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My First News Story In Seven Years

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Pete Incaviglia, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    Well. Tonight I wrote my first news story in seven years. I'm scared as hell I screwed something up.

    It was a city council/land development story. Big forum. Lots of good quotes. Lots of debate.

    I think it reads okay. I filed it. Now I wait for my boss to give me shit or a reader or city official to bitch or point out an error.

    This is the strangest feeling I've had in a long time in this business.
  2. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    There's always something for an official or reader to bitch at. Everyone claims they are quoted out of context, which is essentially true or you wouldn't have a story to write.

    I hate the city council stories that just have tons of bullet points without any real meat to the story. You find a lede and go with it.
  3. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    It's like covering a ball game.. two sides to an issue, both want to win, the debate is like the game play. One side wins, the other loses, you quote them both, call it a story. Oh, and youll cost some city council member a scholarship.
  4. crusoes

    crusoes Active Member

    The judiciary committee works just as hard as the finance, but you only cover them when their judges are in trouble.
  5. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    I'll get the "For the Record" ready...
  6. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    Just found out my first story, which I thought was pretty good, was hacked. A lot. For, you guessed it, SPACE!

    But, because I'm such a looser I was already posting extra quotes and notes to the paper's city council blog.
  7. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Was it hacked because they told you to write 12 inches then only had space for 8 or becuase the told you to write 12 and you wrote 17?
  8. I Should Coco

    I Should Coco Well-Known Member

    Pete: A couple of tips for covering government meetings ...

    1. Try your best, if it's your beat, to take an issue off the agenda and do up a juicy advancer a day or two before the meeting. It's just like with gamers ... get something unusual or interesting out in front of people, and they'll respond.

    City officials and council members absolutely HATE when the public comes and dares to comment at their meeting, but as you indicated from tonight, public debate makes for a much more interesting story.

    2. After sitting through too many two-hour debate about the size of signs and the lighting of parking lots, I learned to bring the comics section and crossword puzzle along. Good luck once the lawyers and planning code wonks start at each other.

    Best of luck on the news side.
  9. thesnowman

    thesnowman Member

    I remember being briefly shuttled over to news at a previous stop. I continued writing everything as though it was a sports story and ended up getting a few stories picked up nationally for the first time.
  10. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    Honestly, I was told to write 500 words (we use word counts for whatever reason) and I wrote 511 — tsk, tsk, tsk, I know. But then it was hacked to 357.

    Now, my other news story, which was still more sports than news but ran in A section, was left alone.
  11. forever_town

    forever_town Active Member

    The strange thing for me when I started at my last shop was the fact that I wasn't really nervous about writing a hard news piece for the first time in years. Even though it'd been several years since I'd written a hard news story for publication, I just went about it and wrote away.

    Ask me to do a feature or a profile or something soft news, I get nervous. Ask me to cover a straight news story and I'll do it.

    What's even stranger than not being nervous about my first hard news story was the fact that I didn't feel any nerves about covering my first-ever murder trial until AFTER it was over and the guy got sent to the pokey. While I was there, I was there to do a job. What was funny was the number of other press people there who asked my opinion about the proceedings during breaks in the trial.
  12. EE94

    EE94 Guest

    where I worked, news stories were always getting hacked. It was not unusual for a reporter's entire day's work to be hacked into a two-paragraph brief. No shit.

    The impression I got was that there was a bigger disconnect between the assigning editor and the page editor - basically two different staffs so story length requests weren't always respected

    Also, because "News" is unscheduled, what seemed like a good story in the morning meeting is overtaken by more urgent news and becomes pretty irrelevant by evening
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