Up until now, we’ve basically been practicing — doing something, reviewing it in class, and giving you an opportunity to learn by continuing to review and revise your efforts, all without the pressure of your offerings being specifically and immediately graded.
Now it’s time to see what you’ve learned from the process. That means final, graded versions of our two most recent assignments — Breaking news and GEO strike — will be due this week along with a solid first draft of our Profile assignment and an indication what you need to do next.
Remember that for the Breaking news story you should add at the end, after the full version of the story and below a “HEADING 4” break, two shorter versions, both written with “at this hour” urgency, highlighting different elements of the story for use in breaking-news headline summaries.
Imagine the first piece to be something for print or for the web or some other full presentation of the news. The two shorter pieces would be for newsbreak, radio or Alexa-style hourly headline summaries or for breaking-news social media postings. Basically, we’re looking for three different “hooks” into the same story — one fully fleshed out and two others, different so they wouldn’t sound repetitive, that could fit within short, hourly news updates that either summarize or lead the audience to the full version.
We talked about those approaches Tuesday and expect final versions of them Thursday along with a final version of the GEO strike sidebar, cleaning up any typos, spelling, grammar or syntax errors. We also on Thursday will check our progress on the Profile assignment by reviewing what we hope will be very strong first drafts.
CHecking your writing
As mentioned several times, one tool everyone may want to add to his or her computer is Grammarly, a free web-browser plugin that helps with grammar and spelling checks when posting to content management systems like the WordPress system we use for this class.
Another technique is to write in Microsoft Word and run spelling, grammar and readability checks in Word before pasting your story into WordPress. Obviously, you want to fix any spelling and grammar errors, but you also should pay attention to your readability score and experiment with ways to improve it by making it lower. That typically involves more, shorter sentences directly focused on specific facts without a lot of tangential information stuffed into them.
We’ll look at some of these things in more detail in class this week.