Three stories, three sources

I hope you had a restful spring break and that you’re ready to get some things rocking and rolling. I know I am!

Let’s talk about today’s newsletter stories. We have issues with sourcing, guys. Remember, its three sources minimum. Not two, not one. Three. We’ve been saying this all semester.

There are three stories in today’s newsletter that didn’t have all three sources. Let’s take a look at them.

1 . The UTA goes green story. It only has one source. I read it twice to make sure. I’m disappointed it was published because there was an opportunity here to do something really fun with a topic that not everyone understands. How can we do our best work when we can’t do the minimum?

There were also some other problems here. Looking at the lede, I don’t know what the story is. I don’t learn what the story is until ⅔ the way down. This isn’t a structure problem, it’s a what-is-the-news problem. Even after reading it twice, I still don’t know what the news is. I’m assuming that UTA is one of 200 campuses nationwide to participate in a game to promote sustainability. Yes? Maybe? Writers, get to the heart of the news by asking specific questions: why is this important? why is it important to the reader (which isn’t all students, despite popular opinion)? what do readers need to know right away in the first sentence? what’s the context and/or background (which is usually nutgraph fodder and doesn’t belong in the lede)?

2. The business week story was also not ready to run. All the sources were paraphrased and only one person was quoted and they they didn’t really say anything that adds to the story. It seems like they were just stuck on to the end. Why waste people’s time like that?

Also, this story has the same issue in the lede that the go green story did in the lede, the news was not in the first line. The news here is that the annual business week event, which introduces students to local and national business leaders, starts Monday. This is a big deal in that discipline and you bet networking is going to be attempted by students. So, what if I were the reporter, I would ask the organizers how this is step up if at all, how is this year different from last year?  I’m glad the story had some big names listed but I don’t know who some of these folks are. Mugs and brief bios would have been a good idea. Some of these folks are also alums. Which ones are?

Side note: be careful with editorializing. This is happening in other stories as well. This sentence worries me: Students are encouraged to hear speakers they think they would like. Part of me says…sure…okay…but did someone say this? We can’t say this. We are not the story.

Here’s another sentence that worries me: Business Week is a week where speakers come to the college and share their stories. This is awkward, clunky, and just taking up space. And, frankly, an editor should have caught this. Each word needs to do some work. So some rearranging can give you this: During Business Week speakers share their stories and experiences as leaders in their industries. Some speakers will also discuss the global issues and the future of business.  The additional info for this sentence came from others in the story, which means this story has structure problems as well.

3. One more story, the farmer’s market story. The first line is nice. I like what the writer is trying to do here. But that also means that the second sentence has to have the goods, they need to bring the info that is needed up top.  So, it should read something like this:

The clock is ticking for the Downtown Arlington Farmers Market.

The market will close its doors on March 28 unless organizers can find a new place for the 5- year-old business.

But finding a new place is easier said than done, Tony Rutigliano, Downtown Arlington Management Corporation president, said.

Meanwhile, how does this story only have two sources? Come on, guys. Y’all know better.

The farmer’s story also has some huge holes — why is it being closed? how long has it been there? (I got my stat by doing some research)  why does it need to be an indoor market? That means there’s some reporting issues here. Incomplete reporting is a way inaccuracies happen, folks.

Alright. Let’s do some great work this week!

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