Newsletter critique 1/27

Morning everyone! It’s production day and we’ve got lots to do so let’s get started.

Overall, this newsletter is much better than yesterday’s which only have one news item and several sports stories. There was more to read today, however, I was still missing opinion, multimedia and sports.

Ladies and gents, every section is responsible for reporting and putting things in the newsletter. The newsletter is also our publication. If we don’t have items from each desk, we don’t have a complete publication.

Don’t do this anymore.

WHAT WE NEED TO WORK ON: Adding context

When covering an event, remember that the story isn’t about the event. This is confusing so let me give you an example.

For example, decorating piggy banks. Although there were people painting pigs, the story wasn’t about that. It’s about getting students to understand and to promote money management. Why is that? Because 1) college students tend to fall into credit card debt 2.) students have debt to repay when the graduate.  So, we need some stats about this and quote from sources about this as well. That’s how you take a simple story about painting pigs and make it more about how people chose to live their lives.

Let’s use another example

The story about the stress workshop (I assume that it’s a workshop. The story doesn’t say.) could have also used some context. There has to be some stat or something that could be asked of the sources to give the story context. For example, how many students come into the center stressed? How many students did they serve last year when it was Mindful Moments. What made them increase it from one time a week to three times a week?  

Also, to add context, I know we must have, at one point, done a story or graphic on tips to combat stress. Where is it? We could have added it to this story.


I’m a bit disappointed at the crime briefs today. Looks like these came from a news release or the press book. This information is always the beginning of reporting, not the end or the only.  So when we see something on a release about a female student reportedly being stalked by another student some natural questions come to mind. First, I want to know the circumstances  — did he follow her, call, or a combo. Looks like she also filed a report with APD, I’m assuming they are separate incidents? Also, if a student is being stalked, what is UTA policy? What should they do?

Looking at another police brief, what does “extreme levels of intoxication” mean and how do they know it? Was the person drunk or above the legal limit. Just because it’s used in a police press book doesn’t mean it’s the right phrasing. Police use jargon all the time. Meanwhile, what was the student doing in the parking  lot at 11:24 on a Sunday night? Were there charges filed?  There’s more questions than answers.

ACTION ITEM: On your stories, think of different ways to add context to your stories. That can include asking questions from sources that would give you that information or looking for stats that add to the story. If you need help, your editors will be more than happy to help. I’m also available too.

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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,, 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.