Lede-ing the way. Sept. 10 critique on deck.

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Hiya everyone and welcome to the first written critique of the semester!

After three weeks, thought it was a good time to start getting the written critique to you guys. That gives you enough time to find your footing and to get squared away in your beats. (How is the beat reporting going anyway?)

Let’s get to it. First, let’s get some housekeeping out of the way

1.) Critiques. In case you haven’t seen them or didn’t notice them, I critique everything every day — the newsletter, stories on the site, the paper. I place all of my critiques on the bulletin board by the door of my office. You should check out the board for more feedback on your story. Like, now. Like, right now.

2.) 3 sources. All stories need three sources period, end of sentence. If your story does have 3 sources, you will get dock from the price of the story.

Okay, let’s hand out some kudos. 

I’m liking how the rookies are stepping up. Last week we had a nearly all rookie front page. This week, we got close again Congrats to Matt Fulkerson, Mara Lopez, and Mason McNeal. 

Best lede: Best lede in the paper this week goes to Grant McKinley, for his #iBleedBlue story. Check it:

iBleedBlue is the name and social media is the game.

It’s short. It’s catchy. It gets me into the story. And though it is catchy it doesn’t take me away from the story. It puts me right into it.

Best visual: Andrea Fisher‘s photo were pretty cool, albeit dark. I can get the action in the photographs

Best story: Andrea Fisher‘s story takes the cake on this one too. And video is pretty awesome if you haven’t seen it yet.

Let’s talk about ledes. They aren’t quite there yet. We’ve been working on them since orientation so we need to step up and take them to the next level. Let’s look at some examples.

On August 26, venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins invested 20 million dollars for less than 1% of the Snapchat application. That places the app at a net worth of ten billion dollars.

Let’s talk about what’s great about this lede. It give lots of information. However, is this the story? No. The story is about students using snap chat.

So, what not try using a lede like this.

For UTA students, things can change in a snap.

That’s just the way like it.

The next sentence could be something like this:

Phone app Snapchat is gaining popularity among students on campus. The app, which deletes the photos after the receiver has seen it, is most often used by people 13 to 24. Most users, around 80 percent, live in the U.S. Didmus Banda, political science senior, is one of them.

The lede here is quick, snappy (ha!) and exciting to read. Because this is a feature story, you can have fun with the lede on a fun story.

Got it? Onward!

We need to get better at asking follow up questions. Let’s not take what people tell us at face value. We have to question it.

Here’s a couple of examples:

“UTA has a distinct focal point on advancing the human condition,” Bavier said “This merger strengthens and supports the vision and plans of the university.”

When I read this in the story, my first question was how so? Since the university is going toward Tier I status, this statement intrigues me.  It’s your job as reporters to question things, get clarification on things.

That’s the same with numbers, most especially those you can grab from a website. For example, the stat in the MAVS 1000 class story:

According to a report from the Office of Decision Support and Analytics’ Graduation, retention of first-year students from fall 2010 through fall 2013 sits at roughly 70 percent.

What does that 70 percent mean? Does it mean 70 percent of the students who started here in 2010 stuck around for 2013? Does it include transfers? How did they calculate the numbers? All these questions need to be ask to make sure that the information you’re about to use and the context you’re using it for is correct.

Alright, full critique is on the board. Training is tomorrow. Onward and upward.



This entry was posted in Training by Icess Fernandez Rojas. Bookmark the permalink.

About Icess Fernandez Rojas

Icess is a writer, professor, and blogger. She is a graduate of Goddard College's MFA program. Her work has been published in Rabble Lit, Minerva Rising Literary Journal, and the Feminine Collective's anthology Notes from Humanity. Her nonfiction has appeared in Dear Hope, NBCNews.com, HuffPost and the Guardian. She is a recipient of the Owl of Minerva Award, a VONA/Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation alum, and is also a Kimbilio Fellow. She's currently working on her first novel.

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