The News Report: Finding Good Examples

Image by Lulu Vision (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

In an earlier post I talked about what’s required for the OSSLT news report, how to identify one, and where to find good examples. While some stories looked like news reports, they were disqualified because they expressed opinions, they were blog entries, they were short on details, or they weren’t about an event. Remember, a news report has these features:

·        It tells about an event and answers the questions who, what, where, when, why and how.
·        It provides lots of details about the event (it answers the questions above to do this).
·        It is written in the third person.
·        It includes a relevant picture and headline that relate directly to the event.
Consider this story from The Globe & Mail: Teens join Twitter to escape parents on Facebook: Survey. This is an interesting story that seems to have all the features of a news report. It is about teens on Twitter; there’s a picture of a teenager tweeting; and the story answers most of the who, what, when, where, why and how questions, providing lots of detail.
But wait: is a teen sending a single tweet really an event? Not exactly. More precisely, the story is about the issue or trend of teens joining Twitter. Strictly speaking, then, it’s not an example of the kind of news report you’ll need to write on the OSSLT. You should be able to identify a event. Ask: what happened here? That’s your event.
To find good examples of news reports, look in the local news section of the newspaper, and consider looking at some smaller weekly and community papers.
Challenge:  Look at the pictures and scan the headlines of a few stories in one or more of the newspapers below. Pick out a couple of stories that are good examples of the kind of news report you’re looking for.

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