Backwards and Forwards

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"The inverted pyramid is at war with the narrative tradition" pg 289 ABNW

I never though of it that way. Writitng a news story is like writing a narrative tale backwards. The denoumnet has occured, and our job as journalists is to explain why everything happened. Reading a play backwards reveals the reason for events, and so articles do for crimes and world events. Also, we Americans have a short attention span due to increased tv watching and easy access internet blurbs. We are constantly busy, in a rush and often do not have the luxury of sitting down and reading a full page article. The inverted pyramid technique suits our fast paced lifestyle. The top of a story is deft and pointed; it just points backwards.

The fill in the blank style of journalistic writing is one thing that severely bores me about the profession. We fall into habits. There are several alternatives to the hackneyed style, like the Metal to Bone narrative articles Hull wrote. They incorporated 2 different english discplines, creative writing and journalism.

I am one of those reporters that does not do what she is told. I get an assignment with a list of people to contact. More often than not, those contacts do not prove useful at all. Then it is up to me to find alternatives, to not let the assigment fall by the wayside. If my article sucks, it is not my editor's fault. There is always a way to fix a problem. Over thanksgiving break, I racked my brain trying to find interesting angles for my first semester freshmen article. Asking around to various people, I discovered some interesting stories about freshman dorm life. There is no waiting around. People hardly ever com to you and say "can you interview me for your article?'

The most tedious part of the journalism process is sifting through the minutes upon minutes of interview files. Often, only a couple of sentences are useable, the rest just in between chatter or information I already know. When I am speaking to a person, there is what I like to call the "light-bulb moment": an unusual anecdote that I know will make my story interesting and newsworthy (ex. my sister's "pill drawer" story).

My schedule as a double major does not permit me a lot of free time. Every free second I have is spent doing hw: I am ashamed to admit that I have never revised an article of mine. Because of this class, I now know my flaws as a journalist and need to revise. I do not want to make the same mistake of using profanities or giving credit to a person for another person's work.

The use of the active tense allows the reader to be tranported into the sidelines of th event. live actione enthralls, and we all need a little excitemnet in our lives.

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1 Comments

Dani, you are an excellent example of someone who is taking her education seriously. You have been very candid about admitting your mistakes. Actors who are good still have to rehearse if they want to convey their natural talent into professionalism, and the same goes for writers.

"Take every knock as a boost / Every stumbling block as a stepping stone." (Lyrics from a gospel hymn my kids were listening to this weekend as part of a music appreciation class.)

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