The Knight chapter came as a nice review of what we discussed in class before the break, although with a different context. I was reminded of why we don’t use anything but “said” for attributions, and learned the few cases where it’s okay. I realize I often mention being an English major and a writing tutor in these, but those use some of the same skills that this class needs: clear, honest communication. It was a good little refresher.
The Filak chapter, on the other hand. I am tired of being told the importance of critical thinking skills. I grew up in the gifted program, so critical thinking skills have been shoved into my skull since first grade. I am well aware of them, thank you very much. I can discern what is and isn’t helpful for a story, what to put in or take out that creates the best picture for the reader. I understand the importance and everyone’s education differs. There are things some people weren’t taught that you were, and it’s important to meet the needs of all students. But critical thinking is as easy as breathing for me, and it’s been put on a pedestal my whole life and I’m tired.
Overgeneralizing and assumption writing are dangerous in journalism. Generalizing everything can come off as rude and makes it seem like the writer doesn’t know much of what they’re talking about. Knight touches on how important it is for journalist to research what they’re writing about and to know facts about the story before going into the interview. Research is helpful as to not look uneducated when interviewing the subject or writing about the breaking story.
Filak’s second chapter is all about thinking critically and how beneficial it can be. It seems a bit weird for someone to teach you how to think, but critical thinking and understanding is necessary in journalism and in every day life. Thinking in a critical sense helps a person better understand material and enables them to pull on that critical thought to be able to apply it later.
Writing honest material is what I strive for as a writer and having true content is what look for in other’s. With anybody able to publish whatever content they want as biased as they want now, it can be hard to know what’s fact and what’s fiction. I know how tempting it can be to overexaggerate or over emphasize details to try and make the story sound more interesting, but Knight cautions in his seventh chapter that doing so can be damaging to the story and to your own credibility as a journalist. It can subject your work to only being seen as tall-tales for entertainment. I find there’s nothing wrong with having a style of writing, as long as what you’re saying is true and not blown out of proportion.
The fact about humans having a shorter attention span than goldfish is a bit sad, but as a person who gets distracted fairly easy and always has her head in the clouds, I know how important it is to start a story off strong and to keep it strong in order to keep the audience reading what you have written.
Knight and Filak both touch on the importance of knowing the audience you are writing for and how to keep your audience reading what you have written. I think it is very important to know how to capture an audience and how to start off with a good lede.
The words infotainment and demolisticals from Filak’s are new words for me and I’m still unsure as to what demolistical means, but I find them both interesting words and might be worth looking further in to.
Knowing how to decipher what is newsworthy and what is not is very important so you can avoid just spitting out facts.
With all the different ways to get your news nowadays, it can be hard to know what is fact and what is just fan fiction, and knowing where your sources are coming from – whether writing or reading – are important so you can be sure you are receiving the most accurate and truth-filled story possible.
I wish Knight talked more on photojournalism than just that one paragraph because it is something I’m very much interested in, but I understand this is a journalistic writing book and not a photjournalism book.
Overall, interesting chapters and can’t wait to see what’s next. I might learn some more new words
I can appreciate Knight’s approach to lede building. There are plenty of examples and points made to steer the reader in the right direction. Perhaps an infographic would have helped since so many are accustomed to the reverse pyramid method. Overall, chapter three was somewhat helpful and certainly dog-eared in my book for future reference.
Filak’s Basics of Writing chapter is formatted a bit easier for the visual reader. It is complete with color marking and short succinct lede examples that are easy to follow. I also appreciate the commentary from Janelle Cogan and her “digestible bites” explanation.
“Yours is the work that has shown viewers and your colleagues would can be done.”
(Silently judging your grammar)
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.
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.