Basic Reporting – Spring 2016

Week One

COM 24200 Oldham C Fall SEM 2015

Basic Reporting Rubric

The Paper Analysis

The Paper Background

More Background

Press release on the documentary

Week Two

“The Paper” Analysis Due Wednesday, Feb. 3.

Campus Club Story

Click here for information on campus organizations.

Click here for sample questions to ask your source.

Click here for a sample story I wrote about The Legacy.

Classmate Profile

Sample personality profile – Miss Missouri

News Values

Here is the slideshow on news values.

Week Three

The Lead

Click here for the slideshow on lead writing.

Here is more on lead writing.

How to Write a Strong Lead for Your Non-Fiction Article

Here is information on delayed leads.

Practice Event Coverage

CEO Speech Newswriting Exercise

Covering Events

Covering Speeches and Events

Steve Jobs’ Speech

TED Talk Video with Background

Week 4

Speeches, Meetings and News Conferences

Here is the second slideshow on covering speeches, meetings and news conferences.

Week 5

Story Structure

Click here for seven great examples of storytelling.

Click here for the slideshow on story structure: story-structure-chapter-6

Click here for one writer’s take on organizing notes and thoughts.

Click here to learn more about how Gay Talese tailors stories.

Here is a link to master storyteller Susan Orlean’s website.

Here is a link to a plot diagram that illustrates narrative story structure.

Click here for more practice on structuring stories: newswriting-exercise

Press Release Links

The College Board

A List of 10 Great Sites

Federal Student Aid Site

College Mental Health

American Association of University Professors


Top 5 Colleges Online Blog

And here is the slide show on press releases that I used in class.

Week 6

More on Story Structure 

Here is a link to master storyteller Susan Orlean’s website.

Here is a link to a plot diagram that illustrates narrative story structure.

Here is how I would have started the Epidemic of Murder story: Epidemic of Murder Sample

Wall Street Journal A Heds

The Grateful Dead scan0003

Cash Cows scan0004

The Writer’s Art

Tips on using strong verbs

More on Verbs

Four Tips for Crafting Killer Sentences

Chapter 7 Slides

Week 7

More on the Writer’s Art

Leonard Nimoy Obit

Tightening the Lead

More on Chapter 7

Writing for Online Media

Here’s a slideshow on Writing for Online Media.

Week 8

Digging for Information

Level III Reporting – What You Think You Know About the Web Is Wrong

Either outline your own story (look at page 243), or use one of the press releases found here or at one of the sites above to outline a story by:

I. Listing the facts you will take from the press release

II. Brainstorming about where you can get additional background

Listing people you might interview

Listing some possible questions for them

III. If applicable, list some possible consequences or other Level III-type information

Here is the slideshow on gathering information.

Sample Stories

Lindenwood’s Tuition Climbs 2.9 Percent

Evans, Knowles Discuss Ferguson at LU on Sibley Day

University Scholarships Expire at 160 Credits

Week 9


Here are the slides on interviewing. Please take the time to examine some of the interview examples and information links more closely.

McCarthy Link

Here is more information on interviewing.

And here is the published story based on the notes and draft I discussed in class. Here is the report I used for additional information: Arts Education Makes a Difference in Missouri Schools.

Here are some links to “Fresh Air” interviews. Here is a link to the three parts of one of my favorite interviews – with Gene Simmons from KISS.


Week 11

Additional Links for the NYT vs. Sullivan Case




And here is the link to the Thinkwell video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtqQWt7aoZ0

Gerald N. Rosenberg is Associate Professor of Political Science and Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago.

Reporters and the Law

Here is the slideshow on Chapter 25, Reporters and the Law.

Week 12

Writing Features

Here is a link to Wil Haygood’s Washington Post story on Eugene Allen.

The magazine story formula

Here is the slideshow on writing features.

Here  are some additional tips and another example of a good feature, which I  have made notes on to point out structure and other techniques.scan000

Reporting With Numbers

Here is a slideshow on Reporting With Numbers.

Dewey Defeats Truman

How to Lie With Statistics

“All the President’s Men”

Here is a link to the assignment sheet: All the President’s Men

Here is a link to an interesting interview with the two reporters. (Or here)

Basic Reporting Practice Final

Write a straight news story in proper format based on the press release I sent you, weaving in additional information from the online sources. Feel free to also use other relevant sources. I will also send you quotes from students when and if I get them. Be sure to attribute information and add details that make the story more interesting, complete and balanced for readers.

Use your textbook, stylebook, edited stories, notes and information from the class blog. When done edit, proofread and correct errors before emailing the story to me at coldham@lindenwood.edu. Please try to complete the practice final in two hours or less (today and Friday in class).


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