No such word as its - University of Minnesota Duluth

Week 4: Journalism 2001
October 1, 2007
Its, it’s or its’. Which is correct?
Review of last week’s news
Hard News:
(murders, city council, government, etc.)
– Major local stories
– Major national/international stories
– Major sports stories
Soft News:
(retirements, school programs, human interest)
– Local stories
– National/international stories
– Sports stories
In Sunday’s newspaper, a story featured a Bayfield High
School senior who is making his mark with research
establishing the trend of Lake Superior ______________
for the past 150 years.
Fish loss
Invasion of
foreign species
Ice cover
A proposal to close a portion of Garfield Avenue in
Duluth for ________ got the green light Thursday.
Car time trials
a 5-K race
a Motorcycle rally
The Vikings beat the Packers on
This quarterback set a new record
Sunday for touchdown passes.
Dan Marino
Brett Favre
The Clure Marine Terminal in Duluth will move
more than 300,000 tons of cargo this year, more
than triple last year’s amount, thanks to increased
interest in __________.
wind power
grain shipments
The average annual temperature in Duluth from 2000 to
2006 was ____________ than the 30-year “normal”
temperature for the city, an environmental group’s analysis
of U.S. government weather data shows.
Almost a degree
Almost a degree
About the same
Duluth city councilors voted 7-2 last week against a
proposed ordinance that would have limited the number of
unrelated renters in homes to ________.
Review 9/24 summary lead assignment
Overall continued progress!
Best to use one-sentence summary lead
Style errors:
– Datelines
– State abbreviations
– Addresses
Run-on sentences
In-complete sentences
Editing marks
Let’s review editing marks in Stylebook:
– page 420
Skokie, Ill – A cigarette left smoldering on a mattress pillow caused
a fire in a bedroom on Lawler Avenue Friday night, resulting in an
estimated $50,000 worth of damage.
Skokie, Ill. – The family of Lawler Ave. house returned home Friday
evening to find $50,000 in fire damage due to what firefighters said
was a smoldering cigarette left on the mattress in the bedroom.
Firefighters forced their way into a burning house in Skokie Friday
night to extinguish a fire that investigators said was caused by a
smoldering cigarette.
SKOKIE, Ill. – A house on Lawler Avenue started on fire just after 7
pm Friday night due to a lit cigarette left in the home.
Friday night a fire started by a lit cigarette engulfed a home in
Skokie causing $50,000 worth of damage, but no injuries.
Firefighters were called to a home on Lawler Avenue Friday night to
put out a house fire caused by a smoldering cigarette.
SAN FRANCISCO – Snow and hail caused hundreds of fenderbenders Thursday morning after a winter storm fell over many
parts of northern California.
CALIFORNIA – Snow, hail, and torrential rains caused hundreds of
fender-benders Thursday morning in Northern California because
of the latest winter storm, which also left behind icy roads and
frigid temperatures.
Northern Calif. --- A winter storm hit much of Northern California
Thursday causing icy roads, frigid temperatures, and possible
mudslides although better weather is expected on soon.
SAN FRANCISCO – A Thursday morning winter storm in Northern
California caused hundreds of fender-bender accidents in the
state and created an extreme danger of mudslides on alreadysaturated hillsides.
Disorder ensued Thursday morning in Northern California as
hundreds of fender-benders occurred due to icy roads and unusually
chaotic weather conditions.
Northern California – Extreme weather has brought icy roads and
frigid temperatures to Northern California as San Jose, Oakland and
San Francisco were pounded with snow, creating dangerous road
SAN JOSE, Calif. – A storm moved through northern California on
Thursday bringing hail, snow, rains, and plenty of fender-benders.
SAN FRANCISCO – Another fierce winter storm hit Northern
California Thursday morning bringing with it icy roads, hail, and
snow that caused fender-benders across the state and added a
larger danger of mudslides on already-saturated hillsides.
Review: Writing a summary lead
Usually a single sentence
 No more than 35 words
 Bottom line:
– Use a single sentence of no more than 35
words to summarize an event
Review: Lucy Kragness interview
Overall tough to condense all the info!
– Some “untrue” facts!
Use spellchecker (how to spell Kragness?), AP
 Use past tense, third person
 Common style errors:
State names
Degrees: master’s, bachelor’s
Use last name on second reference
Watch editorializing
Verify facts
Paragraph length: 2-3 sentences max
– Agreement
– Run-on sentences
– When to use hyphens
Attribution: she said strongest
 Wordiness
 Don’t be afraid to use quotes!
Let’s rewrite a lead from the
Go to:
Another its, its’ or it’s?
Bottom line on it’s or its
Use it’s: when mean it is, it has
 All other uses: its
No such word as its’
Useful websites
Grammar, writing
– Purdue’s OWL (Online Writing Lab)
– Guide to Grammar and Writing, Capital Community
College Foundation
– Guide to Grammar and Style, Jack Lynch
– Beginning Reporter Resources
– Power Reporting
Let’s look at run-on sentences
Go to link on my homepage:
What are typical reporting beats?
Police & fire
All of the above
Chapter 20:
Local Government and Public Meetings
Municipal government systems
– Mayor-council
 Strong: Mayor forms budget, administers policy
 Weak: Managerial functions divided among others
– Council-manager
 City manager oversees city operations; hired by
– Commission
 Committee of city leaders assume executive,
legislative functions
Typical city government beat
No typical day!
 City council meetings
– Check agenda
– Advance story
– Meeting story
City budget process
 Administrative reports
 Other committee, task force meetings
– Vikings proposal
Duluth has a weak mayor, strong
council form of government.
What’s in Duluth?
Strong mayor-council
– City of Duluth organizational chart
What’s in St. Louis County?
Strong administrator-commission
– St. Louis County Information
How to cover a council meeting
Check Agenda
 Check meeting Action
 Don’t be afraid to ask questions after the
 Stay to the end: Other business can be
hot news!
 Take lots of notes
Local government budget process
Cover the steps in the process
 Develop sources of information
 Different types of budgets
– Capital budgets
– Operating budgets
Writing the budget story
Bottom line – the total budget
 Last year’s budget
 Percentage increase or decrease
 Breakdown of expenses
 Reasons for increase or decrease
 Breakdown of budget revenues
 Details on impact of tax increases or
Public Information Officers
Blessing and a curse
 Good source of information
 Develop relationship
 Establish “call-back” rules
 Remember their role
 Be skeptical, but remember they’re great
Checklist for covering city
Learn the system
Get to know the personalities
Develop reliable sources
Be persistent
Never let friendship interfere with the job
Always be prepared; ask for copies of handouts
Make note of story possibilities
Read other coverage
Write to inform, not to impress: Inverted pyramid
Use your brain
Ask questions!
Story Pitches for Hard News 1
and 2 Assignments: Due 10/3
Length of story pitches: no more than
three paragraphs, about 200 words
 Include the 5 Ws and H: what makes this
story newsworthy
 Deadlines for complete articles:
– Hard News 1: October 15
– Hard News 2: October 26
Mosquito spraying story example, county
commission story
Sample Hard News 1 Pitch
The City of Duluth Commission on Disabilities meets on the
first Wednesday of every month at 3:00 p.m. in Room 106A at the
Duluth City Hall.
These meetings should be very important to anyone who has a
disability. It is at these meetings that many issues are decided upon
and in order to have a voice it is important to attend and speak out.
According to the agenda listed, the October 4th meeting will
begin with a review of the notes and upbringings from the
September 6th meeting. It will then move on to a introduction of
the correspondents which include the U of M - Communiversity
Personal Grants, People with Disabilities for Change minutes, and
the Duluth HOPE VI Newsletter. From there on the meeting will be
discussing signage requests, and the parking meters on 2nd street
between 3rd and 4th Ave. W and 3rd Ave. W between 2nd and 3rd
street. As well as Accessibility issues and Committee reports. The
meeting will end with any other business need mentioning.
Next week
Practice City Council meeting
– Tape of meeting from last year
Reporter teams for Hard News 2
Team of reporters
– Sign up sheet
List of topics
 Review questions to ask community
Chapter 21: Police and Fire
Organizational structures
– Duluth Police Department
– St. Louis County Sheriff’s Department
– Duluth Fire Department
Covering police, fire beats
Making the rounds: develop sources
– Each city, county different
– Billings, Sheridan examples
Departmental records
– Police log, reports
– Fire reports
Using departmental records
Accident forms, coverage of accidents
– Injured, severely injured, fatalities
– Time, location
– Names
– Results of chemical tests
– Ambulance service
– Diagrams
– Driver statements
– Other details: road conditions, seat belts
Offense reports, crime coverage
Limited access to forms recording crimes
 A rape story
– Offense report
– Talk to officers involved
– Check if other rapes reported
– Telephone hospital for victim’s condition
A day on the beat
 On-the-scene coverage
 Making the rounds
 Writing the stories
– Developing the lead: Deaths go first
– Constructing the story
– Attribution
– Describe the scene
– Using vivid details
Checklist for police, fire beats
Develop, cultivate sources
Learn how to handle hostile sources
 Know the job responsibilities of sources
 Don’t deceive sources
 If a big story comes along, go after it
 Know the territory
 Learn the terminology
 Double-check spellings
 Check with hospital, morgue, to update information
 Be careful when reporting arrests
 Don’t confuse an arrest with filing of a charge
 Know policy on using minors’ names
Journalism Case Studies
 Today:
– Stop! This is a warning. . .
Suppressing news at police request
Go to:
- Compiled by University of Indiana School of
Due 10/3: Sports Story Reporting
Assignment Pitch
Length of story pitch: three paragraphs,
about 200 words
 Include the 5Ws and H: what makes this
story newsworthy
 UMD sports schedules
– Detailed information at:
Sample sports story pitch
The sporting event that I am going to cover
is a upcoming high school prep football game
between the varsity squads of Duluth Denfeld
and Hibbing high school. The game is scheduled
for Friday, October 13th at 5:15 PM.
I am expecting a large home crowd, and
some theatrics from fans considering this is the
end of Duluth Denfeld's homecoming week.
Assignment: Due 10/8
From information provided from a Tempe
Police Department activity log, write an
inverted-pyramid news story based on all
the information available.
 Write your story in Microsoft Word,
doublespaced, and email a copy of the
story as an attachment to: lkragnes
 Make sure to copy yourself on the email
In-class assignment for 10/1
More editing practice!
Doublecheck assignments correct in
Store academic information in your
Electronic Portfolio. Each student has 100
mb of storage.
 Access Electronic Portfolio at:

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