Category Archives: Reading Response

Anatomy of a Journalism Story -OOPS

“Yours is the work that has shown viewers and your colleagues would can be done.”

(Silently judging your grammar)

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Lede or No Followers: Reading Response 4

A strong lede makes for a strong story and Filak and Knight both emphasize on how important a strong lede is. The lede is the most important part of any story and gives insight into what the story is about. It starts the story off and must flow to tell what’s happening next. The authors believe a lede should grab the attention of the audience and a good lede makes the readers want more and to continue reading. Whenever I write, I try to open with something fun or clever or something that will catch the reader’s eye, but I never get any feedback, so I could just be doing my opening statements all wrong my entire life and will never know it.

Whenever I have to write a lede (or in my case, an introduction paragraph) for an academic English paper, I often struggle to figure out how I am going to start my essay. I often get so frustrated with how I am going to start my essay, that I end up skipping the introduction all together moving on to the body paragraphs, but then end up having to scramble together my introduction paragraph at the last minute. Writing a lede is something I’ve never had to do before, so I don’t really know if I am good at it or not. Filak gives a helpful hint on how to build a good lede by focusing on the 5W’s and the 1H of who, what, when, where, why and how and I think keeping those key points in mind when I have to write my first lede will be helpful to me.

RR4

The gist of both of these chapters concerned what makes a good lede. It should be short and to the point while also grabbing the readers’ attention and setting up the story. As an English major used to nearly useless introductory paragraphs that could really just be the thesis, this is very appealing. A good lede is no nonsense and keeps people interested and informed, something much of academic writing lacks.

However, I’m used to writing how I was trained to write, so I’m a bit nervous about our first story coming up. I’ve struggled when a professor has told me not to worry about an introductory paragraph and just start writing. I know I will refer back to both books to polish up and edit my story before turning it in. The examples given in both texts were especially helpful. It’ll be important to keep in mind while setting up my first lede.

RR3

The importance of a good lede is clear. It sets the stage for the rest of the story. But the writer must choose how to write it. They can be direct, often leading to a template style or they can be creative and potentially wait too long to introduce the topic. As Knight makes clear, there is no one right way to write a lede. It depends on the publication, story, and writer themself. However, the writer should do their best to choose the right lede for each story.

If the news is breaking, it might be wise to put most of the information at the very top. But one must make sure that the story is both readable and invites the reader into the rest of the story.

If the news is ongoing, there is plenty of room for creativity. The more legs it grows, the less information the audience needs to know up front. Lead with an anecdote or story that intrigues the reader. It can be easy for the reader to pick up on what the story is about, because they have been reading about it for the last few days, weeks or months. At this point, they might want to slow down and read into the story more than they would have on the first day that the news broke.

There are, of course, plenty of wrong ways to write a lede, but a good writer can often find a use for these methods, if they write with care. Ultimately, it is up to the writer to care about the story. The lede is where they show the reader that they care, because if the writer doesn’t care, then the reader won’t. But if the writer both cares and shows their care up front in the lede, then the reader is far more likely to do the same.

Thanks…But No Interviews for Me! RR3

The thought of having to do an interview terrifies me. Just the thought of having to talk to people in general terrifies. The way the 4th chapter of Knight’s book started out by him telling the story of the time he had to interview President Nixon made the writer more relatable in a sense that we all can choke and that it’s normal to get nervous when doing an interview.

Knight writes how important wording is in your story and how over describing and over complicating your story can ruin the point you are trying to convey. I this found helpful because I always find myself adding in too many unnecessary words trying to make the story sound interesting, but then I go back to read my stuff and it sounds sloppy.

Filak breaks down the questions a good interviewer should consider when interviewing their source. He writes that a good interviewer takes into consideration who the source is and what the purpose of the interview is so the interviewer can write the best and most accurate story possible. I found chapter 6 of his book insightful because ive never had to do an interview before and I think following the steps in his book, and as well as in Knight’s book, could help me to be more concise in my interviews.

After the readings I am still terrified of interviews and still don’t want to do them, but for whenever the day comes that I do have to conduct an interview, the tips and tricks in the two books will definitely help me to feel more confident in my ability to do so.

RR3

Being who I am, I’ve noticed in the syllabus that we have our first article, a profile story, coming up soon. The fact that this week’s reading centered on interviewing and on writing a personality profile confirmed this, and as I read I thought about who I might interview.

I am an English major. I have not conducted an interview since a middle-school project that involved interviewing a war vet that we knew. I have presented at conferences, led discussions, and taught classes before, though, which means I know how to talk to people and to listen, key elements of an interview. However, while reading I remembered being interviewed for class or the Roar by friends who are Mass Comm majors and/or writers for the Roar. The kind of questions they asked were the kinds of questions suggested to ask by both Knight and Filak– opened-ended, specific questions. Asking for their advice or about their experience interviewing, which I plan on doing, will give me a Piedmont-specific context for conducting interviews and creating questions. This will add to what I’ve learned from the readings, especially since they’ve done the types of stories we’re assigned in this class. I’m looking forward to it.

RR#2

I’m not used to journalistic writing, but it’s definitely more my style. All my writing has been academic writing and MLA where the goal is to sound as smart as possible with as many words as possible to meet the page requirements. I’m so used to adding extra words that when I started to learn about journalistic writing, I was relieved on how straight to the point everything could be. “Avoiding Wordiness” in Chapter 5 was definitely a breath of fresh for me in that not everything needs to be long and complicated.

I’ve always been pretty good with deciphering between whether to use “that” or “which”, but when to use “whom”, I never knew. I’ve just always used “who” so I would never misuse “whom” and sound like a pompous snob for using it. I’m still a bit confused on how to use “whom”, but I am getting better at using it.

As far as chapter 6 in using active versus passive voice, I had honestly forgotten about the two. Active voice is definitely more straight to the point – which I like – and it’s more meaningful.

All and all, everything was a great refresher for me and I enjoyed the reading a lot.