Critique, online stories, Jan. 17-19

Welcome back, everyone! You’ve started the semester off strong this week with some great journalism. Here are some highlights and areas we need to work on based on our online coverage so far this week. Print critique will be at Friday’s staff meeting.

Best things:

We had a great map and follow-up story from Nick about the deluge on Sunday night and the storm’s aftermath. He pursued facilities officials and a campus leader who was stuck in the storm after the Cowboys game. He stayed after them until he landed interviews. Good hustle!

Kyle brought us up-to-date on campus parking as we start a new semester. This and Nick’s weather story were two of our most-read.

I enjoyed Jamil’s story about Richard Cole, inaugural dean of the former School of Urban and Public Affairs, who died over the break. She was very thorough and quoted all the right people and kept a respectful tone in the story.

Kevin turned a nice piece about a library employee who wrote a book about an historic Fort Worth neighborhood. I especially liked one area of the story where he showed us through observation the mood of the crowd: “The crowd sighed, “Yeah,” with nostalgia when McClurkin asked, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if these houses were still here?”” This is an ideal example of how to work some observation into our stories.

Selby wrote a timely column about the Dallas Cowboys’ playoffs loss and a turned a solid beat coverage piece on the men’s basketball team’s return to play its home games—great quotes from Coach Cross.

Kyle and Haley teamed up for a quick-turn story on the gas leak outside the UC.

Narda reported a newsy story about Coolberry Frozen Yogurt closing in College Park Center.

We’ve had great photography so far online this week from Daniel with a cool shot of the city’s new library; Edward had a nice portrait of the children’s book author; and Bridget’s sweet panorama of College Park Center.

Nick caught us up on Student Congress activity on deadline after the meeting.

Kevin had another nice story on an organic chemistry professor’s research that has ripple effects throughout is department. He included this nice detail: There are several purified chemicals, beakers, machines and other contraptions throughout the lab, all dedicated to researching ways to make medicine cheaper, Jeon said.

I’ve enjoyed our columnists’ work this week. Isabel and Andrea have challenged us to think about risk-taking, pedestrian safety, homesickness and academic success. Keep it up!

Here are some effective ledes we’ve had this week:

–While some commuter students are hungry for a meal plan, others have no appetite. (Nick)

–Several Texas senators and representatives are proposing legislation that would stanch the revenue flow generated from sales tax of female hygiene products during the 85th legislative session. (Renee)

–Kayla Bell plays a role in the research community every day without ever stepping inside a lab. (Audrey)

Needs improvement:

The Coolberry story would have benefitted from talking to students to get reaction to its closing.

We need to work on leaving out adjectives in anything that is not an Opinion piece or a review or commentary. It’s our job to observe and note things through description, not through assigning a judgment through words and phrases such as “exceeded expectations,” “beautiful” and “universal.” These words (found in several stories this week) assign a value to something and that’s not our job. Show through description “the red, brick building.”

Editors need to be catching these things.

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