« A headline that's not a headline | Main | Jeff Goldblum Has Died (We think) »

Techniques of Tribune Writers

A shorter story that kind of surprised me was "1,200 veterans..." on A5. On page 294, Clark and Scanlan advise to "translate jargon," but the story never makes clear what "ALS" stands for. I'm not sure if that's classified as jargon, but I always assumed abbreviations were supposed to be spelled out at some point. But then again, "GOP," which is on the same page, is something which I never see written out as a full phrase. ALS is a little more obscure, though.
I love the indirect lead (mentioned on page 291 by Clark and Scanlan) of "Ghost enthusiasts..." on B1. It's unique enough that it captures my attention without telling me all the major details upfront. The element of warning ghost enthusiasts to keep away from a place gave that place sort of a mystique. In fact, this is the kind of story that, to me, became less interesting the further on it went. I wanted there to be something horrifying inside the hospital that the police want people to keep away from. When it turned out that one person was caught trespassing, it seemed like kind of a letdown. That's why I think the writer did a good job keeping interest with his selection of quotes, especially from the township ordinance officer. Even without any specific details of his appearance, I could immediately piece together an image of this harried, expasperated local official. Phrases like "thinking they'll see a ghost or something" and "...there are entire Web pages devoted to it. But I don't know" really give you a sense of his character. The writer could have just left out the "I don't know", but the fact that he kept those little quirky bits in made the story more fun to read, despite the sort of anticlimactic ending.
Link to the Newswriting course website

Comments (1)

Jennifer Prex:

I agree that the "Ghost enthusiasts" article was well done. The quotes and details were included in such a way that kept the article interesting. I wonder if part of the reason more is expected is because it almost seems like this article could be turned into a suspense story. In a story, there would be more. But this is an article. All that can be included are facts.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 25, 2009 7:24 PM.

The previous post in this blog was A headline that's not a headline.

The next post in this blog is Jeff Goldblum Has Died (We think).

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.