Today we had a seminar with Karl for Introduction to Digital Journalism. He began by introducing us to different styles of writing we should be using within Journalism. He used a PowerPoint presentation to take us all through step-by-step the stages and structure to writing like a journalist. I found this seminar really interesting and informative as it completely transformed my outlook and approach to writing in the style of a journalist. I now have the information to transform my writing and change what I am usually used to into the correct format for printed and online journalism.
- One of the most important sessions.
- Writing for online/print journalism.
- Learning the structure of writing for journalism.
- Methods of professional writing.
- JAKOB NIELSEN (quote from late 90’s-2000’s)
- “People rarely read web pages word by word; instead, they scan the page, picking out individual words and sentences.”
BASIC ARTICLE STRUCTURE FOR PRINT:
- Head – also known as (line) (title)
- Strap (stand first)
- Body- (main body of text)
- sub-heading (every 300-400 words)
- Page length (1200-1600 words) (broadsheet)
- Page length 150-1000 words (magazine)
BASIC ARTICLE STRUCTURE FOR ONLINE:
- Page length 250-750 words (HALF or less than print)
- Subheadings/Crossheadings are more frequent as much as every 50-100 words
ABOVE THE FOLD/BELOW THE FOLD – originates from people generally folding a magazine in half.
Notes on structure
Use the “Inverted Pyramid/Triangle” Structure
TOP:Most Newsworthy info Who? What? When? Where? How?
MIDDLE: Important details (Essential to fill story)
ONLINE WRITING STYLE
- Use concise, simple language, avoid “marketing” jargon.
- Speak to the reader. Be conversational
- Use shorter sentences.
- Make headings simple and descriptive.
- Make content scannable.
- Use third person narrative
Because web users SCAN rather than READ you need to:
- Grab the reader from the strap .
- Use shorter paragraphs. ONE idea per paragraph.
- Break up the copy with frequent, informative cross headers (usually bold)
- Use block quotes | call outs | pull quotes
- These demand extra foxus:
- A “block quote” is a quote from a source in the middle of a copy.
- A “call out” is a box containing a juicy snippet of the copy itself
- Use lists and bulletpoints to make key points.
A conversational tone works well on the web- but don’t take it too far!
Read things out loud (test your writing)
Writing for the web task:
Using the guidelines discussed, research and produce a web copy about an evenmt that is currently in the news:
- Starbucks tax break
- Latest in Gary McKinnon extradition case
- Accusations of racism at Serbia VS England
- Is student life becoming more sexist
BREAK IT UP
I am quite looking forward to this task as I will be tackling it with my new found methods of writing for online/print as a journalist but slightly skeptical as it isn’t second nature to me as I will have to get used to this new style through practice and incorporate all techniques into my writing for journalism.