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Writing to pictures: Dos and don’ts

Writing to pictures: Dos and don’ts

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Writing to pictures: Dos and don’ts

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  1. Writing to pictures: Dos and don’ts CMAT 131 Prof. Jeremy Cox

  2. Don’t: editorialize • That means inject your opinion into the story. • Some examples from the radio assignment: • “...the Wildcats played equally at both ends making for a great win.” • “Greed could explain why he committed the crimes in the first place, but it doesn’t explain why he would turn his passion into a jail sentence.” • “The whereabouts of the bill is still unknown, but we hope that the final decision is in the best interest of the people.”

  3. Don’t: read minds Eliminate these words/phrases from your vocabulary: believe, feel, understood, took to heart. You don’t know what they feel, but you can report what they “said” and did.

  4. Don’t: own the country Lots of examples where the writer would put “our” instead of “the nation’s.” As in: “Our economy is faltering.” Nope. Try: “The nation’s economy is faltering.” Don’t be a homer. As in: “Our team lost” or “We lost.” So long, objectivity.

  5. Do: establish the time element So much of news is about timing. You don’t care very much about a traffic jam that happened a week ago. But one going on now? That’s news! So put your time element up really high, in the first sentence.

  6. Do: say “said” Still lots of folks explaining, stating, offering, having this to say, suggesting, putting forward, etc. When all they need to do is “say” or “said.”

  7. Do: read stories aloud Many of your aren’t. Or if you are, you’re not reading very closely. Clean copy is essential. You mess up and you look stupid on the air. Make sure sentences are grammatically clean and flow from the first capitalized word to the period. I will be taking off two points for each grammar error starting with this assignment.

  8. Do: double- and triple-check facts Misspelling names, places, organizations – these are fact errors. A fact error can be simply misinterpreting the news, saying a bill is now law when it only passed in one chamber and requires further approval. I will be taking off 10 points for each fact error in the coming assignment.

  9. Onto writing about Canadian ships