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Wait a minute, the writers actually got off their butts and went somewhere?

"Steve Zadig’s auto racing career had never been higher, but his passion for the sport had never been lower."

"But the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department’s massive budget deficit soon will leave Cadwell with one fewer crewmember to care for the trees—with more layoffs likely in the future."
--on-the-spot assignments

When I was reading these articles, I was very confused as to why we were reading them because they looked like profile pieces, which we've already covered. They definitely didn't feel like they were about "events," but people. It was only when I skimmed through the articles again that I found the parts that mentioned a specific event where the reporter was. So it seems to me like these articles are only technically "on-the-spot" articles; the reporter going to an actual place seems more like an excuse to find out about larger situations. That's probably the most interesting way to do on-the-spot assignments; if you could find a really specific and person-centered way to write about a sports event, that's way better than writing about the game in a general, abstract way. That's why the auto racing article was especially interesting; I hardly noticed that the writer went to an actual race because the story about Zadig was so much more engrossing. The contradiction in the lead is fantastic and really sums up what the article's going to be about in a way that draws the reader in instead of telling them exactly what's coming so they don't feel the need to read further. I don't know if I'll be able to take such a personal approach to my coverage of an event, but it sure would be cool if I did. I think you need to be lucky enough to find people who want to talk and have an interesting story to tell.

Comments (5)

Derek Tickle:

I think that this entire will be my reflection!! I had not thought about the articles being about people instead of events of happenings. It almost seemed to me that I could imagine the reporter or news writer standing at the park or raceway and interviewing someone before that Nascar 500 race or the next meeting for tree preservation. I think that when an article talks about someone, involving some emotion and personality, then the reader will find it more interesting or informative. And finally, yes, you need to find people that say more than two words, but want to speak to you because of the importance of the event instead of because they "have to." Great Job, Matt!

Derek Tickle:

Here is my reflection based on my reading of your blog entry: An Article with a Connection

That's a great distinction, Matt. Just because the story contains spot reporting doesn't mean that the only research happened on that spot. The spot localizes and concretizes an issue that has much greater implications.

Derek Tickle:

I think that, both, Dr. Jerz and Matt make great connections with the articles. Spot reporting is something new to me, but it makes sense that a lot of the information is obtained on site and the rest is produced at the studio or news room. I used free dictionary.com and found a definition about spot reporting and how it affects a "current situation" and is not simply news, but also informative facts and information that can change an event or situation. Link: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/spot+report

Matt Henderson:

Having done my spot news assignment, I really agree with what you said about finding people who want to talk to you, Derek. People usually don't like being put on the spot by reporters, especially if they're not connected to the event in any official way. When I covered the Fontana Fest, I found the people who were volunteering at the booths were pretty enthusiastic about their organization and wanted to talk to me, but the spectators at the festival were much less enthusiastic and had a hard time finding interesting things to say. This reinforces the idea that spot news is much better when the reporter does additional research other than showing up at the event they're covering. You never know who you'll meet at the event and how quoteworthy they will be.

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