Finding story ideas for your TV news presentation

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Journalists often have to seek a certain amount of inspiration for in their job. Writing stories to fit the news format often requires creativity as well as skill to find a fresh (or alternatively a new angle) on a topic, that is engaging, concise and that will entertain your target audience.

In the previous lesson many students were still in the process of brainstorming ideas for their TV news presentation assignment. Below is a list (somewhat paraphrased from wikiHow) of ideas and tricks of the trade for finding story ideas for your assignment.

  1. Listen to everyone, from co-workers, friends and family, to the chit-chat in the doctor’s office.
  2. Talk to experts in their field and ask them what their largest challenge is.
  3. Browse bulletin boards in your community.
  4. Think seasonal, as every publication does holiday-related and weather-related stories.
  5. Take a national topic and localise it with quotes and information from relevant local sources.
  6. Keep your eyes open for new business signs.
  7. Read other publications, including newspapers, magazines and popular websites, and borrow topics and ideas.
  8. Check out newsletters or blogs that cater to a niche audience if you are writing for a specific market.
  9. Keep track of anniversary dates.
  10. Flip through a university course catalog.
  11. Consider reviewing a product or service.
  12. Mine social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to find out what people are talking about.
  13. Set up a Google Alerts on a specific industry or topic.
  14. Use your own personal experiences to come up with story ideas for news writing.
  15. Subscribe to your alumni newsletter or the newsletter from the college where you live.
  16. Go back through old stories and notes and see if there’s anything you didn’t use that could spark a new story.
  17. Keep public relations officials in your inner circle and read the press releases they send out.
  18. Check out websites that track trends in all sorts of areas such as business, lifestyle, fashion and others (e.g Buzzfeed, Gawker Media, Reddit)

Please remember that I ask that students submit their drafts at the beginning of next week in Lesson 1/2 Monday (Week 3) and that your completed copy of Task 4 is due on Wednesday 5th November (Week 4).

TV news presentation

Some interesting discussion on TV news presentation from the BBC College of Journalism. Each lecture focuses on six aspects of TV news presentation: Tone, Voice, Emphasis, Breathing, Style, Speed and Pace.

These discussions will be helpful for when you present Part D of Task 4!

A Close Study of Feature Writing

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As this style of writing is the culmination of a process of investigation by a journalist on an issue (as well the requirements outlined in the criteria of Task 3) we can expect certain important elements to be present in feature writing reporting:

1) careful considered explanation of the issue and problems

2) how it impacts on the community and individuals

3) some background information to the problem

4) reference to several informed sources of information citing the names of interviewees and relevant organisations

5) discussion that reveals differing points of view on the issue to provide a balance

6) use of significant direct quotation from your sources

7) balancing of writer’s analysis with the quotation

8) setting out of quotation can vary somewhat from hard-news reporting style – see examples

9) variation in the length of paragraphs

10) use of rhetorical questions is OK – but don’t overdo it

11) use of poetic devices – e.g. striking imagery and dramatic language – see example

12) a catchy clever headline

13) appropriate structure – with engaging introduction and conclusion that in some clever way uses headline idea or a ‘grab’ from an interviewee or source of information

14) ‘break-up’ the body of the text with a short ‘grab’ from a quotation or other source of information

In the lesson today (Wednesday 15th October) and for homework you will receive two samples of feature writing. Read and analyse each article and respond to the questions in your workbooks.

You will also receive your next summative assignment Task 4 on TV News Scripting and Presentation.