All posts by Devon Gailey

Chapter 3 and Feeling Free

In Chapter 3 of Harrower’s “Inside Reporting,” I really enjoyed the article on story structure. The book breaks it down by “The Inverted Pyramid,” “The Martini  Glass,” and “The Kabob.”

The Inverted Period is the most used form of story structure. It’s really best for news briefs, stories about breaking news events. Basically, you start with with the most important facts first and move to the less important as you go down. It summarizes the key facts in a concise lead. Then, you organize the story as logically as possible by arranging the paragraphs in descending order of importance.

The Martini Glass was very interesting to me. It’s also known as the Hourglass story structure. You start with the lead, followed by key facts in the Inverted Pyramid form, a chronology of events and a kicker. These are best for crimes, disasters or other dramatic news stories where you want to include a chronology that tracks how events unfolded. I find it really interesting because of the chronological narrative that it involves. I never knew before reading this chapter that a story structure like this existed.

The Kabob story structure is also known as “The Wall Street Journal” formula or the “Circle.” It starts with an anecdote, followed by a nut graf, the meat of the story and ends with another anecdote. It’s best for stories on trends or events where you want to show how actual people are affected or involved. You basically think about it as arranging meats and veggies on a shish kabob skewer.

Reading this one section seriously helped me put the whole idea of story structures into perspective. There is always a formula to writing, and these are the major ways to write an interesting piece for the general public.

Five Things Every Reporter Needs to Remember About Readers

Sticking to my “five things” theme, what interested me the most in chapter two of our reading was the section concerning what every reporter need remember when writing.

First and foremost, readers are always in a hurry. This is something that will never change. I, myself, know that I skip over reading material that looks too lengthy. I want the main points so I can move on to something else. So, when you are writing for the general public, space out your paragraphs. Use bullet points. You could even use pictures! People love pictures. It is one reason that the television started taking the radio’s previous audience.

Second, readers have short attention spans. It would not surprise me in the least if people have already clicked to another web page before getting to this paragraph. Reading things online is even more difficult than reading print. Why would I sit here and read a blog post when I could check my email, watch a video, and tweet my life simultaneously?

Next, readers want stories they can personally connect with. No one wants to read a story directed towards a small audience. Whatever you are writing must focus on the reader. It makes you feel special. You do not want a story focused on the other guys. This is about you.

Furthermore, if you thought the above steps were easy enough, here is the one that gets a lot of writers. Stories must be written in a compelling way. The idea of a “hook” has been drilled into my head for as long as I have been writing papers. Professional reporting is no different. People will not stop to read a story that does not convince them from the first line that it is worth reading.

Last, there is always more than one type of reader. You cannot please everyone. If you try, your writing will only suffer for it. Do what is ethical, compelling, and fresh. Keep an open mind. Write without fear of criticism, but constantly keep in mind that you are writing for an audience.

Media Writing has begun.

Along with this, it means I will be writing my future blog posts on stuff going on in this class. So far, it’s been pretty great. Though this class probably proves much more interesting for broadcast news or print journalism students, I have found the textbook very interesting indeed. It is written in such a unique style. There are plenty of pictures, timelines, and general separation between paragraphs.

In short, I like it a lot.

However, this post is supposed to be about something I found particularly fascinating in our first chapter. I would have to say the part that stuck out the most for me, mostly because I am a cinema student, was the Five Essential Journalism Films section. I cannot wait to rent some of these movies. It goes without saying that anything in movie form will spark my interest, but the fact they revolve around journalism makes it even better. You can never learn enough about the journalism world. It’s a world that has covered the nation’s most important events for as long as it has existed.

Needless to say, I will be checking out these films shortly. And if I could add one to the list, I would add a film we watched in my COMM 100 class called Shattered Glass. It is a story about a young journalist who destroys his career after fabricating the majority of his articles. It was a story that definitely opened my eyes to the perils of writing, in more ways than one. People who want a career in the media need to take extreme caution before writing something. I know we hardly write in pen anymore, but the idea that the “pen is mightier than the sword” still rings true. What is written in the news whether online or tangible, is taken very seriously by the public. Once credibility is lost, it is very hard to achieve it once more.

Final Project: Call Lost

This was sadly our last assignment for my Digital Media Convergence class. We were allowed to make anything we wanted as long as we pitched the idea to our class and received feedback. My idea was to make a silent film with a minor twist. I will be honest, I had a slightly different thought process in how I would approach my final film, but it all worked out for the best. As always, let me know what you think!

Stop Motion Project

I have very much enjoyed my DMC class this year. One of our final projects was to try our hand at a stop motion film. I was not quite sure how I would go about creating a storyline for said film, so I used whatever I had around me to do so. I used my friends’ stuffed animals. The feel of the video is extremely lighthearted, and care free. I hope you like it!