Solid Tips to Write Solid News Articles

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From “Setonian Copy-editing Tips”:

“A news story doesn’t need a conclusion.  It should be written so that the bottom of the story can be chopped off at any time.” 

This was not actually a shocking realization to me, since we have already read several times about the importance of the inverted pyramid.  However, it provides a unique challenge.  As a news writer, we have to provide appropriate closer at the end of every paragraph, yet not make the closure too final.  This is a real challenge for me.  Finding a way to make it clear the article is over without using a conclusion. 

Now for the corrections of the following sentences:

1. Assistant News Editor, Anne O'Nymous read the article. 

                There should not be a comma between Assistant News Editor and Anne.  Therefore, the sentence should read as, “Assistant News Editor Anne O’Nymous read the article.” 

 2. She was highly appreciated by Jameson for solving the problem. "I really appreciate her work ethic and problem-solving ability," said Jameson.

                Too redundant, the quote says the same thing as the sentence before.  It could be simplified to, “Jameson said, ‘I really appreciate her work ethic and problem-solving ability.’”   

 3. Spunky Inkworthy has only written for The Setonian this year, but Obituaries Editor, Lazarus O'Mortigan, was very complimentary towards Spunky's contributions.

                Very long and clunky and too many clauses, it is confusing for the reader. The comma between Obituaries Editor and Lazarus is also not necessary, as Obituaries Editor is part of a formal title. Also, the word choice of “only” seems too subjective to me.  It could be reworded as, “Spunky Inkworthy joined The Setonian this year as a writer, Obituaries Editor Lazarus O’Mortigan was complimentary of her contributions.”

 

 4. In a telephone call from Head Librarian Marian Paroo, she discussed Inkworthy's contributions.

                This is awkward in general.  I’m assuming the reporter called Marian Paroo and not vice versa, so “from” would not be the correct preposition.  Also, how the reporter got information from Paroo is not really relevant to the story.  And also the sentence leaves the reader who just skimmed the article wondering to what Inkworthy’s contributions where.  Assuming this sentence comes shortly after the one including Lazarus O’Mortigan (in number 3), one could instead say, “Head Librarian Marian Paroo concurred that Inkworthy has made contributions to The Setonian.” 

5. "Here is a quote", said Bill Jones freshman.

                First, the comma should certainly not be outside of the quotation mark.  Second, it is best to introduce who the quote is from before you give the quote.  One revision could be, “Bill Jones, a freshman, said ‘Here is a quote.’” 

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2 Comments

April Minerd said:


I agree, closing without typical closure isn't an easy adjustment. The open-ended aspect is my least favorite part of this writing style. Knowing whatever remains near the bottom could easily disappear before publication makes those last few paragraphs all possible end markers. This means it's necessary, as you said, to provide a potential closer in those paragraphs.

Richelle Dodaro said:

I agree, Greta. I think it's also a challenge is because we've been used to writing conclusions in our English papers. It's definitely going to be a little different.

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