When writing a news story it’s important to give it the attention that its worth. Its not always true that a longer story is better then a shorter one as long as the details are accurate and it is well written. Making sure the readers are able to acquire the information through the story is just as important as the accuracy. The type of story should also dictate the way it is written and way information is gathered. If the story mandates that it be written with a narrative feel then beginning with a descriptive opening is an excellent start to set the scene. Keeping the reader hooked can be achieved by creating word pictures for the reader.
Avoiding cliches can be tricky due to their widespread fame. While it may seem appealing to use a coined term to add familiarity to the story, however due to these being widely used and known readers grow tired of reading them. This can cause the reader to feel as if the story is not important to them and will likely cause them to grow dis-interested in reading the story entirely. Use of business jargon should also be avoided to lessen confusion among readers and to better describe the events taking place. Action verbs should also be used in place of “There is” to help bring a larger impact to the story.
Filak and Knight bring large amounts of insight into the world of media writing with these chapters with tips for new and old writers alike.
In chapter 4 Filak talks about the structure of a news article, specifically expanding the inverted pyramid. If journalist have a quick and easy structure to write news pieces then they can write them faster. And news is all about writing and getting the news out as fast and accurately as we can. I like the inverted pyramid model, it is a great model to grab the readers attention and keeping them throughout the entire article.
In chapter 8 Knight discusses the problems with cliches and why they are unnecessary for journalistic writing. Knights main point is that they add no value to the sentence, they are just there to emphasize something you already know. Knight thinks that using cliches is theft and that it should be avoided. I agree with Knight, I think that journalistic writing should be as quick and to the point as possible.
In Chapter 9 Knight talks about red-flag words. These words can be common in everyday talk but Knight thinks you should eliminate them as much as you can in writing. Words like “that” and “feel” take away impact and offer nothing to the reader. These red-flag words offer nothing to the story, just more words to get in the way of the point.
I find myself using a lot of the cliches talked about with Knight. Reading the way they should or could be written instead is very helpful for my future writings. I feel as if i use them so much sometimes because of trying to fit a word count or try to make my story more “juicy” when in reality it makes it harder to read looking back at my writings.
Reading about the no no words we should not be using in our writing is a big eye opener for me because I use those words a lot in my writings. Reading about the word “very” and “that” and how they shouldn’t be used in certain ways is interesting. I like the part talking about the word “very” and how it says to not tell the reader how to think. I like that way of thinking and find it interesting to not use the word. I never realized the word “very” could possibly have people trying to get the reader to think the way they do.
Knowing information about the topic you’re about to write about is very important. Having a sense of what you’ll be covering is a good way to have an idea of how to write your paper. Reading previous stories, documents and even official websites is a good start to do research on the topic. I agree with Filak on that. Getting facts ahead of time before an interview or on scene coverage is important because it may help you ask the person more questions or help you focus on one part of the topic you may want to focus on.
Reading about how to keep your beat in reporting is very helpful. I think reading about your interviewee before you interview them would be helpful to keep your conversation going. If it is a topic about an environment or something, still doing research on the area of topic would still be helpful in my opinion.
In chapter 8, Knight talks about avoiding cliché phrases and words like “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” The reader will probably roll his or her eyes and tune out the rest of the story. Slang also falls under this category. Slang can often be oxymoronic and doesn’t really add any meaning to the story. To Knight, jargon equals lazy writing. Also, not everyone knows legal, business, or other jargon that writers might use in their stories.
In chapter 9, Knight talks about “no-nos” in writing. Many adjectives that describe events can fall under this category. When a writer starts describing something as “striking” or “exciting,” for example, he or she starts to write subjectively. It is the reader’s job to decide for himself how the event makes him feel. The word “feel” can be red flag as well. We have deemed this word to be synonymous with “think” or “believe,” but feeling has more to do with emotions or physical touch than it does the brain believing something.
In chapter 4, Filak talks about sentence structure. He mentions a bridge paragraph, which is exactly what it sounds like. Like a bridge in music fuses two verses together seamlessly, a bridge paragraph fuses two separate paragraphs together seamlessly.
Filak 4, Knight 8 & 9
Filak talks about not falling into a comfort zone with tools, this resonated with me not using voice memos to conduct interviews. I have always written notes and miss some of the words that are critical for me getting correct information. It’s hard to describe the narrative “in my minds eye” while keeping it short sweet and simple.
Words, phrases and quotes can become stale, Words that are often overused, mostly clichés, imply that the writer was being lazy. You don’t use the cliché just because it fits – there is almost always a better way to say something.
I agree the writer should always take a chance for revision, but readers are not judging every word so minutely, asking if it belongs. They only get critical when they see red flags. Removing the word “located” would not have been caught or thought of by the reader unless they were looking at it with a journalistic mindset. Many of the words considered “no-no’s” are not sounding alarms because they are used in everyday speech.
In chapter 7 Filak talks about knowing your sources and checking over your work. I think it is important to always go over your work, because everyone makes mistakes. It doesn’t matter if you are the best in the world at something you will still make some mistakes. Even Tom Brady throws an interception every now and then, so no one is perfect. It is also important to know the topic you are talking about. In Journalism you never know what subject you could be talking about and it’s impossible to know everything so you will always have to do research. If you start talking about something you don’t understand it will just make you look dumb and no one wants that.
In Chapter 8 goes in depth about beat reporting, Beat reporting allows journalist to focus in a specific field allowing them to become excerpts in what they are reporting. These different beats can be in areas like sports and politics or can even be beats in areas like a whole major city. This allows for the journalist to talk about things that interest them and even become a spokesperson for the topic.