Writing News Story. Gong Haihua. Bureau of International Cooperation. American professors funded by the Fulbright Scholar Program. Why me?. MA of International News Reporting and Writing, the China School of Journalism, affiliated to the Xinhua News Agency.
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Bureau of International Cooperation
The Writer’s Art
The Nature of News
To begin with the ABCs- accuracy, brevity and clarity.
“ When a dog bites a man, that is not news, because it happens so often. But if a man bites a dog, it’s news.”
– John B. Bogart, editor of the New York Sun
“News is truth that matters.”
– Gerry Goldstein, the Providence Journal
“A news sense is really a sense of what is important, what is vital, what has color and life – what people are interested in. that’s journalism.”
– Burton Rascoe, the Chicago Tribune
The Nature of News
At least ¾ of all stories fall into the categories of impact or importance and the unusual.
The hardest part of all to write. Once you have written your lead, you have 90 percent of the story.
“Every journalist who has ever struggled with a lead knows why it can take so much effort. It is as important to him as to the reader. Writing it concentrates the mind wonderfully, forcing him to decide what in the story is important, what he wants to emphasize, and can eventually give the shape to the rest of the story as he writes it.”
- Henry Fairlie, a news reporter
China's world sports champions go in for auction to help poor.
China's Olympic champion Liu Xiang breaks own record at charity auction.
Hurdler Liu Xiang auctioned his sports shoes bearing his signature on Sunday with some other Chinese world sports champions at a grand charity party to aid the schooling of rural migrant labor's children.
China's Olympic champion hurdler Liu Xiang's track shoes fetched 200,000 yuan (25,000 U.S. dollars) at a charity gala auction in Beijing on Sunday, breaking his own record made at a similar event two weeks ago.
The lead sentence usually contains one idea and follows the subject-verb-object sentences structure for clarity. It should not exceed 35 words.
Usually contains five W’s and an H.
The best lead always attracts the readers to go on with the reading while gives readers the main points of the story.
China's State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) Wednesday ordered health authority of southwest Sichuan Province to thoroughly investigate a food poisoning case occurred last Saturday.
China's food safety watchdog has ordered health authorities to investigate the food poisoning of almost 400 people at a wedding in Sichuan Province at the weekend.
In an effort to prevent abuse of judicial power and fight corruption, China's Supreme People's Court issued a new regulation Wednesday to list a great number of restrictions against court staff, ranging from taking bribery to committing adultery with litigants. (Xinhua)
China has tightened its rules governing law court officials after a former senior judge received a life sentence for corruption, warning staff not to leave the country without approval or have sex with litigants. (Reuters)
How Reporters Think Leads?
The City Council replaced the city’s 75-year-old municipal code with a revised version Tuesday night.
A flash fire that swept through a landmark downtown hotel Saturday killed at least 12 persons, injured 60 more and forced scores of residents to leap from windows and the roof in near-zero cold.
Thirty suspected drug dealers, including a couple about to be married, were arrested at a wedding Friday night.
The wedding guest including drug suspects, the social coordinator was a narcotics agent, the justice of the peace was police chief, and 52 officers were party crashers.
For the unsuspecting bride and groom, the ceremony Friday night was truly unforgettable – a sting operation set up by state and local police that led to 30 arrests.
The Inverted Pyramid
The standard and traditional structure of a news story.
Important elements at the beginning, less important at the end.
To meet the requirements of editing, cut the bottom without losing any key information.
The Wall Street Journal Story Formula
Anecdote: Begin with an example
Explicit statement of theme: The lead (less than 6 para)
Statement of the significance of the theme:
Why should I be reading this?
Details:Proof, elaboration of the theme
Answer to reader’s questions:Why is this happening? What’s being done?
How to continue with the follow-up?
Take yourself as the first reader of your story.
Explanation of lead
Additional explanation of lead
Supporting facts, quotes, incidents,
illustrations and anecdotes
Further supporting facts
The creator of China's largest pornographic website was sentenced to life imprisonment on Wednesday.
Judges at the Taiyuan Intermediate People's Court handed down the sentence to Chen Hui and ordered the confiscation of 100,000 yuan (12,500 U.S. dollars).
Additional info & elaboration. Basically no quotations in this kind of elaboration.
Thieves Get 36 Batteries
Thieves who entered a Charlotte auto parts store stole 36 Delco batteries, police were today yesterday.
Crowell Erskine, 49, manager of the Piedmont Auto Exchange at 410 Atando Ave., told officers the stores was broken into between 5 p.m. Tuesday and 8 a.m. Wednesday by thieves knocking a hole in the rear wall of the one-story brick building.
Erskine said the batteries were valued at $539.18.
-- The Charlotte Observer
– how, when, where, and attribution
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) – Pregnant womenworking at video display terminals less than 20 hours a week face no increased risk of miscarriages, according to the preliminary results of a University of Michigan survey.
More research is needed to determine whether pregnant women who work more than 20 hours have a higher rate of problem pregnancies, scientists said Tuesday.
Further explanation of the lead, stating the limitation of research.
The university studied 728 state employees in Michigan, and results were released Tuesday at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association in Las Vegas.
“These findings should relieve the concern for many women who currently use VDTs at their jobs,” said Professor William J. Butler, who teamed with Professor Kelley Ann Brix, on the study paid for by the March of Dimes.
Always check names
Support for the first paragraph; partial answer to how research was conducted
Of 697 pregnancies reported by part-time employees, there were 145 miscarriages – about what would be expected, the study said.
But of the 120 pregnancies reported by women working more than 20 hours per week, 26 resulted in miscarriages, about 5 percent more than expected, the study showed.
The study looked at the women from the years 1980 to 1985.
Support for the second paragraph
Why is not answered
The Writer’s Art
Flame from the boilers have died away.
Three experts have been sent by the Ministry of Health to look into the outbreak in Shangcheng County of Henan Friday.
The three-day forum started Wednesday was jointly organized by (the) Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
Being his second since assuming office in December last year, Chui delivered the 2011 policy address at the SAR's Legislative Assembly.
Chui delivered the 2011 policy address, his second since assuming office in December last year, at the SAR's Legislative Assembly.
Additives: again, also, and, finally, furthermore, in addition, next, thus, so, moreover, as well…
Contrasts: but, however, nevertheless, instead, on the other hand, otherwise, yet, nonetheless, farther…
Comparisons: likewise, similarly…
Place: adjacent to, beyond, here, near, opposite…
Time: afterwards, in the meantime, later, meanwhile, soon…
Show, do not tell:
I don’t tell; I don’t explain. I show; I let my characters talk for me.-- Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
Not only a maxim in newsrooms, but one basic rule of good writing
Good writers let the words and the actions of their subjects do the work: (A child killed by a sniper)
The grief-stricken parents wept during the funeral.
The parents wept quietly. Mrs Franklin leaned against her husband for support.