Confessions of COMM 200

April 25, 2011

Exam Review

Filed under: Uncategorized — confessionsofcomm200 @ 10:52 pm

Comm 200 Review

*= must know

What’s not on the exam:

      1. questions from ch 1 about “when did yellow journalism start?”
      2. no historical questions
      3. no AP style questions
      4. no grammar questions
      5. obituaries

News stories and news leads

      1. collect facts for the news leads first
      2. organize list of 5 w’s and the how, then prioritize them
      3. most important info in the first sentence and first paragraph
      4. no more than 25 words
      5. capture the reader by using the active voice (subject is acting on the object)

        – ie: he threw the ball

      1. never bury the leads
      2. don’t use the main person’s name in the lead unless they’re famous (delayed identification)

        – when the name of the person isn’t as important as the identifier

      1. inverted pyramid style
      2. NO OPINION
      3. format:

        – news lead first

        – most important to least important

      1. Use present and active tense (he says)
      2. Only use “said” or “says” because other words slow down the reader
      3. if you can make them in the present tense, do so.

News Leads

      1. Summary leads– cover the most important of the 5 w’s and the H**
      2. delayed identification– withholds the name/identification/location of a person that is involved because few people know him/her. Forces you to read into the second paragraph.
      3. Anecdotal leads– little stories that are relevant to the whole story. Best example of what the story is about. ***
      4. Narrative lead (imediares)- begins the story in the middle of the action. (ie: the two noblemen rushed over to the crypt only to find dead Juliet. )
      5. Scene setter– describes the surroundings. (it was a sunday morning, clear and sunny…)

        – use for long features that unfolds the lead

      1. direct address– second person and uses you. Only for features and advice stories

        – if you’ve been waiting for your chance to collect every episode of The Simpsons, you’re in luck. ***

      1. Blind leads– teases the reader with a little bit of info before revealing the story
      2. startling statements leads– grabs the reader’s attention forcefully.

        – 1 in 4 americans will be affected with a STD at some point in their life.

      1. Round up leads (list leads)– describing a list of things people see
      2. word play leads– only use them if you’re feeling clever.

        – For germans trying to lose weight, the worst is yet to come.

Nut graf and feature stories

      1. condenses the story idea
      2. why it’s important right NOW
      3. nut graf is only used in feature stories
      4. important because impatient readers will lose interest in the story


      1. find a “peg” or the subject to hang the profile on
      2. clear anecdotal lead
      3. nut graf telling us why we care****
      4. paint a portrait, recreate scenes, use dialogue
      5. anecdotal lead, go into the nut graf then use a quote or two


      1. citing who you’re talking about. The source of your info
      2. always use it unless something is common knowledge or if you personally saw it **
      3. first time you’re directly citing someone you need to use their full name, but thereafter only use their last name.
      4. Only use “said” or “says”
      5. use the subject first
      6. Start the quote and then directly cite
      7. comma, close quote, said…
      8. if it’s more than 2 sentences, cite first
      9. don’t need to attribute the same person more than once if there’s a long quote

Opinion piece

      1. tight focus, not a rant
      2. pick a side
      3. strong lead and a solid finish
      4. use at least 3 examples***
      5. use persuasive language
      6. take a stance that people would not expect


      1. Clever lead
      2. show your opinion
      3. use graphic sidebars that sum up what you’re talking about
      4. balance reporting facts with your opinion
      5. plan out the review and be aware of your biases
      6. use simple language
      7. don’t add simple phrases like “in my opinion”, they obviously know it’s an opinion piece
      8. no vague adjectives like “massive”, professor hates that word *
      9. don’t waiver on your opinion
      10. use detail
      11. watch for extra words
      12. begin and end by telling exactly how you feel

Online reporting

      1. headlines should have key words of your story that help SEO (search engine optimization)***
      2. think of the words you would search on google
      3. shouldn’t write with inverted pyramid if it’s a short story
      4. include multimedia
      5. headline and blurbs

Multimedia and bullets for online

      1. photos, audio, video and graphics
      2. makes the story more interesting
      3. visually appealing
      4. use hyperlinks to allow your audience to navigate
      5. used a lot for tagging and categorizing your stories
      6. polls, surveys and quizzes, discussion forums and comments ***
      7. short term alternatives- bio box, fast facts box, step by step guides, timelines and diagrams, lists of top ten, factual index, glossaries, checklists, etc. ****

Writing sports stories

      1. 3 types:

        a.) game stories- talks about the game that happened.

        – Final score the team names, quotes, stats, injuries, etc.

        – try to extract something from the game that the viewer didn’t see

        – never want to overuse stats

        – think plot, not play by play

        – ie: game pivoted on a couple of key fouls

b.) feature stories- things before the game

-. key quotes

c.) columns- opinion pieces

How writing for radio is different

      1. less formal than writing for newspaper
      2. descriptive details is really important
      3. you don’t have to write sentences
      4. writing for the ear, write as if you were speaking
      5. for big names, write a pronouncer

Writing for broadcast

      1. writing for the ear not the eye
      2. short simple, easy to follow
      3. less and fewer sentences
      4. okay to start with “and” and conjunctions
      5. make sure every story has a solid ending
      6. use present tense
      7. attribute first
      8. preferable to paraphrase because people can’t hear quotation marks****
      9. avoid abbreviations
      10. write out dollars instead of $ and percent instead of %

Writing for PR

      1. Writing for the client and stress the benefits of what you’re writing about
      2. start with headlines
      3. 2 blurbs with facts, explanations and details
      4. name, contact info, who it’s going to

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: