March 26 critique on deck

“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, some have greatness thrust upon them.”

— William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

I’ve been thinking about this lately. A lot actually. What makes someone good or great at what they do? What makes one athlete better than another? Is it the heart, the competition that fuels them? Is it the everyday practice and their attention to detail?

Sure. All of that. But I think it all starts with fear. Knowing it, embracing it, and learning to let it go.  

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “fear of success”. Oh, success is a scary thought and yet we all want to do well and be successful. Then how to we get past the fear? We push past it knowing that others share in the fear and we concentrate on the work, making it the best it can be.

If we focus on making the work good, we have no time for fear.

So, let’s talk about making the work good.

Today’s newsletter stories, we have some bright spots here and some areas of improvement.

  1. The drugs bust story. Oh,  how I love me some hard news! For the most part, nuts and

bolts are there. Good hustle on this, Sorayah. We have where it happened and basically what happened. Now we need to move to specifics.

We’ve talked about specifics before and I’ve noted it on stories where we need to be more specific on things. Some of you are at the point with your writing where you need to push yourself past the fear or the comfort and challenge yourself. Here, I am challenging some details — name, age, description of the men in custody. More specific details the time this incident happened. Where and what is Moritz Plaza? This happened Tuesday, are these folks still in jail.

2.)  The video project story. This story missed the mark because I wasn’t quite sure what was happening. So why are they doing this video project? The context of this fundamental question is down in 4, 5, and 8. When there is a local response to a national story like this, you want to get the background all together and high up. So in the case, put it all together and start in paragraph 3. Then go into the specifics of the story.

3.) Henry Cisneros event coverage.  This lede was EXCELLENT kudos to the folks who worked on it together. Here it is for the curious.

There has never been a better time to be an urbanist.

Henry Cisneros, a four-term mayor of San Antonio and the 10th Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, spoke to UTA students and faculty and other Metroplex residents about the increasing urban growth in America during the Maverick Speakers Series lecture Thursday at Texas Hall.

What’s so great is that this is a two tier lead with a statement that’s supported by the second graph. Awesome. I get all the information I need to put my mind as the reader in context.

Now, moving along with the story, I expected to see what an urbanist is but, alas, I didn’t get it. But why?  I want to know more! MORE!!!

Alright, here’s what I got today folks.  The rest of the critique is on the board. See you soon at staff meeting!

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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.