Online stories, Oct. 10-12

Best things:

Destine is really killing it on volleyball coverage. She turned out two solid game stories from the weekend that were styled and organized completely differently. One was about taking on and defeating an old rival; the other, about being swept and losing to another formidable opponent the next day. Solid writing and command of her play-by-play carried these two strong efforts. Those stories led the way to her profile of volleyball coach Diane Seymour in the print edition. That profile, by the way, is a great read. A large part of the reason why is because Destine has committed to her beat. The profile allows her to stretch past game coverage. It could have (and should have) anchored Page 1. Great photo with it, too.

Ariana did a really nice job on the mariachi band story. I’ve always been curious about this group and she did fine work telling us about the members, their background and their musicianship. I would have read even more. We could have stretched even farther.

The profile on Hillary Green, the university’s social media manager, also was a nice tale of how one student wouldn’t be deterred by adversity.

Samantha also turned in a really nice read on the drag queen coverage. That is not an easy story to tell, trying to balance the students and their personas while writing about the professional drag queens and the event itself. Deft juggling and good reporting lined up with solid writing and observation.

The government team of Madelyn and Nick gave us great coverage from city council and Student Congress. Clean, smart, well-organized stories really served the reader.

Our new reporter, John, did nice work on the protested pipeline story. I like how he wove in student opinion. Let’s remember: no need to tell me the time an event took place when the event already happened.

 

Needs improvement:

 

While the volleyball coverage and the Green profile are strong, the ledes on one of those game stories and the Green story are not.

“The drought is over.”

“Overcoming challenges are all part of the journey one embarks on.”

These are not purposeful ledes. They are too vague and don’t get us where we need to go, which is into the story. Tell me a snippet or a nod to what the story is about but be specific. I should have some clue how the lede pertains to the person or the issue we’re writing about.

 

Reporters need to work on—and editors need to encourage—asking how and why questions. And to ask them as follow-ups.

An example: in the Bed Races advance, there were multiple times we could have asked “how so?” or “give me an example.” We have this quote: “It’s like you go into this different world,” Aguirre said.

OK, I want to know what that means? Ask: “How so? What does that mean?” It’s a great quote, but I want to know more.

 

In the West Campus development story, why are we leading on Tuesday with the university soliciting student feedback when the deadline for that feedback is was on Monday?

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