Stories and process

You will be working on two story packages this semester. (NOTE: in TV reporting, "packages" refers to video stories; here, I'm referring to composites of stories and supporting items.)
The topics and specific focuses of these stories are largely up to you. We'll be immersing ourselves in how the Athens community is changingーin terms of buildings, demographics, businesses, and other things. But you'll be finding great stories and interviewing people and experts who can help you understand issues and explain them to a broader audience. I'll be working with you to surface and refine both stories and topics along the way, and you'll be supporting your classmates as well.
As final products, your stories will consist of a main item (either a written story or a video piece, depending on your interests and abilities) and two multimedia elements. Below is a fuller guide to the finished product, but there are a couple of key things to think about as we get into these.
First is finding the stories out in the real world. I will have plenty of ideas, but want to give you the opportunity to explore topics and issues of most interest to you. The key thing is that these topics need to be concrete, not theoretical, and specific to the Athens community so that you have can access real people who can become sources so you can understand more about what's going on. As an example of what not, I had a great student a couple of years ago who wanted to write about human trafficking because it was a cause that she really cared about. But she struggled significantly to find sources because she couldn't find local people with experience either in policing trafficking or working with victims. On the other hand, students who have written about how local businesses are dealing with changes in the economy have gotten great stuff.
You do not have a specific number of sources you need to quote, but you should speak to as many people as you need, and you’ll see deadlines for specific numbers of interviews you need to conduct.
The other thing I want to emphasize this semester is working more specifically on information-gathering and interviewing. I am going to encourage you strongly to work together on reporting similar storiesーprofiles of entrepreneurs in similar industries, for example so that you can support and provide feedback for one another. These are not group projects, but I encourage you to share background material and plan interviews together.
Story grades
1
Search
Component
100%
90%
80%
70%
1
Factual errors
Zero
Zero
Zero
Zero
2
Headline
Clear, relevant, implied verb, invites reader into story
Missing one of those characteristics
Missing two of those characteristics
Present, but missing all of the characteristics
3
Lede/intro
Hooks reader with compelling image or story in first graf/10 seconds of video
Explains topic but fails to include image or story
Double lede, news lede, failure to connect lede to rest of story
Generic lede
4
Nut graf/hook
Clearly encapsulates story and explains why it's important
Nut graf/hook clear and hook but misplaced
Nut graf/hook missing clear encapsulation,
No nut graf/hook
5
Grammar and style
Error-free
Fewer than two errors
2-3 errors
No more than 4 errors
6
Structure and sequencing
Clear, logical flow from paragraphs/points
Mostly clear flow with some difficult transitions
Many difficult transitions
Difficult to follow
7
Conclusion
Revisits character/point and/or looks ahead to the future
Offers basic ideas for what will happen next
Concludes by offering unsupported praise for subject
Stops abruptly
8
Length
Within 50 words/15 seconds of assigned length
Within 100 words/30 seconds
More than 100 words/30 seconds
More than 150 words/45 seconds
9
Image composition
Original photo, clear point of focus, relevance to story
Original photo, relevant to story, lacking clear point of focus/relevant details
Original photo, significant composition errors
Unoriginal photo
10
Image captions
Complete sentences explaining relationship of photo to story, including credit
Complete sentences explaining relationship of photo to story, missing credit
Vague captions but cleanly written
Vague captions and/or grammatical/stylistic errors
11
Infographic composition
Clean presentation; easy-to-comprehend process or relationship among variables
Fairly clean presentation; easy-to-comprehend process or relationship among variables
Problems with presentation; difficult-to-comprehend process or relationship among variables
Presented with poor executiion
12
Infographic chatter
Headline, descriptive sentence(s), and sourcelines all clearly explaining relevance of graphic to story
Missing one of elements at left
Missing two elements from left
13
Audio/video quality
Interviews in focus, little or no background noise/images
Poor focus or audio problems
Poor focus and audio problems
14
Audio/video transitions
Smooth transitions with little if any difference in audio levels, no jump cuts, no pops or other distractions
At least one problem from those at left
At least two problems from those at left
No more than three problems from those at left
15
Sources noted/quoted
At least five
At least five
At least five
Fewer than five
There are no rows in this table
15
Count

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