Anatomy of a story — Streaming

Hello everyone!

First print edition of the paper. How does it feel?  

Beth was kind enough to do a full critique of the paper. It’s on the board along with the narrative. Everyone should read it. We’ve got some stuff to work on but we also has some great stuff too.

Remember, that the critique isn’t a personal attack or to pick on you. It’s about making you better and therefore The Shorthorn better. Take the criticism, learn from it, be hungry for it.  

So for the first critique of the paper from me, I looked at bigger picture issues. I also wanted to do an anatomy of a story. That’s where I break down a story graph by graph. For this issue, I want to focus on- Stream services force TV Industry changes I did a really close edit this story that’s on the board too.

Let’s start with the streaming story. The headline doesn’t really reflect the story. While we have an assistant professor talk about how, in general, it could change how the TV industry does things, he’s really not a source I’d put my hat on for industry inside info. He also hasn’t really demonstrated that either based on the quotes. A more accurate headline is: Stream services change viewing habits.  That’s more accurate and really talks about how people are dropping cable for streaming. (I am one of them. Haven’t had it for 7 years).

Lede is really a take on a Spiderman line but it doesn’t tell me the story. In fact, I don’t get a sense of what the story is until the bottom of the page.

Usually with a story like this you need to start the story with a person. Why? It’s about people and how they chose to live their lives. In this case, dumping cable. You’ve got a great person to focus on Lillian Bailey. She’s got a great quote but she all the way at the bottom of the story. Let’s start with her. A lede could look like this:

Every month, Lillian Bailey is about $100 richer.

The music education junior cut her cable after finding mystery charges on her bill. Instead she uses streaming services like Netflix to her entertainment. Now that she’s cable-less, she hasn’t looked back.

“I wish I never would have gotten cable,” she said.

See how the new lede got to the story quicker? We know it’s about cutting cable for Netflix. Boom. Now the next part of the story is the nutgraph — that’s the why this story is important right now part.  Nutgraphs also have some background info and can give the reader context.

Here’s something that looks like it can be a nutgraph here:

Many students are switching from having a cable provider to completely relying on online streaming options for TV. One benefit of having access to online streaming websites, such as Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant Video, is that many of these websites have shows and movies that are only available on those websites. Shows such as “House of Cards,” “Daredevil” and “Orange is the New Black,” are all Netflix original series’, with the third season of “Orange is the New Black,” releasing June 12th.

So the problem with this is that we have an opinion that’s not backed up with facts. Are many students switching? How do you know this? And is having exclusive entertainment a benefit? There’s a source a few graphs down that says they wish there was a way to see this stuff without being a subscriber. Benefit?  

The nutgraph can read something like this:

The increase in subscriptions to streaming sites such as Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant Video has tv analysts watching the viewing patterns closely. Netflix alone increased their subscriptions to just over 57 million worldwide, according to Forbes Magazine.

Some cable television networks have also taken notice. HBO has recently release HBO Go! which can be streamed through the app or Apple TV.

Andrew Clark, associate broadcast professor, said streaming services are attracting viewers because it’s cheaper than cable and are producing original content, something previously  exclusive to networks.

A couple of things were done here.

  1. Context. We know how big this streaming thing is. Darn near 60 million. Yeah that’s huge.
  2. We’ve explained the trend with HBO getting into the game. That also adds more context.
  3. We brought it back home with a local expert who says why this trend is big and set up for his quote.

Alright, the fill critique of this story is up on the board. I’ll do another anatomy of a story soon.  

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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.