Writing Assignment: News Story

| February 26, 2019


For this assignment, you will create a news story about a topic that is engaging and newsworthy and that accurately conveys the necessary and appropriate information. News writing requires the use of certain conventions of form and style, but it is also produced in a particular context and set of circumstances. This assignment requires a familiarity with the formal conventions of news writing (headline, inverted pyramid, leads, AP style) and also requires you to work within the contextual confines of news production (timeliness, deadlines). Your news story should be between 350 and 400 words in length. This assignment is worth 40 points in total.

You should write this story as if for the UIC News, the university newspaper. Your audience is the UIC community. Your story should be about something that concerns UIC students. These questions may help to get started:

· What’s happening on or around campus?

· What’s important?

· What do UIC students want to know about?

· What should UIC students know about? What do they not know about that they should?

· What is happening in and around my community, the campus, or the city that is newsworthy?

Your assignment is to come up with a story that is newsworthy. Research your story and have at least three qualified sources. Sources are people interviewed and quoted in the story. They must be relevant to the story topic, and do not include family members, friends or classmates. Sources need to be appropriate to the story subject — no random interviewing to meet the required number of sources for a story. All sources must be identified by first and last name as well as by title and/or job description. Include a list of your sources with contact information (phone number, email address) at the end of your story.

You want to use vivid, direct quotations and paraphrases from sources to help them tell your story. Write your story and include both a headline and one digital photo that you took (with a cutline) that are relevant to the story. Include your photo at the end of your story.

Tips for success

Newsworthiness – Remember, in order for a story to be newsworthy it must adhere to one or more news values: impact, timeliness, prominence, proximity, conflict, human interest and currency.

Timeliness – Consider the due date to be the day of publication. That means you want your story to cover something that is happening (or has happened) as close to that date as possible – old news isn’t news.

Timing – Sound like a lot to do in a short time? It is. The news business is subject to intense deadlines and competitive time pressures. This is why the conventions of news writing are so important: they make things simpler, easier and faster. Adhere to the conventions we discussed in class, especially the conventions of simplicity, clarity, coherence and context.

Requirements at a glance

· Write a story appropriate to your audience and assignment

· 350-400 words, include a photo

· Follow the instructions in the syllabus regarding the format of writing assignments

· Upload final draft to Blackboard

· Bring four hard copies of your draft to class on the dates the draft copies are due (one for the instructor, three for peer editing)

Peer Edits

The process of writing/rewriting is crucial to success as a writer in the mass media. On the day your draft is due, we will use the entire class period to peer edit and talk through your rough drafts. As Copyeditor, you act as the grammar and style expert and edit your classmates’ stories, noting any grammatical, stylistic or factual errors. This includes completeness: Are the names spelled correctly? Are the dates, times and numbers written in AP style? Are any necessary supporting details or facts missing? Do not return a clean copy to the Writer. The Writer will need to see what changes you have made.


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