Monthly Archives: October 2019

Wednesday, 02 Oct 2019

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Verify or Duck

Verify all details you didn’t witness yourself. Don’t repeat unconfirmed claims.

Details matter. Journalists like to include the brand of the beer, the make and model of the car, and the name and breed of the dog.

Most stories won’t suffer too much if the reporter ducks an occasional minor detail. But without verified details, you don’t have journalism. If you do your job as a journalist — interviewing multiple sources and corroborating their claims — then you should encounter plenty of viewpoints with overlapping details that that line up.

Once when I shared the journalism catchphrase “verify or duck,” some of my students laughed because they thought I said “verify your duck.”

If the story holds together without the iffy parts, great. Don’t even mention the parts you can’t verify. It’s not your job as a reporter to spread “unconfirmed rumors.”

If your entire story depends on one outlier whose unique claim nobody can confirm, you don’t have a story.

Verify or Duck

My journalism students just gave me this wristband: "What would Jerz do? / Verify or duck."

Friday, 04 Oct 2019

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EoJ Ch6

Wednesday, 09 Oct 2019

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Active and Passive Verbs

This document will teach you why and how to prefer active verbs over passive verbs.

  • The subject of an active voice sentence performs the action of the verb:  “I throw the ball.”
  • The subject of a passive voice sentence is still the main character of the sentence, but something else performs the action: “The ball is thrown by me.

Active and Passive Voice (Why to Prefer Active Verbs)

You may choose to learn about active and passive verbs by reading this text handout, or clicking through this slideshow a goggles-for-brains Lego minifig.

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EoJ Ch7

Friday, 11 Oct 2019

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Links for Workshop

Inverted Pyramid

Invisible Observer

Newswriting Checklist

Writing the Hard News Story

Monday, 14 Oct 2019

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Great Example of Student Journalism

Here’s a news story about what started out as a routine event — an author is invited to a university campus to discuss her book.

Students burn author’s book outside of Eagle Village

(Note that Joe Sixpack won’t know what “Eagle Village” is — that headline is a bit too campus-focused, but otherwise it’s a very well-done article, which includes screenshots of tweets that expand the story.)

Wednesday, 16 Oct 2019

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EoJ Ch8

Friday, 18 Oct 2019

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Portfolio 2

Wednesday, 23 Oct 2019

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EoJ Ch9

Wednesday, 30 Oct 2019

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EoJ Ch10