lead look like? The report finds that many state school students regretted that they hadn't been more ambitious when they applied to university. It says fears about living costs and a lack of information had prevented them from aiming higher.
Sir Peter Lampl, chair of the Sutton Trust, says the research, which surveyed over 13,000 young people who gained at least three Bs at A-level, reveals "a group of bright students who need extra support and encouragement to make the right decisions".
While course content was the most important factor determining students' choice of university, researchers say high achievers who chose not to apply to the most selective universities were more concerned about living costs, distance from home and job prospects than an institution's prestige. “Top state school students wary of elite universities” And then what do you write next? What do the police actually do? There’s an assumption by most sentient (ie, TV-watching) beings that they should be either out catching murderers or collaring hoodies who heave stones through old ladies’ windows. The police themselves will tell you they still waste far too much time ticking boxes and filling in forms.
A new study by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC)--whose respected head, Sir Denis O’Connor, retires on Sunday--suggests that frontline police do, in fact, spend about 80% of their time on activities related to crime, however tangentially. But they should focus more on preventing crime, it concludes, not just huffing up to the scene afterwards. That this should need saying, nearly 200 years after Robert Peel pronounced crime prevention the central task of policing, is a story in itself. - The Economist, 28 September 2012 Can you spot the real lead? "Bobbies on the beat" So what do you do now? What you've learned today aren't hard rules, but only guidelines. As you write more you'll find your own voice and learn what works for you. The best thing to remember is that practice makes perfect!
If you'd like to test out your new skills, why not submit something to the 99 Percent Campaign? Articles, videos, photos, and ideas from young people can be submitted online to: firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you! By IARS and the 99PercentBlog.org Some general writing resources to check out: New York Times Campus Weblines http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/specials/weblines/index.html
Youth and Media
Reporters Without Borders
http://en.rsf.org/ Interviewing, photo and video resources: Robert Greenman’s Guidelines for Reporting http://www.hsj.org/Journalism_101/index.cfm?requestAction=goMenuContent&menu_id=7&CmsPagesID=257
Essential Questions for Feature Writing (PDF)
The Big Picture
Mashable’s complete guide to videoblogging
Mashable’s journalists guide to YouTube