Weekend critique on deck

Looking at the weekend coverage guys (including Friday in this one) we were a hit and a miss with things.

Hits: May 4 video. This is great. Really great. I always like seeing you guys put videos that are fun because, yes, among all the news you cover you’re still people, college students, and sometimes fun is okay. This was one of those times. There were a couple of lighting issues though that need to be addressed in future videos. Remember if you can’t see them, neither can your viewers. So think about bringing a board with you to bounce light to fill in some dark holes.

Black April Column: This wasn’t an easy write. That’s fine because it shouldn’t have been. With UTA being the 5th most diverse campuses in the nation, I’m glad that we had this.  The opener  “It’s time for our stories to be told” made me cheer. YES! I want to hear this story, I want to know more about this day and what it means. Each country has its day that will live in infamy. For Cubans it’s the day Fidel marched into Havana and for the Vietnamese it’s the day the old republic fell.  These are important stories to tell and I’m glad we’re telling them.

Misses: Hey, so, the the first candidate for the liberal arts dean is on campus. I didn’t get that from The Shorthorn, I got it from the competition. That’s a big miss. It should have been in today’s newsletter. Yes it’s on the site now but only after it’d been seen by everyone else on campus for a few hours. We got beat, bad. Not acceptable.

Timberbrook fight: There’s so much cop speak in this brief, I didn’t know where to begin. The phrase “the fight is believe to have started” is so passive and so jargon-y that it made my eye twitch. “Police said the fight started when…” that’s a more accurate phrasing. Remember it’s noun-verb, someone did something. That helps make it more active.  Also 15 occupants is so cops speak. So much. How about if we say 15 people or party-goers? That’s more accurate.

In addition, this story has a huge structure problem. In fact it had similar structure problems to another story we ran recently. First there was a group of girls who jumped another one and then there were 15 people inside then when outside. What actually went on. Usually you want to tell this in chronological order because 1) it’s easier for the reader to follow 2) allows you as the reporter and editor to see where the holes are and ask further questions. This story has more questions than answers. Not good.

Prime number research: This story was difficult to follow. The subject is dry. That’s a tough break because tough subjects came be interesting, depending on how you tell them. This is a missed opportunity here. When approaching a story like this you have to think 1) what does the reader want to know? How can I make this interesting to them? 2) How can I give them this information in a way that they can digest?

I will leave you with that to ponder. How do you make a story that’s literally about the study of numbers interesting and fun for your readers? What could have been done instead of a 12 -15 story?

Alright guys, that’s what I got. Comments on the board. And of course, my door is open.

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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, 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.