News Writing (EL 227)


31 August 2005

WTAE-Pittsburgh Channel 4 TV newscast

Watch the an hour of TV news on WTAE, at 5pm, 6pm, or 11pm, on August 30. I don't have cable TV, and channel 4 is the only one that comes in clearly for me. (If you don't have access to cable TV, and you can't pick up ABC in your area, you may watch a different network -- but make sure it provides you with local news -- CNN won't qualify.)

The 6pm local news is only a half hour long. If you watch it, stick around for World News Tonight.


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Tribune-Review (Aug 30 edition)

Be prepared to discuss all front-page articles; lead editorial; all articles "above the fold" in other sections; one full section of your choosing. Skim through whole paper and read whatever interests you.


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Ex 1: Media Analysis

Choose one local story that appears in the TV broadcast, on the TV station's website, and in the Tribune-Review. Jot down in your notebook a list of all the important differences you notice, and be prepared to talk about them.

Update: Remember, I'm excluding Hurricane Katrina stories from this assignment. (We'll still talk about Katrina, but I want you to probe a bit deeper for this assignment.)
Choose a single observation that you find most striking, and write an informal essay (about 400 words) emphasizing the point that you'd like to talk more about. (Incorporate key terms from the opening lecture.)

Include direct quotations from the sources you cite. Bring two copies of your submission.


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Reporter's Notebook

Read up to page 28 -- it will go fast. Note especially the vocabulary (p8-9). Complete the "Future Book" through December. The "story ideas" (p14-15) are obviously geared towards a younger audience, so come up with some better ideas that fit your peer group. Jot down about 10 ideas, and be prepared to toss out all but your two most original ideas. Be prepared to discuss the "news hook" -- that is, why do people need to read another article on parking woes, alcohol policies, bookstore prices, or cafeteria food? Even a humor column on such overdone topics needs a unique approach (or stellar writing).


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