I’m working on a blog post writing question and need a sample draft to help me study.
Your assignment: On a college campus, one of the most important responsibilities a student-run campus newspaper has is reporting on what’s happening around campus — events, opportunities, accomplishments. In a hyper-local community, these are the kinds of common news that may not matter to anyone off-campus, but newspaper coverage of these happenings can mean everything to the local people involved.
For today’s Reporting Practice, you are going to write a PREVIEW story about an event that is upcoming on Albion’s campus. Perhaps a speaker is visiting (virtually), an organization is hosting a socially distanced activity, or a sports team is traveling to an important competition. Your job is to answer all the questions readers might have about that event in an informative way, without sharing your opinions about the event. To do so, you will conduct at least one interview for background information that readers may not already have.
- Conduct ONE INTERVIEW with a REAL person. (This is a fake person, use fake quotes, it could be the albion women’s lacrosse coach, but you are not actually reaching out to her) Your job with this interview is to go beyond the information readily available to the public and learn a little more about the event that is coming up. Your interviewee, then, might be someone who is in charge of organizing the event or someone who is a featured guest at the event. And your interview will dig into the background, such as why is this event happening, how do the organizers feel about the event as it’s coming together, what are the organizers’ goals, how will they know if the event is successful, what do they want potential attendees to know in advance, and what challenges (especially in pandemic times) have they faced in arranging this event. This is an opportunity for you to practice your interview skills by asking questions in search of both FACTS and PERSPECTIVE.
- Include quotes (likely a mix of direct, indirect/paraphrase, and partial quotes) from your interview. Be sure to transcribe, quote, punctuate, and attribute the words and ideas of your interviewee accurately, fairly, and responsibly.
- Answer as many as possible of the 5W+H questions as you can, as efficiently as you can. This is an informative article, so you want to give readers as much detailed information as you can, without going down any rabbit holes. You may also choose to focus on one or more of the FOCII elements of newsworthiness, and you should avoid including your own opinion — focus on the news. Your job is NOT to encourage readers to attend or to explain how exciting the event will be; your job is to provide information the reader would not otherwise have access to.
- Write in FUTURE tense, except when quoting. Since this event is happening in the future, you will need to describe what “will” happen. The only exception is when you are reporting on your interviews (and possibly other research), which has happened in the past, so your interview subject “said” or the flyer “stated,” in past tense.
- Write a clear headline that is vivid (tempting), accurate, fair, efficient, and appropriate for the tone of the article, according to the guidelines we’ve discussed in class.
You will demonstrate your awareness of reader interests, conversational interviewing techniques, accurate and responsible quoting, news reporting, and headline-writing.
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