Practice makes perfect

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

News writing, just like any other types of writing, takes practice in order to become good at. Brian Steffen, the communications departments chair at Simpson College, said in order to make your writing skills better you need to read more news writing and write more news stories. We all know how to get a hold of news stories, but if it's those stories in class that we are so worried about doing bad on, how do we practice writing to prepare ourselves for that writing?

These different news writing exercises will help enhance your news writing in more ways then one. They will allow you to practice stories of novelty, immediacy, proximity, prominence, conflict, emotional quality, and one with an impact on an audience. The exercises are as follows:

Car Crash: It's 10:30 p.m. You're on the graveyard shift again at the Centerville Gazette and hear some chatter on the police scanner about a car crash out on Highway 32, a road that runs through a rural area of town. It sounds like a big crash so you head to the scene.

Shooting: You're on the graveyard shift at the Centerville Gazette. You phone the cops to see if anything's going on. Lt. Jane Ortlieb of the Centerville Police Department tells you there was a shooting tonight at the Fandango Bar & Grill on Wilson Street in the Grungeville section of the city.

School board meeting: You’re covering a 7 p.m. meeting of the Centerville School Board. The meeting is being held in the auditorium of Centerville High School. The board begins with discussion of ongoing cleanup at McKinley Elementary School; school had experienced water damage during heavy rains and flooding two weeks ago in the city’s Parksburg section, near the Root River.

These are just a few exercises that you can practice. There are many places that offer stories just like these. These are just places to start, but you can practice your journalism skills in order to one day reach their potential.

Photo credit: Josh Hallett, Flickr


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